LIVE EXPORT HORROR: NSPCA CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO STEP UP AND RESPONDS TO AL MAWASHI STATEMENT

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) continues to work against this abhorrent cruelty and appeal again to the South African Government to take a stand against live export by sea.

“The South African Government have the power to stop this shipment, they have a responsibility to ensure that welfare is a primary concern, especially in light of our success in the High Court recently with regards to permitting issues and welfare considerations” said Marcelle Meredith, NSPCA Executive Director.

The NSPCA has been requesting, for over a decade, that regulations for live export by sea be promulgated by the government in terms of Section 10 of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962. These requests have fallen on deaf ears.

The NSPCA have also on numerous occasions requested the requirements of the receiving country’s permit conditions but neither the government, nor the exporting company, is prepared to provide these permit conditions.

It is time that the government makes it illegal to export live animals by sea to any destination where the voyage is longer than seven days and in such appalling conditions – the voyage to the Middle East is an estimated three weeks.

In response to the statement issued by Al Mawashi (Pty) Ltd, the company stated that the voyage would only be 16 days – this does not include the days spent in the South African port during loading and three Middle Eastern ports for offloading which takes days. From Australian Government reports, the Al Shuwaikh spent on average two days at each port in hot conditions.

Al Mawashi (Pty) Ltd also reported on mortality statistics during their best “out of summer” reports. In reports obtained under the Freedom of Information Act in Australia, they do not count hundreds of missing sheep as mortalities.

As reported by Al Mawashi:

Vessel Load Port Date sail Sheep loaded Sheep Mort% Actual Number of mortalities
Al Shuwaikh V146 Freemantle 23.12.18 69,917 0.302 210 animals died
Al Shuwaikh V147 Freemantle 05.2.19 71,160 0.462 327 animals died
Al Shuwaikh V148 Freemantle 19.3.19 70,250 0.270 189 animals died
Al Shuwaikh V149 Freemantle 24.4.19 66,995 0.230 154 animals died

Al Mawashi claim that they do not tolerate poor treatment of livestock in any part of the supply chain in any country it operates yet they are proud to release statistics showing close to a thousand deaths on board their ship on only four voyages in ‘out of summer’ months – and mortalities alone are not the only welfare indicator.

In November 2017, there were 712 mortalities recorded on one voyage on the Al Shuwaikh, averaging a daily total of 37 animals dying on board. A further discrepancy of 198 sheep were unaccounted for. The duration of the voyage was 24 days. In June 2018, 609 mortalities were recorded on a 30 day voyage, averaging 20 animals per day. And in September 2018, on a 24 day voyage, 659 mortalities were recorded, averaging 29 animals per day with 38 sheep unaccounted for.

Al Mawashi claimed in their statement that they operate transparently yet they do not provide all their statistics, particularly the statistics in the summer months, and the NSPCA had to obtain a warrant to inspect their feedlot in the Eastern Cape. The NSPCA has issued two warnings in terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962 for failure to provide shelter for the sheep that are kept at their feedlot.

Their claim to high animal welfare standards has been debunked by a damning sworn affidavit compiled by arguably the world’s most experienced live export veterinarian, who has extensive experience on Al Mawashi ships, including this vessel. By 31 December 2019, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will have phased out the use of double tiered livestock ships, this means that the Al Shuweikh will no longer be allowed to sail in Australian waters as Al Mawashi have made no attempt to adapt this vessel.

The NSPCA launched a campaign against live export by sea and have reached over 50 000 signatures on their petition that was officially launched on Sunday, 15 September 2019.

The NSPCA believes that 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.

Make your voice heard – sign the petition and donate to the NSPCA at www.nspca.co.za

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