The NSPCA hereby confirms that we have withdrawn our support of the use of shooting primates with paintball guns as a means of deterring the animals from entering urban areas.

For many years, paintball guns have been used as a deterrent, however, times have changed and technology has evolved. Just because a practice was conducted years ago does not mean it should be continued today, especially when there may be alternative methods that can be used to achieve the same outcome. There are also no comparable deterrent practices against which anyone can measure the effectiveness of paintball marking.

We take note that of the “extreme disappointment” expressed by the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, for “not consulting the City of Cape Town” prior to the decision to withdraw support. We have taken note of the legal threats which the City of Cape Town have made against the NSPCA, and in following our mandate, the NSPCA will defend their decision should the need to do so arise.

The City of Cape Town makes use of a service provider who is currently utilizing paintball guns as aversion tools among other more humane efforts. If the welfare of animals is prioritised by the City, as it should be, the terms of the contract, and the means to which deterrent methods are employed and overseen, should be a priority to move forward as a matter of urgency. The NSPCA in conjunction with the Cape of Good Hope SPCA have tasked the City of Cape Town with setting up a panel to include interested members of the public, animal rights groups, animal welfare groups as well as Cape Nature and the City of Cape Town to discuss a way forward with managing baboons in the Cape Peninsula. We expect that with the parties involved, that humane and effective deterrents may arise and a program suitable to implement in all afflicted areas may be initiated.

The mandate of the SPCA movement is clear, we prevent and stop cruelty to and the suffering of animals in our country. We are of the view that the practice of shooting primates with a paintball gun is not only an outdated practice but also one that may cause unnecessary suffering to the victims that the guns are aimed at.

We are well aware that there are residents of the City who are not particularly fond of primates entering their properties, however, this cannot justify cruelty inflicted on the animals by the City or its residents.

All animals should be treated with kindness and consideration, regardless of their conservation status. In this regard, the NSPCA supports the Cape of Good Hope SPCA with their actions to ensure animal welfare is a priority, particularly in respect of the current baboon management protocols.

We advise that any cruelty complaints regarding the use of paintball guns used in the Cape Peninsula be reported to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

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