The government has ordered a shutdown of donkey abattoirs as concerns rise over rampant rustle theft of the animals by gangs seeking their skin for use in Chinese medicines.
This follows protests from a section of donkey meat traders in Nairobi.
Kenya has four licensed donkey abattoirs which slaughter around 1,000 donkeys daily, making the country, China’s key source market for donkey skins.
However, growing Chinese demand for ejiao has led to a black market with gangs hired by skin-smuggling networks to steal donkeys, inciting anger in communities who depend on the animals for income, farming or transport.
To remedy this, the government has ordered for immediate stop of commercial slaughterhouses in the next 30 days.
It is argued that, if the trade continues, population of the animal would be decimated and adversely affects the country’s economy.
According to data from the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization more than 300,000 donkeys which is 15% of Kenya’s population have so far been slaughtered for skin and meat export in less than three years.
While, more than 4,000 were reported stolen over the same period from April 2016 to December 2018.
The report further warned the animals were being slaughtered at a rate five times higher than their population was growing, which could wipe out Kenya’s donkey population by as early as 2023.