Over the past months the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has issued several reports on the illegal donkey skin trade and the cruelty involved in the horrific slaughter methods. Donkeys are being stolen from rural families who rely on their working animals to transport water and firewood et al.
Our donkeys are in crisis and their owners suffer.
Yet unlike other African countries, including Botswana, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Ethiopia and Gambia, who have taken progressive steps to address the growing problem on the continent the South African government appears to be unperturbed by the plight of animals and communities, and leaves humane intervention to welfare organisations.
After being alerted by concerned members of the SAPS, NSPCA Inspectors intercepted trucks which were legally transporting donkeys. It was determined that these animals were destined for inhumane illegal slaughter for their skins. After interacting with those concerned it was agreed that the donkeys be transported to be humanely slaughtered at a registered abattoir. NSPCA Inspectors were present. This obviated the possible illegal and cruel deaths by untrained people at an unknown venue, which would have undoubtedly led to untold suffering.
The NSPCA is concerned that the trade in donkey skins is escalating and more and more animals are falling victim to this crime. Unfortunately there are a limited number of safe havens for rescued donkeys. Some of the rescued donkeys are currently in the care of an SPCA and are up for adoption to approved homes.
However, more concerning is the fact that untold numbers of animals suffer in incidents of theft, movement and deaths on a daily basis. They have no hope of survival without the positive and decisive intervention of government. The NSPCA has successful finalised prosecution cases as well as pending cases in court against perpetrators for the cruel transportation and slaughter of donkeys for their skins.
The NSPCA therefore makes an urgent call on the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to intervene and stop the export of donkeys and donkey skins and products from South Africa. We should be a forward thinking country, not following the rest of Africa, but leading.
This horrendous trade must be brought to its knees.
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