This year, one of the goals of the NSPCAs Farm Animal Protection Unit (FAPU) is to stop the inhumane practise of ear notching on piglets in South Africa. The Unit has already been off to a great start in achieving this goal by gaining cooperation from colleges under the Department of Agriculture in Limpopo who have all agreed to stop ear notching their piglets.

Ear notching is a cruel and inhumane method of identification used on pigs. Pieces of the ear are cut off the ears of piglets, who are just days old, without any anaesthetic, causing the piglets to scream and wail as they are maimed. The NSPCA firmly believes that ear notching is a contravention of the Animals Protection Act no 71 of 1962 which cannot be condoned for any reason. Over and above this, ear notching is certainly an unnecessary practise when there are other humane alternatives to use as a means of identification for farm animals.

Further to this, ear notching is a method that is not recognised by the Animal Identification Act, 6 of 2002.

In February 2022, Inspectors from the NSPCAs FAPU conducted an inspection at a college that falls under the Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (LDARD). Our Inspector found that the college was ear notching their piglets, as well as using tags and tattooing (other forms of identification). The NSPCA immediately took action and the College has agreed to stop ear notching altogether. The NSPCA has also undertaken to provide training across the colleges to ensure staff handle and treat the animals humanely.

The NSPCA commends the colleges and farms across the province of Limpopo who have heeded our advice and changed their methods of identification.

We are confident that our win in the Limpopo province is the first of many, and we will not hesitate to take the relevant action against those chance takers who continue to maim piglets. We have every intention of seeing this goal through for the benefit of all animals. ” – Inspector Kevin Khumalo, NSPCA.

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