Headline December 13, 2018/ TALE ''44-M - DONKEYS'' TAIL


DONKEYS ARE BEING SLAUGHTERED at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that's fuelled by soaring demand in China.

''Now the price has risen $150 or even higher!''

Donkeys are essential -life and survival- to ens of millions of farmers in Africa's driest regions, often also the most impoverished, and the skin trade is threatening to upset rural economies that rely heavily on the animals for transporting everything from produce to cattle feed.

LIKE the poaching of Africa's rhinos and elephants, and deforestation caused by the largely illicit trade in rose wood timber, the slaughter of donkeys is an unforeseen consequence of rising Chinese incomes and an expanding middle-class.

''In Kenya, the net economic value of a working donkey is $2,300 a year. If  you sell it for slaughter, you will get a fraction of that : it will give you an income for a single month,'' Myers said.

''A donkey is worth a hell of lot more alive than dead.''

While the global donkey population is estimated at 44 million, demand is currently thought to be at least 4 million per year. The Donkey Sanctuary said in a report this year.

That's why Niger halted exports of the animal and completely prohibited their slaughtering after it found that donkey exports in the first nine moths of 2016 had almost tripled compared to the whole of 2015.

In neighboring Burkina Faso, the doubling of the price of a donkey and the slaughter of 45,000  donkeys out of a population of 1.5 million prompted the government in August last year to impose an export ban.


ZIMBABWE, where donkeys are less common, turned down an application to build a donkey slaughterhouse, while ETHIOPIA closed it's only functioning donkey abattoir after residents complained about the stench and pollution.

But large-scale slaughtering continues in many African countries, including Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya, and online sales ads for donkeys hides are especially easy to find in Nigeria.

Donkey's don't reproduce easily and are difficult to breed commercially :
''They have never been good at being a reproductive species,'' Myers said. ''It's not where their value lies.''

In NIGERIA, some traders have turned to smuggling the animals from Niger. A trader-turned smuggler said he was recently caught with five donkeys when trying to ''sneak into'' Nigeria.

Border officials from seized the animals and fined him the equivalent of $650, but he said he planned to stay in the trade because ''its the only business I know.''

''Before the ban, I imported a truck packed with donkeys from Niger almost every week and sold them at $44 per donkey,'' said the trader whose full name was withheld because of fear of being caught.

''Now the price has risen to $150 or higher''

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers in the Developing Countries in Africa and then the world.

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