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Ethnography of the slaughterhouse: A case of Nanyuki slaughterhouse in Laikipia County, Rift Valley, Kenya

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Ameso Edwin Ambani, Bukachi Salome Atieno, Olungah Charles Owuor, Haller Tobias,
Project Towards food sustainability: Reshaping the coexistence of different food systems in South America and Africa
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Pastoralism
Volume (Issue) 7(1)
Page(s) 32 - 32
Title of proceedings Pastoralism
DOI 10.1186/s13570-017-0107-z

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


This paper focuses on establishing actors and their roles in the slaughterhouse processes in the Nanyuki slaughterhouse of Laikipia County. This is understood through the lens of the food system approach, based on the study findings of an anthropological study of pastoralism in Laikipia County, Kenya. This paper is guided by the specific objectives aimed at establishing the actors and their roles and describing the effects that institutional settings and changes have on slaughterhouse operations. Using a new institutionalism approach in social anthropology, the paper focuses not only on the actors and their roles but also on how externally shaped beef prices and standards shape the rules regulating access to the food processing processes for pastoral actors. We argue that this has an impact on pastoral economies and the question if and how pastoralists are able to benefit from this change in the food system. The study also identifies institutional settings and changes related to management, security and health concerns that impact the slaughterhouse operations and processes resulting from the dispensation of the devolved system of governance in the country. Data collection was through key informant interviews and unstructured observation of the slaughterhouse. The findings reveal economic and social relationships among actors involved in slaughterhouse operations and processes. The study also identified changes in formal institutional settings that impact the slaughterhouse operations, notably movement and no-objection permits as well as transportation and condemnation certifications. As a result, increased scholarship is recommended into slaughterhouse operations and processes as a means to understand the value addition that pastoralism has on the economic and food sustainability of the pastoral regions, counties and the nation as a whole.