During mid-April of this year, a total of 512 South African cattle were loaded onto the LSS Success livestock vessel in East London, destined for slaughter in Mauritius. Live export ultimately claimed 43 lives of the 512 victims of this voyage. 43 innocent lives in addition to the countless other victims of live export across the globe.
Dr. P. Beeharry (the Principal Agricultural Officer in the Mauritian Ministry of Agriculture), the owner of the LSS Success as well as the Mauritian importers and South African exporters were all approached by the NSPCA where we formally requested for an explanation for the death of the animals.
The NSPCA received a single response from the Captain of the LSS Success stating that the vessel encountered a storm en route to Mauritius, which caused the animals to experience ‘seasickness’ and as a result of that 42 cattle had died on board the vessel. The NSPCA made contact with the importer in Mauritius and found out that another cow was slaughtered during offloading because the animal was in terrible condition upon arrival, bringing the total mortality to 43.
Seasickness and storms cannot be an acceptable reason for animals to die at sea. For as long as live export is legal, the vessels used to conduct this atrocious act should, at the very least, be equipped to withstand storms (which regularly occur) in a manner that protects the animals from the effects of the storm.
The NSPCA is of the opinion that the vessel, which is 51 years old, was simply not appropriate for this voyage. Those animals were probably crushed to death on the vessel during the storm which would have been excruciating to say the least. The bodies of these animals were thrown overboard, therefore, making it impossible for experts to ascertain the exact cause of death.
The NSPCA is certainly disappointed by this incident but we are not surprised. We have stated time and time again that the export of live animals by sea is undeniably cruel for a number of reasons. The NSPCA recognizes the helplessness of these sentient beings and hopes that we will be able to continue to fight for them through the support of the public.
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