The recognition and need for wildlife welfare has finally been accepted and is set for imminent inclusion in the management and conservation of South Africa’s biodiversity as per the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA).

The NSPCA has been instrumental in bringing about change within the animal welfare regime in South Africa. The NSPCA has collaborated and made key recommendations to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) which have been accepted.

Whilst the set amendments to NEMBA have been assented to by the President and published in the Gazette on 24 June 2022 as per the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Act, 2022, the amendments will come into operation on a date proclaimed by the President of the Republic of South Africa.

Key amendments include:

  • NEMBA will include a comprehensive definition for well-being to mean the holistic circumstances and conditions of an animal, which are conducive to its physical, physiological, and mental health and quality of life, including the ability to cope with its environment.
  • Well-being to be included as part of the objectives of NEMBA, i.e., the consideration of the well-being of animals in the management, conservation, and sustainable use thereof.
  • The Minister of DFFE may make provision for the prohibition of any activity that may negatively impact on the well-being of an animal.
  • It makes provision for non-compliance with any published notice in terms of prohibitions as a punishable offence.
  • The Minister of DFFE may issue norms and standards for the achievement of any of the objectives of NEMBA.
  • The Minister of DFFE may make regulations relating to the well-being of an animal.
  • Well-being will be inclusive of both indigenous and non-indigenous sentient wild animals of South Africa.

The NSPCA welcomes the long-overdue recognition of wildlife welfare to improve human-nature based relationships. Animal welfare not only includes the more well-known categories of domesticated, captive or farming animals, but needs to be incorporated into human-induced activities that do not promote positive wildlife welfare, negatively impacts on the environment and the lives of animals that are dependent on it for their survival. The NSPCA is supportive of DFFE towards this positive step for increased protection of South Africa’s biodiversity.

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