After authorities in Simanjiro District slapped a ban on permits to transport donkeys on trucks from the district, racketeers now ride the animals into the forest, slaughter them, fry the meat and transport it to awaiting markets.
There has been an increase in the theft of donkeys from homes in the district after which they are herded to the bushes where they are slaughtered.
The carcasses are then deep fried ready for sale. Apparently, fried donkey meat commands higher prices, especially in Dodoma and as far as China.
This trend has been reported in Naberera, Namalulu, Lolibosioit, Terrat and Ilboreti villages in Simanjiro District, Manyara Region, according to a veterinary officer for the Meru Animal Welfare Organisation, Dr Bwanga Dr Jumanne added that donkey meat is mostly exported to China while the hides are taken to Kenya.
“Once the carcasses are dipped in boiling oil, it makes the meat easier to transport without attracting suspicion from authorities,” explained Dr Jummanne.
Simanjiro District Commissioner (DC), Mr Zephania Chaula, revealed that local residents usually neglect their donkeys, who are used in various transport tasks while in times of drought they are used to fetch and carry water.
For most of other seasons, they are left to move freely and fend for themselves.
Mr Chaula added that there are people who steal the animals at night and transport them under cover of darkness, kill, skin and fry the meat ready for export.
The Manager in-Charge of ‘Punda Poa,’ project, which deals with taking care of neglected animals under the ‘Meru Animal Welfare Organisation,’ said the programme helps members of the Maasai tribe to construct sturdy fences to protect their animals.