“This is a crisis. The Wool Week is supposed to bring the farm closer to the general public so that people can gain a greater understanding of the wool industry,” said Geoff Kingwill, the chairperson of Cape Wool SA at the National Wool Growers Association’s (NWGA) Western Cape branch AGM in Caledon.
In a letter to Cape Wools SA, signed by the NSPCA’s national senior inspector and manager of the farm animal protection unit, Andries Venter, the NSPCA said it strongly disapproved of the shearing of live sheep at the event and transportation of animals to the event since this would subject the animals to “unnecessary handling, transportation and stress”.
The NSPCA also objected to the sheep being exposed to “loud noises, inquisitive children, and an unfamiliar environment”.
NWGA president Harry Prinsloo told Farmer’s Weekly he was irate at the NSCPA’s stance.
“This was an opportunity to showcase South African wool internationally,” he said. The Wool Week was also “supposed to serve as an important event to educate the public about wool farming.”.
He said that previous events where they showcased the wool industry to the public revealed a great deal of ignorance amongst members of the public about how wool farming works.
“People ask us if the sheep have to be killed or anesthetized to get the wool. This is why we were keen to do a live shearing presentation. So that people can see how skillful South African shearers are and that sheep are not harmed in the process,” said Prinsloo.