Did you know that donkey meat has been legalized and certified for human consumption in Kenya? But the locals don’t eat donkey meat, its exported to China! The Chinese love Donkey Meat.
The Meat Control (amendment) Act 2012 documented donkey alongside horse as a food animal in Kenya.
While butcheries have not been licensed to sell donkey meat, interested parties and owners of abattoirs can seek licences at the relevant veterinary offices to slaughter and sell the meat outside the country. (The official term for Donkey Meat is ‘Poopy’)
A donkey abattoir that opened a year ago in Kenya is reportedly doing a booming business.
Goldox slaughterhouse, owned by Lu Donglin, a Chinese national, opened in the western county of Baringo in April last year after the Kenyan government approved donkey meat as fit for consumption.
The meat is exported to China but banned from being sold on the local market.
According to Nakuru County public health officer Samuel King’ori, the legalisation of donkey meat came after a study was done on the health risks of the animal.
“After the tests, it was proven that donkey meat is as safe as beef or mutton and an agreement was reached to issue licences to those who are interested in operating slaughter houses. However, the meat is not for local consumption but solely for export,” Dr King’ori explained.
Goldox donkey slaughter house at Mogotio in Baringo County, which was opened in April 2016, is the only one of its kind in the country.
The establishment sits on five acres with an additional five acres as reservoir land in case of expansion.
According to Mr Donglin, about 600 donkeys are received at the abattoir on a good day and about 400 when the supply is low.
“We depend on suppliers from as far as Tanzania, Turkana, Trans Mara and Maralal,” he said.
One of the suppliers, Mr Joseph Kena, from Eldoret town, said he stopped selling electricity poles and delved exclusively into the donkey business.
Mr Kena buys a donkey at Sh 8,000 up from Sh 2,000 when the business began last year. (Kenyan Shilling is the currency of Kenya. One Indian Rupee equals about Sh 1.5)
Once the supplier delivers the animals, a county government veterinary doctor stationed at the slaughterhouse checks and clears each donkey.
The doctor checks for diseases, pregnancy, those that are hurt and the weight of each donkey.
“The Ministry of Agriculture does not allow us to slaughter an animal that weighs less than 100kg. If an animal weighs less, it is separated from the rest and fed, until it attains the recommended weight,” Mr Lu explained.
“We slaughter up to 300 donkeys every day and sometimes more, depending on the demand,” said General Manager Alex Songoyo.
Surprisingly, workers at the plant cringe at the idea of eating donkey meat. All tthe meat is exported to China.