Please help us stop live animal exports from South Africa to the Middle East
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NCSPCA spokesperson Meg Wilson said this yesterday as she and colleagues inspected the Kuwaiti vessel Al Shuwaikh, waiting in East London’s docks to ship sheep to Kuwait.
“We are busy inspecting conditions on the ship now and we are doing a report for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries based on our inspection of the ship,” said Wilson.
Al Mawashi, a Kuwaiti importer, registered a company in South Africa and is using a local exporter, the Page Farming Trust, to facilitate the acquisition of some 60 000 sheep loaded on the vessel, the NCSPCA said.
Their intention was to export 600 000 animals - sheep, goats and cattle - a year, the NCSPCA said.
The route and climatic conditions of the voyage from South Africa to the Middle East involved crossing the Arabian Sea and entering the Strait of Hormuz. These areas were high-risk areas for heat stress during the period May to October, the NCSPCA said.
Rescue Rehab South Africa representative Dave Thorpe said the response to the petition was a clear rejection of the long-distance trade in live animals.
“As far as we know there are something like 60 000 sheep going on one ship. We should have a responsibility to see that they don’t suffer unnecessarily,” he added.
Thorpe said that no matter how much a ship might meet legislative requirements, and no matter how ideal the conditions on board, in heavy seas ships roll and plunge - and with the animals packed fairly tightly together, it was going to be very hot for them.
He asked whether injured animals were going to be chucked overboard, or be slaughtered properly before being thrown over; how they would be off-loaded, transported and slaughtered; and which animal organisation would monitor them.