As the Pan African Donkey Conference is to be held this 1st and 2nd December in Tanzania themed Donkeys in Africa now and future, East Africa Brooke is on the frontline advocating for the urgency and importance to protect the welfare of our donkeys to ensure that animal resources are not tampered with. Since its establishment in 2013, Brooke has been fighting for the welfare of the donkeys considering their major role in societies, supporting most home duties and for some providing a source of livelihood.
Brooke has taken a frontline stance of ensuring the donkeys are protected and the farmers/donkey rearers are well informed and educated about the animal welfare entailed in the slogan ‘Mtunze Punda akutunze’.
Donkeys remain a species threatened especially with the famous skin trade that has been embraced in Asian countries and the middle east which turn out to import 35-40% of animal resources. This has raised a concern that saw the African Union endorse an animal welfare strategy in 2018 to curb donkey slaughters that had become rampant. “Considering the rate at which donkeys were being slaughtered and the conditions, the species was slowly being eradicated from within the societies. This atrocity to the donkeys ensued to a measure where family donkeys were being stolen thereby a need for Brooke to chip in and protect these animals in East Africa whereas Brooke of West Africa also got formed in 2020 emphasizing the creeping losses,” urged Dr. Hiver Boussini-AU-IBAR.
In coordination with the World Organization for Animal Health, where standards are set for animal welfare, transporting, killing as well as their trading. These standards are usually reviewed every year in May after an analysis of the guidelines set earlier on and whether they were followed or not.
According to Dr. Samuel Wakhusama, most nations in Africa are not adhering nor implementing the standards for animal welfare. Urging a need for nations to consider animal welfare if there is going to be an increase in the animal resources visualized. For example, animal welfare was also passed by ECOWAS member states in their legislation calling on its members to protect these species from extinction.
Dr. Kinoti Raphael of Brooke East Africa reveals that Kenya was one of the countries that at first didn’t partake in the slaughtering of the animals until 2017/ 18 when the issue became boldly open about skin trade lucratively. At first, there were slaughterhouses for the donkeys in places like Naivasha, Baringo, and Turkana but later the whole situation became a menace to the society as theft of the donkeys rose steadily.
Based on the then reports about 50 cases of donkey theft cases would be reported by rearers to Brooke and the police station as of 2018, which raised the question of the donkey skin trade being a benefit or a loss. This push and pull would lead to the ban on donkey slaughtering by the then CS of Agriculture Munya bearing research from Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research that stated out of 5 donkeys killed only one would be born. “Our donkeys were headed for extinction and the ban was highly called for to protect them and societies that are highly dependent on them. Even though the ban was placed, there are reports that some are still running underground and investigations are underway on the matter,” said Dr. Kinoti Raphael.