During an inspection in 2016 at Malati Dairy and Fruit Juices, which is a dairy farm in Gravelotte, Limpopo, the NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit discovered that replacement heifer calves were being chained with metal chains inside raised single calf crates for up to eight weeks.

The calves on this farm are removed from their dams’ shortly after birth and chained inside these crates until approximately eight weeks of age. The raised crates are constructed out of metal and the floor is steel mesh. The calves are not provided with bedding of any sort which would minimise direct contact the hard cold steel surface. These calves are denied freedom from discomfort, to express normal behaviour and freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Warrants were obtained after warnings and recommendations fell on deaf ears.  The owner, and his veterinarian from Phalaborwa Dierekliniek subsequently refused to remove the chains of the already confined calves.

A case of animal cruelty in terms of the Animals Protection Act, no. 71 of 1962 was registered in September 2016 at the Gravelotte SAPS.

Much to our dismay and frustration we were informed that the Public Prosecutor from the Namakgale Magistrates Court has declined to prosecute the case.

In a letter from the owners legal representative the following was stated:

“We confirm that the chaining of the calves is necessary to prevent the calves from soiling their food and water and our client will continue this practice. Should you continue with your attempts to harass our client in this matter, we have instruction to approach the High Court for an interdict against yourselves and will be responsible for the costs thereof”.

We have provided comprehensive evidence in the docket proving that the unnecessary chaining of calves which are already in confinement is not only cruel but also a contravention in terms of the Animals Protection Act (71 of 1962). We have subsequently written to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Shaun Abrahams, to review this case and in the interest of Justice we remain confident that the case will be placed on the Court Roll, thereby, allowing us the opportunity to advocate on behalf of the voiceless.

The Milk Producers Organisation (MPO) and Livestock Welfare Coordinating Committee (LWCC) have both stated that the long term chaining or tethering of calves should not be allowed

We trust that you, the consumer, will make ethical choices when purchasing food and products obtained from animals.

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