ISLAMABAD: After the Punjab Food Authority discovered that donkey meat was being passed off as beef in restaurants, the federal government on Thursday banned export of donkey meat and hides to clampdown against illegal slaughtering of the animal.
On Wednesday, the Punjab Food Authority had discovered that pig and donkey meat was being sold as beef.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) during a meeting at the PM House on Thursday, slapped a ban on the export of donkey hides till the time the provinces worked out a mechanism to properly dispose off carcasses of the animal, according to the Ministry of Finance.
The Ministry of National Food Security and Research noted that many news channels have been criticising the provincial governments for failing to check this activity.
Read: Punjab Food Authority seizes suspected ‘pig meat’ from Lahore
The federal ministry threw the responsibility of illegal slaughtering on provincial governments who, despite having Food Safety Authority departments, could not check the illegal act.
Pakistan has the second largest population of donkeys in the world, estimated at 5 million. Model Customs Collectorate Karachi had also highlighted the issue of abnormal increase in the export of donkey hides.
The exports are largely made to China, Vietnam and Hong Kong. The hides are used for producing anti-wrinkle creams, gelatin for human consumption and other cosmetic products. The ministry noted that donkeys are either brutally killed or even poisoned for obtaining unblemished hide.
In 2013-14, as many as 59,634 donkeys’ hides valuing Rs44 million were exported –the figure that jumped to 129,898 hides worth Rs147 million in the last fiscal year.
The donkey hides fetch higher price in the international market than the buffalo hide and is sold in the range of Rs18,000 to Rs20,000, according to summary of Ministry of National Food Security and Research.
The ECC took the decision of ban after media reported illegal sale of the donkey meat in major cities of the country.
In the last fiscal year, the exports of donkey hides grew by 217 per cent to 129,898 hides, according to official figures. It is suspected that the meat of same numbers of donkeys was sold in the urban areas, particularly in Punjab.