By Ben Leshau
Donkey owners, users and welfare groups in Narok have raised the red flag over persistent donkey thefts in the area.
Speaking during this year’s national Donkey Day held at Laluk area in Narok West, the donkey enthusiasts lamented that they have continued losing donkeys since 2015 despite raising the alarm.
Some of the donkey owners who spoke at the event expressed their frustrations after losing their beasts of burden to the thieves who are suspected to be ferrying them to the donkey abattoirs in Naivasha and Baringo counties.
Simon Ng’etich, one of the donkey theft victim told County Press that he lost all his five donkeys which were his only source of livelihood to thieves.
“I am a pauper now. These donkeys were my everything as I used to supply water up to 20 jerricans to a local secondary school where my three children as studying. The loss of the donkeys has really affected my family,” lamented Ng’etich.
He added: “My wife have suffered mental disorder after learning that the donkeys had been stolen and she is yet to recover,” he said.
Mr Ng’etich received one donkey worth Sh15,000 from the community who conducted a fundraiser after learning of his tribulations.
Donkey welfare organisations led by Brooke East Africa and Farmers Systems Kenya (FSK) have called on the Government to consider the downtrodden in society before allowing some investments such as the donkey slaughterhouses.
Dr Fred Sururu, a senior Vet with FSK said for the last two years, over 300 donkeys had either been found skinned or have gone missing in Narok County, thus raising concern over the donkey-dependent communities.
“We need the Government to enforce the Cap 365 of our constitution on animal rights and shut down all the donkey abattoirs as their presence has adversely affected the lives of the rural population,” Dr Sururu appealed.
He said in the 2009 census, Narok had a total of 100,000 donkeys but since the inception of the three abattoirs, the donkey population had declined.
Dr James Kithuka, a Donkey Welfare Director at Brooke East Africa said should donkeys continue being slaughtered at the rate they are doing, the donkey population will be decimated in the next five years.