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Donkey Cruelty Remains A Crisis In Botswana

LINDIWE MOZOLA
PALAPYE: The Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security have warned that donkeys would become extinct in five years if the rate at which they are killed were not curbed.

This was revealed during the donkey awareness workshop held here recently that attracted Central District farmers held under the theme, ‘Preserving donkeys for future use’. Dr John Moreki of the Department of Animal Production said that Batswana are very cruel towards donkeys, as they are not treated like other livestock such as goats and cattle.

He said that they are poorly fed, not treated when sick and are over worked without given any rest yet they continue to remain faithful and perform their duties. Moreki said that what triggered the government to begin the workshops was the killing of donkeys in Francistown by one Chinese man who needed their hides to trade in Asia.

“It was in July this year when we saw an epitome of animal cruelty in Francistown. The donkeys were killed recklessly by a Chinese man for their hides. The way those animals were ill treated was very disturbing they were bought from the locals in Francistown and neighbouring villages additionally the hides collected were worth P6 million,” he said. He said it was an unpleasant scene when they arrived in Francistown, hence they saw it fit to do a country tour to educate people about the importance of donkeys towards the country’s economy.

He said that donkeys in the country were estimated to be around 227,000 and have

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since decreased drastically between 2006-2014 due to poor management practices, drought, vehicular accidents, sale of donkeys to feed predators, illegal slaughtering and theft. He said that if people are not encouraged to treat donkeys well they would be extinct in the next five years.

Moreki further added that the demand of donkey hides in China contributes highly to donkey theft, cruelty and indiscrimination.

“Annually the Chinese market needs at least 400,000 beasts to slaughter for hides for medicinal purposes therefore, you could see that the number of donkeys we have in Botswana does not come close to that. So imagine what will happen if we were to sell our donkeys to them they will be extinct. Moreover our food security is also threatened which is a major problem because we plough using them,” he added.

He also said that the animal act policy remains a problem in the country as it is not strict and has not been reviewed since its establishment when the country gained independence. Culprit pays only P50 for animal cruelty. When giving the welcoming remarks Kgosi Duncan Segotsi of Maape village said that it was a rare occasion for people to gather around talking about an animal that is disregarded yet it has always remained the closest friend to human beings since the beginning of time.



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