The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) was alerted to a shipment of approximately 5300 crabs that had been left in the sun at a cargo facility at O R Tambo International Airport, and were either dead or dying, and infested with maggots.

The crabs had arrived on 11 August 2019 from Mozambique and were destined for Hong Kong but due to the unrest there, the flight had been cancelled and the crabs were forgotten about. The NSPCA was alerted only on 20 August 2019, which means these crabs had been overlooked and left in the sun for nine days without even the provision of food and water.

The company that sent the crabs had not adhered to International Air Transport Association (IATA) Regulations and had packaged and restrained them in an inhumane manner, the cargo facility had then left these creatures in the sun – also disregarding the IATA Regulations.

“It is disheartening that these living creatures would be treated so horrifically and that the attitude towards crabs is that of ‘perishable cargo’ as opposed to live animals” said Arno De Klerk, manager of the NSPCA’s Special Projects Unit.

More than half of the crabs were still alive and had to be euthanized due to the shocking condition that they were in.

The NSPCA’s investigation is ongoing and they will not hesitate to lay charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962.

The NSPCA believes that all animals matter and should be treated with compassion.


We prevent cruelty, promote kindness and alleviate the suffering of animals.

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6 Clark Road, Florentia, Alberton Johannesburg, South Africa
Phone: 011 907 3590


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