A company in Zimbabwe has announced plans to open the country’s first donkey butchery. Plans are at a stage so advanced construction has already commenced.
Zim publication Sunday News report that Bulawayo-based Battlefront Investments have begun construction of the state-of-the-art abattoir and plan to begin purchasing donkeys which should be slaughtered in the coming weeks.
This is according to Battlefront managing director Gareth Lumsden.
“I think we will have finished (construction) maybe in two or three weeks’ time and we should start slaughtering. That abattoir is for the slaughtering of donkeys,” he said.
“Nothing really has changed in terms of how the animals will be dealt with. It will be the same as if you are buying cattle, sheep or goats but if you get to a particular area if you are buying cattle, goat or sheep you need to get police clearance. You still have to get a Department of Livestock Veterinary Services movement permit. You still have to seek with a particular council, if there are funds to be paid to the respective council. All of that is being done, it’s in place and we should be good to go in a couple of weeks,” Lumsden added.
It may seem as if there is no ready target market for donkey meat in Zimbabwe or anywhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. Well, at least the market is not big enough to necessitate an abattoir of this nature, but not according to Lumsden.
“We are targeting China in particular- it is a delicacy there. They eat the meat but the important part is the skin,” he said.
Animal welfare groups have opposed the move. Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Zimbabwe (VAWZ) as well as the Aware Trust slammed the idea. The latter warned about the long-term consequences of farmers selling donkeys to the abattoir.
“Whilst some local farmers may benefit from the short-term sale of their donkeys, they are unlikely to be aware of the long-term consequences of this trade. The importance of the working donkey to communal farmers cannot be overstated,” they wrote on their Facebook page.