Return of Chinese Deals as Ban Lifted on Kenya’s donkey meat trade
The use of donkey hides in Chinese traditional medicine has seen Africa’s donkey population fall dramatically in the last two decades.
A Kenyan court has overturned a ban on the slaughter and sale of donkey meat.
The agriculture ministry imposed the ban in February last year over concerns about their dwindling numbers and after protests from farming and animal welfare groups.
The East African nation first legalised the trade in donkey meat and hide in 2012 to meet growing demand in China.
The agriculture minister had argued that this had been a mistake as it had caused the donkey population to fall.
But some donkey abattoir owners went to court, citing job losses and lost revenue as reasons for the ban to be lifted.
On Thursday, Judge Richard Mwongo agreed with them, saying the government had failed to sufficiently defend the case.
Kenya has about 1.2 million donkeys compared with 1.8 million a decade ago, according to government data.
The value of an adult donkey more than quadrupled in Kenya since 2012 – and also spawned a black market with skin-smuggling networks hiring gangs to steal donkeys.
Many people in rural areas use donkeys to fetch water and firewood.