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Kitui Women Oppose Trade on Donkey Products

A Kitui-based women group has protested the recent court ruling legalizing donkey meat/skin trade and reopening of closed donkey abattoirs in the County.

Speaking at Kithyoko market after a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday, the anti-donkey-skin-trade women’s group lamented the said ruling, citing several challenges that donkey owners face when the donkey abattoirs are running.

The protesters said that legalizing the slaughtering of donkeys leads to loss of livelihoods.

The group noted that many people, especially those inhabiting drylands depend solely on the animals for both labor and income generation.

According to Mr Wambua Kakuli who is a jobless father of four, donkeys play a very important role in his life.

With his two donkeys pulling the cart, he is able to hawk water within Kithyoko market and make at least a thousand shillings in a good day.

Mr Wambua just like any other local is able to fend for his family. But now with donkey skin trade legalized, thieves are set to start stealing donkeys to sell to the already opened abattoirs, including the one near Kithyoko market.

“We are back to our normal sleepless nights, a little nap means losing my donkey”, noted Josephine Kalekye, as she urged the State to ban donkey skin trade and also close all abattoirs within Kitui County.

In February 2020, the Agriculture CS, Peter Munya, imposed a ban on the slaughter of the beast of burden due to its dwindling numbers. The ban was a big relief to local donkey owners countrywide.

But on Thursday 5th May 2021, the court quashed prohibition for the slaughter of donkeys after the state failed to respond to an application 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, adding that the government’s legal notice violated the rights of Star Brilliant, the petitioner.

This was after a successful application by Star Brilliant Slaughterhouse that sought to bar Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Attorney General, Kihara Kariuki, from enforcing a legal notice that banned the slaughtering of donkeys.

There are four licensed abattoirs in the country with a daily slaughtering capacity of 1,200 donkeys, which is against an estimated population of 1.8 million.

By Yobesh Onwong’a

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