The National Council of SPCAs has vowed to continue its fight against live sheep export despite the Grahamstown high court’s decision this week to allow a shipment of 56 000 sheep to leave East London’s shores for the Middle East.
Acting judge Nceba Dukada this week ruled that Kuwaiti-based animal exporter Al Mawashi may immediately export 56 000 sheep rather than a full load of 72 000 sheep to the Middle East by ship, but under strict conditions.
These conditions included the close supervision of the department of agriculture to ensure Al Mawashi kept to international animal welfare requirements.
The NSPCA’ executive director Marcelle Meredith on Wednesday said the council was disappointed and horrified by the judgement which allowed the sheep to be shipped across the equator in the hottest month of the year.
She was sceptical about the department’s ability to monitor the welfare of the sheep saying the NSPCA had been forced to lay animal cruelty charges against the department due to its failings in previous sheep shipments.
Dukada said he would give reasons for his order in mid-September.
Meredith said the NSPCA intended appealing his decision.
“In the interim, the NSPCA contingent is en route to the Eastern Cape to ensure that the animals are treated humanely.”
She said the order did not protect the animals from heat stress and other cruelty that took place on ships, which is the reason that the NSPCA brought the application for an urgent interim interdict in the first place.
“We are devastated for the 56 000 sheep that will have to endure this treacherous journey. The undeniable cruelty that takes place on these voyages is simply unacceptable. We will not give up, we will continue to fight this. The Government will also be monitored closely; they have a very responsible task and are not above the law.