When I was in Kenya, it was pointed out to me, that there was a new donkey slaughterhouse. It turns out there are several, all of them Chinese owned, and the meat is shipped off to China.
I decided to investigate this, because I had seen many donkeys working on farms, and it didn't seem prudent to slaughter them all.
I saw a news story about donkey slaughterhouses in Kenya. They have made donkey slaughter illegal in many countries in Africa, because of Chinese demand for the meat. The price of donkeys has tripled and people are stealing them to take them to the slaughterhouse. 2 years ago, a farmer could spend one week's income, and buy a donkey. Now it takes 3 weeks income.
On most small farms, that don't have a tractor, they are the main tool in tilling the soil and getting stuff to market. So, by allowing the slaughterhouses to continue, the government is effectively reducing the amount of donkeys available for work on farms.
They are being brought into Kenya from Uganda and Tanzania. It's believed that most of them were stolen, since a farmer would never get rid of his donkey just so he could make a few dollars, when he needs it every day to run the farm.
I suppose if there becomes an acute shortage of donkeys, the price will rise even higher and some small farmers will opt to buy one of those cheap little tractors, made in China. Donkeys are a very efficient thing to keep on a small farm. They are fed garden waste and I have seen children on the side of the road after school, grazing the family donkey, and harvesting grass to take home. It cost people just about nothing, too keep these animals.
There's not much we can do about it here, other than avoiding donkey meat.
We've heard plenty in the past, about demand in China, causing the poaching of wild animals such as elephants and rhinoceros. Now they are helping poor people to become thieves, who steal their neighbors ability to operate small farms, without the need for a tractor and fuel.
The origins of the "Sacred Cow" in India is not that different. If my recollection of history is correct, people were killing their cows to stay alive during a drought and the powers that be realized that when the drought ended there'd be no animals to plow, so they made the animals sacred. Unfortunately, it can result in a geriatric cow problem. A law that prevents the slaughter of a donkey in a country will only work if properly written and if it includes restricting crossing the border to the country with the slaughterhouse!
There is no way that a small farmer would be able to provide sufficient security to keep his donkey safe from theft. The Chinese are not just buying up donkeys in Africa, but farmland also. These trends are likely to destabilize an already unstable situation. There's often short-term gains for at least some locals, but without long-term solutions, the house of cards will come crashing down.
This unsustainability just kills me; taking advantage of needy nations for your own gain, when your own country has more than enough capability to provide for itself, given proper structuring, management, and an ethical baseline of character...oh wait, the US does this too...when will the world wake up? Can someone send these governments Paul's World Domination Gardening? or ONE Sepp Holzer video?!
Lord save us from ourselves!
Kenya is one of the few governments in Africa that actually does manage to get things of a public-interest done sometimes. They banned plastic bags a year ago, and it has made a difference. There's constant advertising for various Public Health initiatives, that are often free to the people using the service. I think it's just a matter of it getting more media attention. Their politicians cater to Farmers more than any other group, because they make up 80% of the population. If these people decide they are very unhappy with something, the government makes changes.
I think it sort of snuck up on them. It's not something that anyone anticipated just a few years ago, that the price of donkeys would soar, due to foreigners taste for them, and that this would cause rampant theft.
It's an incredibly corrupt place, yet even corrupt politicians know that they have to act, when enough people want something changed.
25 years ago, all three countries around Lake Victoria work in a race, to catch every last fish and sell it to Europe. Fisheries collapse and public outrage help to reduce that. They had a number of political assassinations, but after watching many of these bozos on TV, while I was there, it's obvious to me that the bar is set pretty low. They have to be more corrupt than most, to be targeted. If the government does start to look at ending donkey meat exports, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind, that bribes will be offered and accepted. It then takes someone higher up to overrule whatever decision is purchased.
This. Exactly this. This is what my therapist has been talking about. And now with a tiny ad: