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Kenyan farmers lose out to imports over concerns on quality of animal produce.

Multinational stores in Kenya prefer stocking imported animal farm produce to local ones due to quality concerns, a report shows.

'Some multinationals have come to my office numerous times, seeking to be allowed to import produce due to local quality concerns,'assistant director of veterinary services Joyce Thaiya said yesterday.

Thaiya spoke at the Stanley Hotel, Nairobi, during the launch of the report by World Animal Protection, an animal rights lobby.

She told the Star on the sidelines that most farmers do not know that Cap 360 makes it an offence to be cruel to animals.

'For example, poultry products tend to be affected because local farmers practise caging of the birds. This affects not only the quality of the eggs, but also the meat,' Thaiya said.

'It would be better if the farmers appreciate that following proper animal welfare improves the products' quality, thereby their market share.'

The report - Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare - groups the major multinational outlets operating in the country in six tiers. The first tier is for those strict with animal welfare standards while the sixth is the least strict.

highly ranked in tier two

The report shows multinationals such as the British-Dutch giant Unilever have integrated proper animal welfare standards into the business.

Unilever sells numerous household food brands. It is ranked highly in tier two.

The report shows most major outlets with less stringent standards on animal welfare tend to take-up most of the local animal produce.

'Subway achieved a tier five ranking , showing that farm animal welfare is on the business agenda but there is limited evidence of implementation,' the report shows.

Carrefour and Burger King achieved tier four status. Fast food outlet Yum Brands, owners of KFC and Dominos Pizza, is in tier three. KFC and Dominos have established policies but have more work to do, the report says.

According to animal rights experts, the low-ranking in strictness of the animal husbandry standards has a direct relation with the quality of the produce a farmer takes to the market.

This means if the multinational outlets, which have huge buying capacity, were to require local farmers to strictly enforce the animal welfare standards, the farmers would lose the market share to foreigners.

Insist on standards

Campaign manager for Animals in Farming at World Animal Protection Africa, Victor Yamo, said consumers should insist on the welfare standards that the animal was subjected to.

He said the welfare directly affects the quality of the product and people's health. 'If you care about animals, then you really should think twice about handing your money over to some of these retailers and restaurants. Giants like Burger King and Carrefour must take animal welfare much more seriously.'

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Feb 27, 2019
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