The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) confirms that an urgent application to the High Court has been launched to interdict the impending export by sea of live sheep to Kuwait. The matter is set to be heard in the Grahamstown High Court on Friday, 28 February 2020. This, following the live export by sea horror that took place in October 2019 where sheep were transported to the Middle East in horrendous conditions.
Since the shipment in October 2019, the NSPCA has attempted to gain information from both the exporters and the government, of when the next shipment is scheduled, to no avail. The NSPCA was recently made aware that the sheep are mounting in the feedlot owned by the Page Farming Trust and leased by Al Mawashi in Berlin, Eastern Cape, and there were in excess of 30 000 sheep in the first week of February 2020. This number has increased by another 40 000 since 13 February 2020 – totalling 70 000 sheep. It is clear that an imminent shipment is planned.
Afriforum agreed to assist the NSPCA with this High Court case. Advocate Gerrie Nel leading the team, along with advocates Phyllis Vorster and Gustav Weich. The attorneys for the NSPCA case are Matthew Klein and Justin Powers. The NSPCA is indebted to Gerrie Nel and Afriforum for taking this important case on. The NSPCA has a bevy of esteemed experts, including Australian Veterinarian Dr Lynn Simpson who has first-hand experience on these ships, Professor Gareth Bath, Dr Shaun Morris, as well as our own veterinarian, Dr Bryce Marock. The papers will be served to the following respondents:
- Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
- The Director General, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
- The Director, Veterinary – Public Health, Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Eastern Cape
- The Provincial Executive Officer, Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Eastern Cape
- The MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Eastern Cape
- The Chief Veterinary Officer Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
- The Director for Veterinary Public Health and Welfare, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
- The Harbour Master, National Ports Authority
- The Director, National Ports Authority
- Al Mawashi Reg K2018520686
- Dave Muller T/A The Meat Men
- John Page
- Bruce Page
- Glen Page
It has come to light that other exporters wish to export live cattle by sea to the likes of Cambodia. The voyage is even longer than that of the Kuwait exports, it exceeds 21 days.
“This case is not only important for this shipment of sheep, but for all the animals that are destined for this harrowing journey to various countries around the globe – we simply cannot allow the perpetuation and growth of this cruel and brutal trade” explained Senior Inspector Grace De Lange, manager of the NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit.
Afriforum’s CEO Kallie Kriel emphasises that the action is not intended to stop the trade in animals, but rather the way it is done, bringing about cruelty to the animals involved.
In November 2019, the NSPCA laid criminal charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962 against the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), as well as Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Al Mawashi – the owners of the Al Shuwaikh vessel, who have a company in South Africa, the captain of the Al Shuwaikh, the Page Farming Trust, and individuals from the Page Farming Trust following the harrowing days spent at the East London harbour by Inspectors of the NSPCA in October 2019, when approximately 57 000 sheep were loaded for shipment to the Middle East. The matter is with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the investigation is still ongoing.
Conditions on board the Al Shuwaikh in October 2019, included dangerously high ammonia levels on some of the enclosed decks, widespread diarrhoea, with much of it falling into the feed and water troughs, sheep in respiratory distress, together with other serious welfare concerns. On the dock and feedlot, animals were treated in an inhumane manner, and attempts were made to load sick, injured and lame animals onto the vessel. These sentient beings meant nothing to the handlers and exporters.
The costs incurred thus far have been exorbitant and the matter is far from over. The motion will be heard in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, so travelling costs, as well as legal costs are placing huge pressure on the NSPCA’s resources. We appeal to caring citizens to assist the NSPCA with this landmark case. Let us stand together against this abhorrent suffering.