Ethiopia is to export donkey's meat, following the start of operations at a slaughterhouse in Bishoftu (Debrezeit) town, 48Km east of Addis Abeba. Shandong Dong, a donkey slaughterhouse, has just opened after 80 million Birr, according to media reports.
The company will export the meat to Vietnam and the skins of the donkeys to China, which will be used to manufacture medicines.
The factory was torched down by protesters in Bishoftu/Debre Zeit town a few months ago.
Another donkey abattoir is being constructed by Chinese investors in Assela, Arsi, Oromo region of Ethiopia, the newspaper added.
China has turned its face to Africa for its donkey demand, which is attributed to the increased demand of donkey’s in China, especially for its skin, according to media reports.
In Niger, some 80,000 donkeys have been exported to China in 2016, compared with 27,000 in 2015. In Burkina Faso, donkey traders sold 18,000 animals to international buyers in the first quarter of 2016, up from just 1,000 for the same period last year.
In Kenya, a donkey abattoir opened in April last year in Naivasha to cater for the burgeoning Chinese market.
But this thriving export market is not without considerable drawbacks for local people. In Niger, the price of donkeys has risen from 34 to 147 USD, a huge rise for farmers and merchants who need to buy donkeys to maintain their livelihoods. Officials are also worried that the demand for exports will decimate local donkey populations. In response, the government has banned donkey exports.
Burkina Faso implemented similar regulations last year. In Ouagadougou, the situation was reportedly discussed twice in cabinet meetings before ban on donkey’s meat was announced.
In South Africa, meanwhile, the surge in demand has led to a rise in cruelty towards, and theft of, donkeys. In a statement released this month the National Council of Societies for the Protection of Animals (NSPCA) said it was “horrified to confirm that donkeys are the latest victims of the trade in animal parts ‘for medicinal purposes’ to the far east. Donkeys are being rounded up, stolen, then transported and brutally slaughtered for their skins.”