The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) welcomes the guilty verdict of a livestock driver that allowed a calf to be trampled while loaded in his vehicle with adult bovines.

In October 2016, Inspector Navesh Singh from the NSPCA Farm Animal Protection Unit encountered a livestock truck parked on the side of the N6 in Stutterheim, Eastern Cape. Upon further investigation, he discovered a very young bull calf confined together with a fractious cow in the same compartment. The calf was unable to move and clearly in distress.

The driver, Mr. Jacobus van Staden indicated that the calf was en-route to be slaughtered at the East London Abattoir. He confirmed offloading six other calves half an hour prior but he failed to provide assistance to the trampled calf and proceeded to travel with the visibly compromised animal.

Inspector Singh insisted that the animal could not be transported to East London and escorted the truck to the Stutterheim SPCA where it took in excess of 20 minutes to safely remove the adult bovine in order to have the calf attended to by a veterinarian. The young bull calf was covered in excrement and had begun to display breathing complications. Due to extensive injuries, the animal was humanely euthanized to prevent further suffering.

The post mortem indicated severe bruising consistent with being trampled by the much larger adult animal. A case in terms of the Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 1962 was registered and four years later the matter was eventually heard in the Stutterheim Magistrates Court where Mr. Van Staden was found guilty of contravening the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962.

Mr Jacobus van Staden was sentenced to a fine of R2400 or six months imprisonment, suspended for five years provided he does not contravene the above mentioned Act during this period.

Upon conviction, the magistrate stated that the offence was rather serious and that the driver was the owner of the animal as defined by the Act, and should have taken the necessary precautions to prevent any harm coming to the animals under his control. The magistrate further stated that the evidence presented by Inspector Singh was abundantly clear that the animal suffered.

Inspector Singh relentlessly pursued this case and at one stage the previous prosecutor declined to prosecute, however, determination to seek justice for the young calf reigned and the matter was reinstated by the current Prosecutor, Mr. Sayita who was outstanding in presenting this case to Court.

The NSPCA reiterates that all animals matter and we will never stop being the voice for animals in South Africa.

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