The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has again appealed to to government to take a stand against the abhorrent cruelty of exporting live animals by sea…

“The South African government has the power to stop this shipment; they have a responsibility to ensure that welfare is a primary concern, especially in light of our success in the High Court recently with regards to permitting issues and welfare considerations,” NSPCA executive director Marcelle Meredith said in a statement.

The NSPCA had been requesting, for over a decade, that regulations for live export by sea be promulgated by the government in terms of section 10 of the Animals Protection Act. These requests had fallen on deaf ears.

The NSPCA had also on numerous occasions requested the requirements of the receiving country’s permit conditions, but neither the government, nor the exporting company, was prepared to provide these permit conditions.

It was time that the government made it illegal to export live animals by sea to any destination where the voyage was longer than seven days and in such appalling conditions – the voyage to the Middle East was an estimated three weeks.

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According to a statement issued by the shipping company Al Mawashi (Pty) Ltd, the voyage would only be 16 days. This did not include the days spent in the South African port during loading and three Middle Eastern ports for offloading, which took days.

From Australian government reports, the transport ship Al Shuwaikh spent on average two days at each port in hot conditions, she said.

Al Mawashi (Pty) Ltd also reported on mortality statistics during their best “out of summer” reports. In reports obtained under the Freedom of Information Act in Australia, they did not count hundreds of missing sheep as mortalities

Al Mawashi claimed that they did not tolerate poor treatment of livestock in any part of the supply chain in any country it operated, yet they “were proud to release statistics showing close to a thousand deaths on board their ship on only four voyages in ‘out of summer’ months – and mortalities alone are not the only welfare indicator”, Meredith said.

In November 2017, there were 712 mortalities recorded on one voyage on the ship Al Shuwaikh, averaging a daily total of 37 animals dying on board.

A further discrepancy of 198 sheep were unaccounted for. The duration of the voyage was 24 days.

In June 2018, 609 mortalities were recorded on a 30-day voyage, averaging 20 animals per day.

And in September 2018, on a 24-day voyage, 659 mortalities were recorded, averaging 29 animals per day with 38 sheep unaccounted for.

Al Mawashi claimed in their statement that they operated transparently, yet they did not provide all their statistics, particularly the statistics in the summer months, and the NSPCA had to obtain a warrant to inspect their feedlot in the Eastern Cape.

The NSPCA had issued two warnings in terms of the Animals Protection Act for failure to provide shelter for the sheep kept at their feedlot.

“Their claim to high animal welfare standards has been debunked by a damning sworn affidavit compiled by arguably the world’s most experienced live export veterinarian, who has extensive experience on Al Mawashi ships, including this vessel.

By 31 December 2019, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will have phased out the use of double tiered livestock ships, this means that the Al Shuweikh will no longer be allowed to sail in Australian waters as Al Mawashi have made no attempt to adapt this vessel,” Meredith said.

The NSPCA launched a campaign against live export by sea and had reached over 50 000 signatures on the petition that was officially launched on Sunday, September 15.

“The NSPCA believes that live export by sea for the purposes of slaughter is completely unacceptable and unnecessary.

South Africa must take a stand against this abhorrent and unnecessary practice and rather export packaged meat, which not only ensures that animals do not suffer unnecessarily, but helps the country’s struggling economy,” Meredith said.

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Author: ANA Newswire