The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and Cooperatives has banned the slaughter of donkeys in the country.
Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya gave the four existing slaughterhouses a one-month notice and revoked their licences.
He directed them to transform and start handle other animals such as cattle, sheep goat and chicken.
THEFT OF DONKEYS
Mr Munya said the ban comes against backdrop of dwindling of donkey numbers occasioned by rampant theft of donkeys in a syndicate that has benefited slaughterhouse owners at the expense of citizens.
The four operational slaughter houses are Goldox Kenya Limited in Mogotio (Baringo), Star Brilliant Abattoir in Maraigushu (Nakuru), Silzha Limited (Turkana) and Fuhai Machakos Trading Company Limited (Machakos).
The CS said the theft of donkeys has particularly disenfranchised farmers who use the donkeys for their transport needs.
"The rampant slaughtering of donkeys has led to massive unemployment in areas where donkeys are (an economic) mainstay for residents," said Mr Munya.
He added: "The Ministry compliance officers will supervise the strict compliance and adherence to this directive, failure to comply will attract dire consequences as prescribed by law".
Animal rights activists have been calling for the ban for a while now.
Last year, the Africa Network for Animal Welfare, Brooke East Africa, Network of Donkey Owners and Alliance of Donkey Welfare Organisations in Kenya, in collaboration with the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation called for a ban on the export of donkey skin.
They also called for a crackdown on cross-border smuggling of donkeys into Kenya.
Following the amendment of the Meat Control Act in 2012 to classify donkeys and horses as food animals, donkey slaughterhouses were established with the aim of exporting the meat to international markets.