New directive for import and export of live animals

New directives introduced to import and/or export of live animals. File: Independent Newspapers

New directives introduced to import and/or export of live animals. File: Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 12, 2024


THE Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (Dalrrd) has alerted Importers and exporters of live animals of stricter regulations they need to follow.

This will reassure South Africans who were horrified in February after livestock carrier Al Kuwait, dubbed the “death ship”, transporting around 19 000 livestock from Brazil to the Middle East, docked at Cape Town harbour, causing a stench across the city bowl and an outcry from animal rights groups.

In February, the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO) said it had learnt with concern of bulk animal carrier Al Kuwait. Allegedly, the situation on the ship was horrendous with animals lying down and unable to get up, manure lying very deep in the pens as well as sick and dead animals.

In a statement yesterday, Dalrdd spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said the newly introduced directive was in line with the requirement for import authorisation for live animals in terms of the Animal Improvement Act, 1998 (Act No 62 of 1998) (AIA) and it was aimed at intensifying compliance with Section 16 of the AIA.

“Authorisation for the importation and exportation of live animals and related genetic materials must be applied for in terms of the AIA. This includes all existing veterinary import permits, which were issued prior 1 April 2024. In the case of new applications, the Animal Improvement Permit/authorisation must be applied for first, and the AIA Permit/authorisation must be attached to the application for the Veterinary Import Permit submitted to the department,” Ngcobo said.

In the case of veterinary import permits issued prior to the beginning of this month, under the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act No 35 of 1984), Dalrrd urged importers/exporters to ensure that they included copies of the valid AIA permits.

Game and/or wild animals, as well as animals such as cats, birds and fish did not require an AIA Permit/authorisation for importation, Dalrrd said

Meanwhile, on Tuesday another bulk animal carrier, Al Messilah, arrived in East London.

Frik van Rooyen, of the Eastern Cape (EC) Red Meat Producers Organisation said industry observers were on site at the feed lot. The Al Messilah had loaded 51 488 small stock, which were sheep and goats, and was currently loading 1 500 head of cattle.

Van Rooyen said certified to international standards for transporting 65 000 small stocks, the Al Messilah ensured that all animals aboard had full freedom of movement and access to feed, water, and bedding with sawdust provided for their comfort.

“Before loading, all animals underwent multiple screenings, ensuring only those fit for the voyage were loaded. Throughout these screenings, 90% of the sourced animals were deemed suitable for export. With a commendable track record from previous shipments from South Africa, the Al Messilah has maintained mortality rates well below internationally accepted standards.

“No visibly pregnant or positively pregnant animals upon scanning were loaded onto the vessel. Any welfare concerns were promptly addressed, and the entire process was monitored by state veterinarians.”

The EC RPO said it was satisfied that the exporter made every effort to comply with and adhere to the provisions of the South African Live Export by Sea Guidelines.