So, when a donkey is stolen and sent for slaughter, it is not only a tragic loss of a beautiful animal, but a cruel twist to the lives of so many families who depend on their trusted companion in order to survive, say Makatapola villages in Iringa district.
In celebrating the World Donkey Day, stakeholders, owners and donkey meat consumers in Migoli and Makatapola villages in Iringa district have called upon the government to come up with strategies to control donkey theft which is rampant in the area.
They however urged authorities to suspend the donkey slaughter business which is considered to be among the major factors contributing to the theft of the animals. Donkey keepers claimed to solely depend on the animals for survival.
According to them, stolen donkeys are sold to donkey meat processing factories in Shinyanga and Dodoma regions.
Robert Geitani, a resident of Migoli village called on the government to close the Chinese donkey business to protect the lives of the animals as well as improve livelihoods of donkey keepers.
He called upon village authorities to supervise implementation of by-laws to reduce incidents which contribute into donkey deaths.
Mario Katemba wanted the community to realise the benefits of the animals since they provide support on a number of daily human tasks such as carrying water, cultivativation and carrying luggage.
“These animals have contributed into improving my family’s welfare. We normally use them for various activities including farming”, he noted.
Iringa district livestock officer, Isidory Karia, who is also the district co-coordinator of donkey welfare and livelihood projects commended Inades Formation Tanzania for working to improve the animal’s welfare.
Karia said most of the locals are now aware of the importance of donkeys and taking part to protect them.
“The animals have become part of the community due to socio-economic gains”, he said.
Head of the Department of Livestock and Fisheries at the Iringa District Council, Mathew Sanga said the council had a total of 5,228 donkeys.
He appealed to donkey owners to build better shelters and make sure donkeys are given good food to continue keeping them healthier. He said donkeys contribute in the agricultural value chain since they used to transport goods to market places.
A statement by Inades Formation Tanzania chief executive Officer, Herman Hishamu, said the organisation works with the community where people rely heavily on donkeys for survival.
Hishamu, said that in areas with high water availability challenges, the donkey has continued to carry water and enable communities to take precautions against Covid-19 through regular hand washing.
Tanzania joined other stakeholders around the world to celebrate World Donkey Day on May 17th, 2020 in recognition of the great value of the animals. Millions of people around the world rely on donkeys for economic and social activities.
Theme for this year’s celebration was: ‘Power Donkey's work for the welfare of the community’.
The donkey or ass is a domesticated member of the horse family, Equidae. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African wild ass, E. africanus. The donkey has been used as a working animal for at least 5000 years. There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world, mostly in underdeveloped countries, where they are used principally as draught or pack animals. Working donkeys are often associated with those living at or below subsistence levels. Small numbers of donkeys are kept for breeding.