A DAMARA people's non-profit organisation which protects and preserves Namibian diverse sub clans, says a donkey abattoir in Namibia has no chance of succeeding or being effective.
The Donkib (||îb) Ge Cultural Group has been conducting research on the traditional and medicinal values of the animals.
The calls to halt the abattoir plans come after the Outjo municipality advertised their intention to provide land for such a venture and called for objections to be submitted by 3 March, while Okahandja mayor Johannes 'Congo' Hindjou also welcomed the proposal for the establishment of a donkey abattoir at that town.
Ever-Lasting Iron Sheet Investment, owned by Chinese businesswoman Stina Wu, had proposed the abattoir at Okahandja, while Fu Hai Trading Enterprise CC has acquired land at Outjo, where it plans to open a donkey abattoir.
Abner Xoagub of Donkib (||îb) Ge Cultural Group, said Namibia's donkey population is estimated to be around 200 000, but a formal count still needs to be done.
He said the fact that "we do not have any legal framework protecting or facilitating the registration and protection of donkeys in Namibia, is risky, and will have the opposite of the desired effect for the agricultural sector to allow an abattoir or the mass harvesting of donkeys in Namibia".
Their research and oral history collections show that donkeys play a vital role in the lives of poor and rural farmers, Xoagub stated.
These animals are the only means of transport - taking children to schools, collecting water, working the land and transporting families to towns. Without donkeys, the communities will be dormant and poor.
"The Damaras and Tswanas eat donkey meat as a delicacy in average quantities, which does not in any way threaten the donkey population. We, however, observed how other countries have decimated their donkeys, which resulted in the further impoverishment of the already poor", he stressed.
In addition, Xoagub is appealing to the Namibian government and all stakeholders to halt the planned abattoirs and any plans to export donkey products until proper research has been conducted and legal instruments as well as control measures put in place before embarking on the proposed abattoirs.
A recent report by the donkey sanctuary, an organisation dedicated to transform the quality of life for donkeys, said animal welfare organisations in South Africa are regularly receiving reports of donkeys slaughtered in rural areas for their skins.
The national council of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that "donkeys are being rounded up/stolen, then transported and brutally slaughtered for their skins."
Recent investigations into appalling welfare conditions for donkeys both awaiting transportation and being transported to slaughter for the Chinese skin market have led to the successful prosecution of individuals relating to violations of the animal protection act.
A recent case focused on 70 sick, emaciated animals left to starve in Bloemfontein, where the owner stated that "he was only interested in the skins to export to China".