Kitui residents have strongly condemned re-opening of the donkey abattoir at Kithyoko area in Machakos County, claiming the slaughterhouse could lead to extinction of the animal in the region.
The Kithyoko slaughterhouse situated at the border of Machakos and Kitui counties, has the abattoir sitting on the Machakos side, but residents claim it targets donkeys from Kitui, since the donkey population in the neighbouring County is very low.
The reopening of the abattoir comes a few months after the ban on donkey slaughter was lifted by The High Court.
The residents of Kitui are now appealing to their County Government to devise means of ending trading in donkey products.
Speaking in Nguutani Market of Mwingi, when donkey owners handed over a petition to the Kitui County Executive for Agriculture, Water and Livestock, Emmanuel Kisangau to protest over uncontrolled donkey slaughter, irate residents expressed their disappointment and castigated lifting of the ban.
A leader of a local Community-Based Organization (CBO), which deals with protection of donkeys, Josfridah Temea, said that theft and illegal slaughter of the animal was on the rise after lifting of the ban and now farmers were living in inherent fear of their animals being stolen.
Kitui County is prone to acute water shortage due to unpredictable rainfall patterns and donkeys comes in handy to ferry water to various households covering long distances, thus the need to protect the precious animal.
“It’s even against Kamba traditions to consume donkey meat and residents are completely unhappy with the turn of events,” added Temea.
On his part, the Chair of Nguutani Donkey Owners’ Association, Joseph Kioko, called for the reintroduction of the ban on the slaughter of donkeys, as this would combat the risks posed by trading donkey products.
The County Executive for Agriculture who received the petition on behalf of Kitui Governor, Charity Ngilu, promised that his office will take the necessary action.
“The County Government of Kitui is aware of the lifting of the ban and residents were totally against it. We are in the process of coming up with the requisite legislative measures to regulate the emerging donkey business and if possible, ban the slaughter of donkeys in the County,” Kisangau said.
By Denson Mututo