Kenya's first donkey slaughterhouse to open in Naivasha

Wednesday February 19 2014

Sale of legal donkey meat may soon become a reality as a proprietor from Naivasha completes the construction of the first ever donkey slaughterhouse at Maraigushu, Naivasha in Nakuru County in the next few weeks. Reacting to this, area MP John Kihagi and some local residents say they are opposed to this initiative claiming it might contribute to a rise in donkey theft. PHOTO|FILE.

Participants at the Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives Committee hearing at the Whitesands Beach Resort on Tuesday were deeply divided, with some demanding that a donkey meat abattoir in Naivasha be barred from operating. PHOTO | FILE. 

JOYCE KIMANI
By JOYCE KIMANI
More by this Author

Naivasha will host the country’s first ever donkey slaughterhouse in the next few weeks.

The multi million project is a partnership between a local proprietor, the district veterinary office and businessmen from china.

The slaughterhouse located in Maraigishu is already under construction.

It is estimated to cost about Sh15 million and seeks to process donkey meat from Kenya and the rest of Africa.

John Kariuki, the proprietor of the slaughterhouse, said that on completion he expects to employ over thirty workers saying he already had a ready market for the meat in China.

“This will become the first ever slaughterhouse in the area,” said Kariuki.

“We have noticed that the demand for the meat is very high and China has become a close business partner. We want to strengthen that bond,” he added.

He was speaking during a tour of the ultra-modern slaughterhouse by government officers and Chinese investors.

Kariuki said he had already began the process of seeking legal papers and certification from the government.

QUALITY DONKEY MEAT

This, he argued, would ensure that the quality of donkey meat in the streets meets the expected standards.

“It will not be meat that has been collected somewhere from the bush but clean and well processed meat,” he added.

Kariuki argued that donkey meat was legal but unscrupulous businesspeople were taking advantage of demand for meat and selling uninspected donkey meat.

According to him there are over two million donkeys in the country adding that he would source them from Pokot, Turkana and even Naivasha.

Naivasha Sub County veterinary officer Dr Enos Amuyunzu said that the government had legalised the sale of donkey meat in 1999.

Dr Amuyunzu said that this would be the first ever donkey slaughterhouse in the country adding that they were on an inspection mission.

RESIDENTS OPPOSE

However, irate donkey owners are now threatening to move to court to stop the construction of the slaughterhouse.

According to Joseph Thendu, the move would see the increase in illegal donkey slaughter which the government had failed to curb.

“Naivasha has become a major target and more than 400 donkeys have been slaughtered since December 2013.

We fear that this will propagate more killings of donkeys,” he added.

At the same time, Niavasha MP John Kihagi has condemned the initiative, saying the slaughterhouse will contribute to a rise in theft of donkeys.

He added that people who use donkey carts to do businesses like vending water may be left jobless if most donkeys in the area are slaughtered.

He said that the proprietor of the slaughterhouse should have looked for a different way to invest his money.

Mr Kihagi said that he was not consulted before the project started, adding that he is in talks with the local vet office to establish how the slaughterhouse was licensed.