Pakistan government tackles donkey meat trade

By Chloe Ryan

- Last updated on GMT

Concerns have surfaced in Pakistan that donkey meat is being passed off as beef in several restaurants
Concerns have surfaced in Pakistan that donkey meat is being passed off as beef in several restaurants

Related tags Pakistan

The Pakistan government has banned the export of donkey hides to try to stop illegal slaughter practices and also stem the fraudulent sale of donkey meat inside the country.

According to the government’s economic coordination committee (ECC), the decision was taken on 3 September “amid media reports that carcases of the animals were being sold in the market for consumption as meat”​.

The ECC asked the Ministry of Food Security “to convey the decision to the provincial governments to ensure that proper mechanism for disposal of remains of the donkeys”​ is put in place as soon as possible.

Pakistan has one of the highest donkey populations in the world, estimated at five million, but the animals are generally used as working animals rather than for meat. However, according to reports in the Pakistani press, the Punjab Food Authority reported on 2 September that it had discovered donkey meat was being passed off as beef in several restaurants.

Donkey hide exports

This coincides with a dramatic increase in donkey hide exports, thought to be fuelled by increased demand from China, Vietnam and Hong Kong, where they are used to produce cosmetics such as anti-wrinkle creams. According to government figures, exports of donkey hides increased 217% in the last fiscal year to 130,000.

In May, customs officials called for a ban on hide exports, calling the rise “alarming”​, and said it could endanger the population of donkeys in Pakistan.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research said donkeys were often killed brutally or even poisoned so as not to damage their hides.

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