The NSPCA applauds the Judgment of the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, Makhanda, for affirming the NSPCA’s mandate in respect of shearing all animals bound for the Al Messilah Live Export vessel, that docked in the East London Harbour on 02 April 2024.

This vital decision comes after the exporter, Al Mawashi (Pty) Ltd, working through the Page Farming Company, launched an urgent application in the High Court on Friday, 29 March 2024, to prevent the NSPCA from, firstly, marking compromised animals to prevent such animals from being loaded on the vessel, and, secondly, from screening for pregnant ewes.

Al Mawashi, however, withdrew the relief in respect of the pregnant ewes at the last minute, due to pregnant ewes being present in the feedlot and with at least one (at that stage) giving birth in the feedlot. This despite Mr Bruce Page, from the Page Farming Company, deposing under oath that all ewes were screened “thoroughly” for pregnancy and no pregnant ewes would be exported.  However, NSPCA’s veterinarian, Dr Marock, as well as the state veterinarian, Dr Zondi, have confirmed that there are pregnant animals, some visibly pregnant, at the feedlot.

The Court held that the NSPCA is well within its mandate and rights, as endorsed by the Constitutional Court and in terms of its warrant, to examine all animals in the feedlot and the conditions under which they are held. The abhorrently cruel and hasty sheering of sheep which Al Mawashi have resorted to, due to their self-imposed, profit-driven timeline, was set out in the NSPCA’s papers and the evidence put forward was accepted by the Court.

Animal welfare is not a priority for Al Mawashi and the Page Farming Company, with reckless sheering causing immense pain and suffering, with such injured animals then expected to endure a three-week journey at sea, in a ship with high ammonia levels and extreme heat, standing in their own excrement.

The NSPCA’s powers are now cemented in the feedlot, and we will continue to exercise our authority without fear, favour, or prejudice.  All animals destined for Kuwait will be examined and no compromised animals will be allowed to board.

Al Mawashi now has a costs order for legal fees against it, although such costs do not include the enormous expense to keep our teams on the feedlot and harbour, to conduct the crucial screening and prevention of cruelty to animals.

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