State announces stiff national livestock movement rules

Wednesday, April 17th, 2024 06:50 | By
Herders take care of their goats in Kerio Valley. PHOTO/Wycliffe Kipsang

The government has declared a nationwide enforcement of rules and regulations in the livestock sector following an increase in livestock theft, unregulated trade in animal products, and contamination of food products.

The move seeks to ensure that the concerned parties adhere to food safety standards and health practices from production to consumption.

The exercise, which is being coordinated by the Ministry of Interior and National Administration, will involve the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Ministry of Health and County Governments.

Speaking at the Kenya School of Government (KSG) during a high-level multi-agency security workshop ahead of the exercise that begins immediately, Internal Security Principal Secretary Dr Raymond Omollo said cattle rustling was linked to the emergence of bandits and transnational criminal gangs who are smuggling and trafficking animal products such as skins across borders linked with other illicit wildlife trade.

The PS further revealed there had been reported cases of deaths due to unregulated trade and contamination of food products.

“We are also witnessing a worrying pattern of livestock thefts particularly in Rift Valley, Eastern and Central regions and meat seized while being transported to Nairobi and other regions,” the PS said.

Enforcing rules

In response to these threats, a 100-day Rapid Response Initiative (RRI) has been launched aimed at enforcing existing rules and regulations in the livestock sector.

All County Commissioners are directed to form multi-agency teams composed of the Police, DCI, National Intelligence Service (NIS), NGAOs, County Public Health Services, Veterinary Services, and co-opt other relevant regulatory agencies with specific terms of reference to enforce the same.

Multi-agency teams are also tasked to identify hotspots for illegal slaughter of all livestock and to arrest culprits while dismantling all the criminal syndicates involved.

“Suspicion of consumption of donkey meat has raised concerns about the origin of these animals despite the government having banned donkey slaughter in 2020 and rendering designated abattoirs non-operational,” PS Omollo said.

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