The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) is still amazed at the lack of professional decorum displayed by Al Mawashi’s public relations company, Meropa Communications, in which the NSPCA is constantly attacked online for its anti-live export standpoint, said Marcelle Meredith, CEO of the NSPCA. We have received one apology from Patrick Gearing sent via email to the NSPCA on 19th June 2020, for the atrocious behavior of JP Roodt, its account manager for Al Mawashi, yet the lack of decorum continues.

The Eastern Cape has historically been referred to as South Africa’s poorest Province and understandably, agriculture is regarded as the backbone of not just this province but the country collectively. The NSPCA appreciates Al Mawashi’s attempts at reviving the Eastern Cape economy but surely not at the expense of hundreds of thousands of sheep which continue being exported under deplorable conditions. Over the past few decades in Australia, where Al Mawashi has been operating from, the number of sheep shipped live has decreased from 6 million per annum in the 1980s to 1.2 million in 2019, with an ever increasing packaged meat market creating jobs, to which the meatworkers unions are thrilled about. South Africa has been exporting chilled meat since about 2007 to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, including Kuwait.

Amongst other organisations, the Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT) has echoed the view that animals should be slaughtered in South Africa and chilled carcasses exported. The largest veterinary bodies around the world (including the South African Veterinary Association) equally oppose the live export of animals in its totality.

The NSPCA believe that Al Mawashi who is already exporting approximately 5000 sheep carcasses to the Middle East weekly, can remarkably transform the economic landscape of the Eastern Cape and across South Africa. A larger abattoir could be constructed in the Eastern Cape to meet and exceed the Middle East’s meat demands. A larger abattoir or abattoirs could create more employment in the building and construction industry. All links within the production chain from rearing, to feedlotting, to transportation for slaughter, to tanneries to final export of product would be quantified and sewn together resulting in a huge economic boost for the province and the country, subsequently reducing the impact of animals being cruelly transported by sea for slaughter, and Al Mawashi has this opportunity to make a resounding effect, said Meredith.

In its current form, the live export of sheep only benefits a choice few, mainly commercial farmers.

The following information was obtained from the Eastern Cape Legislature and High Court Papers.

EXPORT No. of sheep for export for the three shipments. No. of sheep from Emerging Farmers. No. of historically disadvantaged indiviudals who benefitted from the exports.
October 2019 4410 11
March 2020 11 606 39
Aug/Sept 2021 11 288 No reported figures.
Total 186 310 27 304 50

Who then is benefiting from the live export of sheep, as Al Mawashi has always maintained that they intend to improve the lives of emerging farmers in the Eastern Cape? Based on the above figures provided by the Eastern Cape Legislature, this is not the case. Furthermore the most vulnerable in South Africa rely on something called the “fifth quarter”, for their protein source. These organs are not what is put into the formal commercial chain. Besides the non-commercialised well known term of “offal”, communities rely on sheep heads. These affordable products are sent off to ensure the food security of foreign countries. What about South Africa`s food security?

As can be deduced, the NSPCA is not opposed to farming or the slaughtering of animals close to the point of rearing.

As South Africa’s foremost animal welfare body, the NSPCA will never concede to live animal exports.

We value the continued support of the public in assisting us to advocate for an end to the supply of live animals for export by sea, north of the equator, ended Marcelle Meredith.

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