The Tanzanian Government has banned trade in donkeys and donkey products in a bid to save the beast of service from imminent extinction.
Tanzania Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa Majaliwa says a strategy for ensuring the protection and conservation of the donkey are being established as the ban on the slaughter of donkeys is enforced.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Mashimba Ndaki during the 2022 Pan African Donkey Conference, Majaliwa said that the donkey is very important to the rural economy of Tanzania hence the government will ensure its protection and preservation.
At a meeting held at Kisengan International Conference Center in Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania, the Tanzania Prime Minister called on regional countries to also ban donkey trade in their jurisdictions so as not to create a route through which the trade could continue to lead to the extinction of the donkey.
Experts in animal welfare are warning that the multi-billion dollar Ejiao industry that uses donkey skin which is boiled to produce the gelatine used in the production of Ejiao could wipe out the whole donkey population in Africa.
It is estimated that the industry currently requires approximately 4.8 million donkey skins annually. This practice could wipe out the African total donkey population of 48 million in 10 years.
The Prime Minister further noted that the benefits from the donkey in supporting the rural economy are too great to be left to “those that are over-exploiting the donkey resource,” adding that Tanzania has already taken measures aimed at protecting the donkey and conserving the beast of service.
He said that while the ban is enforced, among the measures being undertaken are; putting in place a strategy to create public awareness of the donkey as part of the main contributor to the rural economy; putting in place a budget to specifically deal with the production of donkeys; to establish breeding areas for donkey multiplication.
The Tanzania government is also undertaking a census of its livestock to ascertain the exact numbers, which the Prime Minister said is in a bid to ensure they plan well for the sustainable utilization of its resources as well as planning and to put in place measures in promotion of the donkey.
Donkeys are mostly used for the transportation of goods to rural markets in Africa, used in fetching water for households as they are well suited to move through rough terrain and they are also hardy animals that can survive harsh environments that are seen in Africa.