Wesbank

Fighting to save the donkey 

SHARE   |   Monday, 21 August 2017   |   By Othusitse Tlhobogang
Fighting to save the donkey 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has announced an indefinite suspension of licenses in trading with donkey meat and related products to curb a surge in demand for its products. The Assistant Minster of Agriculture Kgotla Autlwetse said there is cruel killing of donkeys that aroused from escalated demands of donkey products in Asia, especially China. Donkey hides are said to be in high demand in China where they are boiled to extract a gel used for medicinal purposes. The market in China, according to the assistant minister, is lucrative, hence the growing numbers of cruel killings of donkeys. Autlwetse said while donkeys continue to contribute to food security their welfare has always been neglected. He said for a long time donkeys have been absent from the food security and agriculture interventions (FAO 2014). “This implies neglect that leads to abuse by their owners,” he said. According to Statistics Botswana 2015 report, Botswana has a population of around 227 000 donkeys. But the number is decreasing at an alarming, threatening food security of the rural dwellers. “Donkeys provide both direct and indirect incomes to rural households and therefore make it an important contributor to families’ access to food and services,” he said. It is for this reason that the assistant minster feels there is an urgent need for the development of a Code of Welfare for donkeys and horses. Autlwetse said the public should be sensitised on donkey welfare and the benefits derived from rearing them. It is for the reason that the ministry will from 29 August 2017 hold Donkey Pitsos in Maun, Francistown, Serowe, Molepolole and Kang. The Pitsos will be aimed at sensitising the stakeholders as well as soliciting ideas on the strategies of regulating the industry going forward.