Sunday, 1 October 2017

FIRST DONKEY ABATTOIR FOR ZIM

A BULAWAYO-BASED company, Battlefront Investments has started constructing a $150 000 specialised state-of-the-art donkey abattoir that will have a capacity to dress more than 70 animals per day.

The abattoir, located in Waterford suburb is expected to come on line by the end of the month and will be the first in the country. Battlefront Investments managing director, Mr Gareth Lumsden said the company has already started buying donkeys which will be slaughtered in the next three weeks. Battlefront Investments also owns four butcheries, three in Bulawayo and one in Victoria Falls.

“I think we will have finished (constructing the abattoir) maybe in two or three weeks’ time and we should start slaughtering. That abattoir is for the slaughtering of donkeys,” said Mr Lumsden.

Sunday News toured the facility which is almost complete while final touches were being put on processing rooms for meat and offals. Mr Lumsden said the company would adhere to the regulations pertaining to the buying and movement of livestock.

“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,” he said.

He said the company got the nod to construct the abattoir from relevant authorities.
“Obviously before we started we had to consult with various ministries and we got the blessing of various ministers. When we first applied to the various ministries we consulted with the local veterinary officials and inspectors at Cold Storage Company . . . ,” added Mr Lumsden.

He said the company was looking forward to inviting a senior Government official to officially open the abattoir.

“We have already started buying (donkeys) around the country as far as Gokwe, Plumtree, Gwanda and in between Gweru. Our target market is the Asian market of which I have even employed some Asian people, Chinese people in particular. We have already procured the market for that product,” said Mr Lumsden.

However, he could not say how much they were buying the animals for. The company expects to export donkey meat as well as its offals and hides. He said the development was also to take advantage of the closure of the donkey abattoir in Botswana. Botswana suspended export licences for the animal products three months ago. This was after villagers had complained that they were losing their donkeys to thieves who were selling the animals to the abattoir.

Mr Lumsden however, acknowledged that the country’s donkey population was low but was optimistic the company’s export business would be viable.

“At the moment the number of animals that are out there are quite few. The conditions of those animals we are buying and have bought are in terrible conditions. You find that they have broken legs, there are sores on animals from beatings, usually they are draught animals. The condition is not that great.”


Mr Lumsden said the company was mainly targeting buying “old” donkeys and those in a bad state. Sunday News

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