The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has spoken out strongly against plans to ship 60‚000 sheep from the Eastern Cape to the Middle East.
The Al Shuwaikh vessel belonging to AL Mawashi‚ a Kuwaiti importer that has registered a company in South Africa‚ arrived at East London harbour last week‚ tasked with transporting the sheep on a voyage that the NSPCA charged was a “brutal practice”.
The NSPCA said in a statement that the animals would be transported across high-risk areas that could lead to heat stress‚ injury from trampling and crowding‚ and disease.
“The route and climatic conditions of the voyage from South Africa to the Middle East will cross the Arabian Sea and enter the Strait of Hormuz. These areas are confirmed high-risk areas for heat stress during the period May to October‚” senior inspector Grace de Lange‚ manager of the NSPCA farm animal protection unit‚ said on Monday.
De Lange said the sheep were likely to be aboard the vessel for “a number of weeks”‚ and told TimesLIVE she had been informed by representatives from Al Mawashi that they expected “at least 500 sheep to die in transit”.
She was also told they are planning to ship more sheep in coming years.
“The high temperatures in this area‚ which remain persistently high without relief [even overnight]‚ render sheep incapable of regulating their body temperatures‚” she said.
“Evidence has shown that during voyages between May and October‚ the combined heat and humidity can reach catastrophic levels‚ causing heatstroke.”
The Page Farming Trust‚ who was at the centre of an inquest in 2013 for shipping horses to Mauritius‚ are facilitating the trade agreement between South Africa and Kuwait.
TimesLIVE has reached out to to Page Farming Trust for comment‚ and will update this story when it lands.
De Lange believed the ship would not be cleaned of urine and excrement until after it arrived at its final destination‚ meaning urine and faeces would accumulate‚ making it dangerous for animals to lie down.
“The weeks of untreated waste build-up mixed with high temperatures will create a lethal slurry of excrement‚” she cautioned.
“The NSPCA believes 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‚” she said.
By: Dan Meyer
Source: TMG Digital.