Zimbabwe municipality orders wandering donkeys to be shot

Lawlessness continues to prevail unabated in Zimbabwe and the latest victims are donkeys. The city council of Gweru recently ordered the shooting of wandering donkeys, even if they have owners. So far, 19 donkeys have died and council workers have even forced one owner to unhitch his donkey.

Many donkey owners in Zimbabwe have allowed their donkeys to roam and find food as the result of a devastating drought that has claimed numerous wildlife. But despite this, donkeys are being gunned down without reason.

Local activists took the Gweru council to court and they were found guilty of illegally killing donkeys, and were ordered to pay the owners compensation. But it did not happen and the government prosecutor insisted that the case be referred to the high court.

Decisions by the Gweru Council are so uninformed that the municipal pound for stray animals has been converted into a bus terminal, yet staff continue to be paid to look after a facility that no longer exists.

Andrea Matthee, lead campaigner for international lobby group, the Political Animal Lobby (PAL) said they are taking the matter seriously and are trying to help local donkey owners take the case to the High Court.

“These owners will get nothing unless we help them. Even though the legal system still functions in Zimbabwe, people who dare take the rich and powerful to court face financial and professional difficulties,” she said.

“We are trying to keep the pressure on, otherwise donkeys will continue to die. Sometimes the only way to help animals is to pressure governments to take action, pass strict laws and see that they are enforced. That’s what we will continue to do.”

Matthee said if nothing is done, it will be open season for councils throughout Zimbabwe to implement similar, heartless policies.

She added that no shelter equals dead donkeys and if there is no action, corruption will go unpunished and Zimbabwe will slip a little further into animal anarchy.

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