NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16 – Thirty piglets and a boar ungracefully graced TV screens and grabbed the country’s attention on Tuesday, as activists went on the rampage demonstrating against what they termed as a hefty pay hike demand by Members of Parliament.
While the pigs roamed outside Parliament licking raw blood oblivious of the teargas horror that would soon befall them, animal rights crusaders worried about their welfare.
Many wondered what happened to the pigs after the demonstrations were quelled and how exactly the ‘branded’ pigs found their way to Parliament.
Rumours and theories were fronted with fervour as investigators dug into the piggy tale that begun somewhere in Kawangware at the point of pig purchase.
“These pigs did not come from the same place or owner because they bear different identification marks. Others have clipped ears and others have docked tails,” says the stables’ manager of the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (KSPCA) David Nduati.
The pigs are said to have come from Kawangware at a cost of approximately Sh10,000 for the boar and about Sh3,000 and Sh2,000 for the piglets depending on the size.
However, the exact price of the pigs remains a hush-hush affair with one of the protest leaders Boniface Mwangi flatly refusing to disclose it.
“I can’t tell you the price of the pigs because it will give Kenyans something else to discuss other than the reasons why we had the demonstrations in the first place,” he says.
The grunting pigs were transported to the Central Business District in mini-vans and it remains a mystery how they went past law enforcers unnoticed.
When they eventually got to town and were dramatically unleashed outside Parliament, animal rights fighters got wind of it and eventually made their way into town.
KSPCA is the body that rescued the animals and has been feeding and housing them since.
Nduati however remembers how difficult it was to subdue the 200 kilogram boar, which still bears the names Duale, Midiwo and Linturi.
He also notes with concern that the male pig was distressed and wouldn’t eat for several hours.
“We tried to give it food on Tuesday evening but he wouldn’t eat until yesterday evening. The boar was too tired after being chased around town; pigs are not herd animals,” he argues.
“Those demonstrators gave the pigs raw blood, which goes bad very quickly and we don’t yet know how much damage that caused.”
Nduati and his colleagues will clean the pigs before the week’s end and then they will be screened by a veterinary and de-wormed.
The caregivers at KSPCA also hope that the pigs are adopted and given a permanent home by interested persons if the owners don’t pick them up.
“We first have to find out whether the paint used to brand them was water or oil based. After that we will clean them up but we don’t know when or if they will get a new home,” he explains.
For now however they continue eating rice, wheat bran and dog food before KSPCA can get them proper pig food.
KSPCA Inspector Fred Midikila also says that the demonstrators will be sued for abusing animal rights.