Our donkeys are worth saving and not killing!!!!!!!!

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the global donkey population is estimated at 44 million. The current population of donkeys in Zimbabwe is estimated to be 150000, a population already low to sustain donkey skin trading. If  allowed setting up of donkey abattoirs will be a contribution to the local extinction of donkeys in Zimbabwe. The donkey’s role depends on the communities which it lives with and works for. Usually, its traditional role includes riding, ploughing and carting, with less roles in entertainment and food production. Donkeys are not conventional sources of meat, and their uses for packing and traction do not fit within the stereotyped perspectives of livestock development agencies. Nonetheless, they are essential to the subsistence strategies of many communities in semi-arid regions, relieving families of repetitive and energy-consuming tasks.


A donkey is a resilient animal that provides reliable source of draught power to the people in the rural areas. As a saying says a woman without a donkey is a donkey, without draught power or donkeys the marginalised of the society (i.e. women, youth and disabled people) should work twice as much to complete tusks that can be made easy by donkeys. Donkeys are known to have contributed to the economy of rural people as they are used for farming activities that generate income.  In a research done by FAO Working donkeys, where they are observed, most often suffer from three main things:

  • Wounds – due to poor harnessing and hitching, or otherwise abuse by owners.
  • Ingestion of inappropriate things, such as plastic and sand.
  • Parasite infestation (where this may be detectable, such as in the faeces).

All these are problems of management, not of work proving their resilience which is not what one would say for cattle that can be an alternative form of draught power.

Besides donkeys being a good form of draught power, African countries are the most affected by global warming,  donkeys provide a form of cheap transportation that does not add more gases to the ozone as compared to vehicles. The other challenge of global warming  has been shortage of water and donkeys can travel long distances to obtain that for families.


The legalization of the donkey trade will increase the incidences of donkey theft for sale to the abattoir in the rural areas, while on the bright side that increases the value of the donkey it increases     their vulnerabilities to theft. It will be good as well to consider that the communities were not consulted on the sale and export of the donkeys are a probably doing so from an un informed position not taking note of the implications in the future. Additionally, every country that has licensed donkey abattoirs has seen an increase in donkey theft. Botswana closed its operations because complaints from the communities. Trafficking of donkey skins in other countries is often linked to wildlife criminal syndicates, and legitimising the trade could provide new linkages for wildlife poachers


Therefore, if we allow the slaughter of donkeys in Zimbabwe we have;

  • Taken away a source of livelihoods form the rural people.
  • We have taken away a source of cheap transport from them.
  • We have increased the chances of donkey theft.
  • In the next 10 years donkeys could be extinct with the unsustainable harvesting/slaughter for trade.
  • The disposal of the carcasses of the donkeys can have environmental implications.


Give our donkeys a chance !!!!


by Nobuhle The girl who loved P.J the vulture

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