Meat lovers beware. Half of the meat you buy from Nairobi butcheries is likely to come from uninspected wildlife. These gut-wrenching estimates are based on the rise of illegal game hunting in areas surrounding Nairobi, a phenomenon fuelled by the long drought which has affected areas that supply the city with mutton and beef.
The estimates were based on findings from samples collected from 200 butcher shops two years ago which found that 47 per cent of the stock was bush meat. “The situation is much worse today, mainly because of the long drought which has depleted livestock in parts of Ngong, Namanga and Kajiado — the major meat suppliers for Nairobi,” Mr Steve Itela of the Youth for Conservation Group told a symposium in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Ms Nancy Kabete of Kenya Wildlife Service said suspect animals that may have found their way into kitchens across the city include zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, antelopes and buffaloes. She said the trend was threatening the survival of some wild species while presenting human beings with the danger of contracting animal diseases.
“One of the biggest challenges in fighting the crime is the lenient fines meted out by our courts. For killing an eland that can fetch Sh40,000 in a choice hotel, one is fined less than Sh3,000, which is hardly a deterrent,” she said.
Naivasha has previously been the biggest source of game meat in the city, but a manager at the Soysambu Conservancy said this was likely to have changed.
Mr Charles Muthui said traders in the area had diverted their illicit stocks to the numerous IDP camps in the area, and that public education initiatives against consumption of uninspected meat have helped eradicate the vice.