Sunday 15 October 2017


A BULAWAYO-BASED company, Battlefront Investments which is constructing a $150 000 specialised state-of-the-art donkey abattoir in the city has so far purchased 170 donkeys which are now awaiting slaughter once the facility is completed.

Sunday News visited the feedlot in Manningdale where the company is keeping the donkeys. The caretaker at the feedlot, Mr Witness Ngulube, said more donkeys were being bought although they will scale down because the farm could not hold many.

“On Thursday we received about 30 donkeys and now we have around 170 in total.
Some of them are in a very bad condition but they will pick up as time goes on because we had some donkeys that we thought would die when we bought them but now they are very healthy and strong,” said Mr Ngulube.

He said the feedlot can only accommodate about 200 donkeys and they will scale down purchases until the abattoir is functional.

“This area can only accommodate about 200 donkeys, I doubt that we can go beyond 300. I have already advised them to stop buying more because we will soon run out of space to keep them,” he said.

The director of the company, Mr Gareth Lumsden, had said the abattoir will be completed by the end of the month. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister responsible for livestock, Cde Paddy Zhanda visited the abattoir last week and said the Government wanted assurance that the donkey meat will not find its way into the local market as it was taboo to eat donkey meat in Zimbabwe.

Mr Lumsden said the company expected to export the donkey meat as well as its offals and hides to Asia where there is a huge market for it.

The donkey abattoir will have a capacity to dress more than 70 animals daily.
However, some animal conservations have criticised the planned slaughter of donkeys for commercial purposes.

They argued that Zimbabwe’s donkey population estimated at 150 000 was too small to support such a project. Further there are fears that donkey meat will find its way into butcheries.

Meanwhile, the Government has said it will not allow the wanton slaughter of donkeys for commercial purposes.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said the value of donkeys outweighed the love for meat or hides.

Conservationists are lobbying against opening of the abattoir; and in July Botswana became the sixth African country to impose restrictions on donkey exports following Niger, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Gambia.

Dr Made said, “Donkeys are a major source of draught power in the agriculture sector and decapitating them will be a major blow for the smallholder farmer and agriculture sector. Zimbabwe won’t allow draught power to be undermined. If the proposed slaughterhouse is already buying donkeys, it will be a major blow to the rural population which survives on donkeys for transport and draught power; we can’t allow that. Government will not stand by to allow that to happen as donkeys’ economic, social and political importance far outweigh the interest of meat and skins.” sunday news


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