Despite continuing to face legal actions aimed at achieving a permanent halt of shipboard livestock exports from South Africa, Kuwaiti company, Al Mawashi, has indicated that it is already planning another such shipment in the first quarter of 2021.
This will be the fourth such shipment the company has undertaken since late 2019.
Al Mawashi South Africa’s spokesperson, JP Roodt, told Farmer’s Weekly that no exact date, or animal species and numbers had yet been confirmed for this planned shipment.
To date, Al Mawashi had exported a total of about 170 000 live animals by ship from South Africa, with the vast majority of these sheep for slaughter and consumption in Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries.
“The exporting of domesticated ruminants, including cattle and sheep, from South Africa to the Middle East, is a strategic long-term project [by Al Mawashi] for Middle Eastern food security and [for] South Africa/Middle East trade relations. Significant investments have been made to establish the industry in South Africa. Abandoning live exports is not an option for Al Mawashi South Africa,” Roodt said.
Al Mawashi’s exports have been met with strong legal and other opposition from South Africa’s National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) and its supporters.
The NSPCA launched various legal attempts to have Al Mawashi’s exports stopped, and continued to attempt to achieve a permanent ban on any future livestock exports by sea from South Africa.
The NSPCA had cited numerous allegations of animal health and welfare abuses associated with such exports to date, while Al Mawashi repeatedly disputed and defended the company against these.
Grace de Lange, manager of the NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit, said that in addition to seeking the permanent ban, the organisation was in the process of approaching the Supreme Court of Appeal to have an August 2020 ruling by the Grahamstown High Court overturned.
In this ruling, Acting Judge AJ Dukada authorised the third export shipment and also made the NSPCA liable for Al Mawashi’s legal fees for contesting the matter.
Roodt said: “There is a long-term vision to undertake four to six shipments per year from South Africa and [to] have a well-established industry contributing to our economy. [It is] also to give the emerging [livestock] farmers the opportunity to be part of this industry”.