LIVE EXPORT BY SEA – THE BATTLE CONTINUES

Since 2019 the National Council of SPCAs has been fighting for the countless animals that were subjected to the egregious and inherently cruel trade of exporting live animals by sea to the Middle East. Al Mawashi, a subsidiary of a live export company by the name of Kuwait Livestock and Transport (KLTT) together with the permission of the South African Government export live animals across the equator to the Middle East. Our many attempts to send Al Mawashi’s vessels, Al-Shuwaikh and Al-Messilah, back to the Middle East empty have proven to fall on deaf ears- the most recent being that of Acting Judge Dukada who ruled in favour of Al Mawashi and LTTC.

The NSPCA’s Part A interdict was set aside on 25 August 2020, where Acting Judge Dukada ruled in favour of Al Mawashi and LTTC. This resulted in Al Mawashi’s vessel, The Al-Messilah leaving South Africa in September 2020 with some 51000 sheep and 650 cattle. In October 2020, the NSPCA was extremely disappointed after Acting Judge Dukada handed down his judgement wherein his reasoning for the judgement appeared to support the balance of convenience in terms of the financial loss that Al Mawashi had versus what the NSPCA believes is several animal welfare contraventions of the Animals Protection Act no 71 of 1962.

Furthermore, in his judgement, Acting Judge Dukada stated that the NSPCA had ignored the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, published by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) –Specifically chapter 7.2 of the OIE Standards Transport of Animals by Sea. These guidelines are not even recognized as international law by the very body who developed them. Rather these guidelines are in place as bare, minimum “recommendations” for countries which do not have adequate legislation for the protection of animals. The Acting Judge further stated that Al Mawashi and LTTC would be expected to adhere to this ‘law’ during the loading and transportation of the animals aboard their vessel. This, however, was not the case as these basic guidelines were still observed to be disregarded by members of Al Mawashi and LTTC. It is interesting to note that the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF) who opposed the NSPCAs application has now launched a contempt of court application against the South African Government for not following the Acting Judge Dukada’s directives.

The NSPCA continued the battle in the Grahamstown High Court throughout October and November 2020. One of which was the NSPCA’s application for leave to appeal following Dukada’s judgement. The application was heard on the 06th November 2020.

On 17 November, Acting Judge Dukuda declined the NSPCAs application for leave to appeal. This leaves the NSPCA no choice but to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

“The NSPCA cannot surrender now. We must go on. We will be failing every animal on those ships, and the thousands more that may be under threat of being boarded in the future if we do not continue.” Said Marcelle Meredith, Executive Director of the NSPCA.

“The battle is far from over and we hope to continue to stand steadfast in protecting these sentient beings from unnecessary suffering. We urgently call on the public to recognize the power of their financial support. If we are to continue embarking on the battle to end this trade forever, we need the public to assist in their numbers.” Said Meredith.