NSPCA achieves temporary halt to livestock exports

The Grahamstown High Court recently approved an urgent interim interdict to temporarily ban livestock exports by sea from South Africa until at least 16 July.

NSPCA achieves temporary halt to livestock exports
Animal welfare organisations continue to express strong opposition to the exporting of livestock from South Africa, which has resulted in the granting of an urgent interim interdict temporarily banning this practice by the Grahamstown High Court.
Photo: FW Archive
- Advertisement -

The Grahamstown High Court recently approved an urgent interim interdict to temporarily ban livestock exports by sea from South Africa until at least 16 July.

The interdict was applied for by the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) and was granted against Kuwaiti company, Al Mawashi, which has been buying live sheep from the Eastern Cape for shipboard exports to the Middle East, and against other entities involved in these exports.

READ ‘Welfare a government priority for live sheep exports’

- Advertisement -

Since late 2019 and to date, two shipments totalling approximately 120 000 live sheep have been exported from the Eastern Cape aboard Al Mawashi’s fleet of specialised livestock transport ships.

The animals were destined for the company’s feedlotting, processing and marketing operations in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

The NSPCA and South Africa’s Livestock Welfare Coordinating Committee have maintained strong opposition to these live sheep exports, citing a litany of alleged welfare abuses of the animals throughout the loading, transporting and offloading processes.

An NSPCA statement said the recent “unexpected arrival” of Al Mawashi’s Al-Messilah livestock transport vessel in East London Harbour, reportedly to load 70 000 sheep, had prompted the interim interdict application.

READ ‘Shipboard livestock exports aim to advance new farmers’

The statement explained that the interim interdict was ahead of the 16 July date scheduled for the Grahamstown High Court to hear the NSPCA’s application for a permanent interdict against Al Mawashi and the exports of live animals by sea from South Africa.

“Al Mawashi […] may not transport any sheep from the [Eastern Cape] feedlot, nor export any sheep from South Africa, pending the outcome of the court hearing on 16 July 2020,” the NSPCA’s statement said.

Gerhard Schutte, CEO of the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO), said that his organisation and the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF) were opposed to a permanent ban being placed on livestock exports by sea from South Africa.

READ Tips for stress-free livestock transporting

“Livestock exports by ship should be permitted subject to certain [animal welfare] requirements being met. At this stage there are international codes of practice in terms of what these requirements must be, and the World Organisation for Animal Health has already written such codes,” he said.

Schutte added that the RMIF had recently requested to become a respondent to the NSPCA’s 16 July interdict application against Al Mawashi and other role players regarding future shipboard livestock exports from South Africa.

He said the RPO and RMIF’s opposition to the NSPCA’s interdict application was motivated by the two organisations’ belief that “it is vital that free market principles and free trade principles be jealously guarded”.

“This will naturally have to be managed with great responsibility within our [red meat industry’s] codes of best practice, and that will also satisfy the requirements for animal welfare,” he said.

Previous articleHow to start a pig farming business
Next articleIdentifying and controlling sweet potato viruses
Lloyd Phillips joined Farmer’s Weekly in January 2003 and is now a Senior Journalist with the publication. He spent most of his childhood on a Zululand sugarcane farm where he learned to speak fluent Zulu. After matriculating in 1993, Lloyd dreamed of working as a nature conservationist. Life’s vagaries, however, had different plans for him and Lloyd ended up sampling various jobs in South African agriculture before becoming a proud member of the Farmer’s Weekly team.