Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Elephant meat for hungry prisoners

Elephant meat for hungry prisoners

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:15

Wongai Zhangazha

PRISONERS in the country’s overcrowded jails may soon be fed with elephant 
meat if a proposal by the Justice and Legal Affairs ministry to curb the 
shortage of protein in prisons is accepted by government.
The ministry is proposing the culling of the “over-populated” elephants and 
supply the meat to prisons where inmates have had meals without meat for 
years. The country’s prison dietary requirements are said to be far below 
international standards and what is required by the law. Inmates alternate 
sadza with cabbages or beans as their main meal.

Unconfirmed reports were that prisoners had gone for four years without 

In an interview last week, Deputy Minister of Justice Obert Gutu said while 
“things have slightly improved in the prisons and prisoners are getting 
three meals a day”, there were still limitations in terms of the dietary 

“The meals do not meet the approved dietary standards as stipulated by the 
law. In one of our meetings it was discussed extensively how the problem 
could be solved,” said Gutu. “It was at this meeting that the ministry and 
the Prison Services Commission considered elephant meat as an option. It was 
agreed that since experts say that there is an overpopulation of elephants 
in the country why not get some of the elephants and give them to prisoners 
as meat, since we don’t have the meat neither do we have the money to buy 
it. It was agreed to say let’s get into a deal with relevant authorities and 
arrange something.”

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo 
told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that they had not received any 
communication from the Ministry of Justice regarding the supply of elephant 
meat to prisoners.

However, the move to supply prisons with elephant meat was not welcomed by 
wildlife activists.

Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force slammed the 
proposal, arguing that the move would result in the extinction of elephants 
and in the long result in the “killing” of the tourism industry.

He said: “This is the most dangerous thing that they will be doing if 
approved. One of the biggest foreign currency earners in the country is 
tourism. How then can we steal from our own heritage? Why are we selling our 
future heritage down the drain? We should be looking after these intelligent 
animals so that they are not killed. Government should actually be putting 
in harsh laws to protect these animals.”

Rodrigues said despite claims by authorities that there were 100 000 
elephants in the country, the number had gone down to less than 35 000.

Apart from food problems in prisons, jails are overcrowded and government is 
failing to provide adequate prison garb.

Gutu said they had agreed that prisoners should start wearing their own 
clothes to ease the uniform crisis.

“The uniforms are torn and we don’t have any new uniforms. It was agreed 
that they start wearing their own clothes except for dangerous prisoners and 
obviously we expect ZPS (Zimbabwe Prison Services) to use its discretion so 
that it will not pose a security risk,” said Gutu.


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