Donkey owners in Kenya have raised concern over a court ruling that lifted the ban on commercial slaughter of donkeys that was imposed in February last year by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya,
Speaking during this year’s National Donkey Welfare Day celebrations at Munuguni Primary School in Buuri Constituency, Meru County, National Donkey Owners Association Chairman, Mr Robert Maitethia, said the ruling was a great setback to donkey owners in the country as it would encourage donkey theft as it was before the ban.
“We are commemorating this day with a lot of fear of our animals after the ruling that was made in the high Court in Naivasha and this is the reason we are calling on the government to act accordingly to ensure the ruling is revisited,” Mr Maitethia said.
He said the ban that was imposed by the CS came about after they wrote to him on the dangers posed to the animals as a result of the foreign slaughterhouses and that the same dangers were lurking the animals that are dwindling in numbers.
“We are still calling on the Director of Livestock Services to delay operationalization of the services in the slaughterhouses so that all the sides can be considered by the Court,” Mr Maitethia said.
The Court removed prohibition for the slaughter of donkeys after the state failed to respond to an application filed by Star Brilliant Slaughterhouse challenging the legal notice.
“The Government has failed to sufficiently defend this case and this Court quashes the Legal Notice 63 of 2020 as it violates the rights of Star Brilliant,” said Justice Richard Mwongo in his ruling.
He added that the state’s legal notice violated the rights of Star Brilliant, the petitioner who had sought to bar Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya and the Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, from enforcing the legal notice that banned the slaughtering of donkeys.
“The legal notice violates the rights of the applicant under Article 47 of the Constitution and the applicant is granted a stay to operate in light of the failure by the respondent to file back his response,” he added.
According to Brooke East Africa, an international animal welfare charity, dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules, the slaughter of donkeys in Kenya is at five times the rate of donkey reproduction and fears by 2023 Kenya will have no donkeys left.
Many people in rural areas use donkeys for their domestic chores, including fetching water and firewood, raising fears that their dwindling numbers will increase the workload of women.
By Dickson Mwiti