File photo: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch.
File photo: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch.

NSPCA condemns export of 60 000 live sheep to Middle East

By Raahil Sain Time of article published Sep 16, 2019

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PORT ELIZABETH - The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) said it was horrified at the arrival of the Al Shuwaikh vessel at the East London Harbour on Monday which is allegedly set to load a ‘consignment’ of 60 000 sheep destined for the Middle East. 

According to the NSPCA, Al Mawashi, a Kuwaiti importer, has registered a company in South Africa and is using a local exporter, the Page Farming Trust, to facilitate the acquisition of some 60 000 sheep and the loading of these sheep onto the vessel later this week. 

The NSPCA says the intention is to export 600 000 animals, sheep, goats and cattle, per annum.

In a statement, the NSPCA said live export by sea for the purposes of slaughter was 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.”

The NSPCA said the route and climatic conditions of the voyage from South Africa to the Middle East, which would cross the Arabian Sea and enter the Strait of Hormuz, would be very stressful for the animals. 

“These areas are confirmed high risk areas for heat stress during the period of May to October,” the statement read.

The NSPCA said high temperatures in this area, which remain persistently high without relief overnight, render sheep incapable of regulating their body temperatures. 

It said that evidence has shown that during voyages between May to October, the combined heat and humidity can reach catastrophic levels causing heat stroke, resulting in sheep “cooking alive”.

The NGO said that heat was not the only concern relating to the “brutal practice” and sheep could endure lack of appetite, pneumonia, physical trauma and injuries as a result of trampling and injuries caused by rough seas. 

The NSPCA said that more than 100 000 litres of urine and faeces accumulate on a typical live export ship every day sheep are on board.

The NGO stressed that weeks of untreated waste build-up mixed with high temperatures would create a lethal slurry of excrement making it dangerous for animals to lie down as they risk being buried alive. Furthermore the ammonia from the excrement poisons the air, burns the eyes and throats of those on board, and often leads to respiratory infections.

“Many animals will not survive the journey, the cumulative deaths on the fleets of Al Mawashi for the period from 1980 to the first half of 2017 is more than 1.5 million deaths,” said Senior Inspector Grace De Lange, Manager of the NSPCAs Farm Animal Protection Unit.

 African News Agency (ANA)

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