Cape Town - Owners of a Philippi racehorse training centre are outraged over horse carcasses being dumped on a compost producing site adjacent to the centre.
The stench was so unbearable, workers at the centre now have to wear surgical masks, Philippi Training Centre manager Luella Robinson said.
The facility’s owner said she had a right to decompose horse carcasses at the site.
Robinson complained the centre faced losing business as the smell was bad because “horses are particularly sensitive to the smell of their own equine carcasses”.
Robinson said that until a few months ago the only animals the decomposing site was allowed to decompose were small animals. “These (horses) are meant to be buried underneath, but she places them under tarpaulins to rot, but sometimes the tarpaulins blow off,” she said.
But Melanie Jones, owner of Zero To Landfill said:
“We are entitled to bring horses to the site.” She has stopped bringing horse carcasses to the site out of courtesy after Robinson requested her.
“She is trying to cause problems for my business. It is not like I am leaving the horses on the open to rot, they are buried underneath,” said Jones.
Mayoral committee member for health Siyabulela Mamkeli said the City was busy investigating and awaited Robinson and Jones’s response to its request to visit the site together.
“The intention is to have an on-site inspection with the relevant parties to address the matter,” said Mamkeli.
The City's environmental health department was aware of the site in Philippi and that it accepted animal carcasses, said Mamkeli.
An environmental health practitioner's site visit in September 2015 did not reveal any contraventions, he said.
The site was visited on Tuesday and from an environmental health perspective there was “nothing that warrants wearing a mask”.
Flies were evident and this will be dealt with via a communication to the person responsible for the site,” he said
. He added his department will engage the provincial government for an assessmentto ensure compliance with an environmental management plan. “There is no licence required for this type of activity, but the Western Cape Government does, however, require that an Environmental Management Plan be in place,” Mamkeli said
Cape Town SPCA chief executive Allan Perrins said the methodology use on the site has been tried and tested internationally, although “I too have recently noticed a stench – probably due to the very hot and dry weather or the carcasses being turned”.