On 6 August, the National Council SPCA will be heading back to the Grahamstown High Court to support the prohibition of exporting live sheep by sea.
Previously, the high court urgently heard the matter on 9 June, subsequently granting the NSPCA an interim interim interdict stopping plans of shipment of sheep by Kuwait company Al Mawashi.
“It is surprising that the RPO have suddenly gone against the decision made by them, and other members of the Livestock Welfare Coordinating Committee (LWCC)” said the NSPCA in a terse letter.
Under RPO, the NSPCA remained confident that livestock farmers would understand their posture. However, a majority of African sheep farmers we spoke too were affected by the High Court decision.
“The animals were quarantined in one place, inspected thoroughly by government officials. All of a sudden, we were informed NSPCA is involved, our payments would be delayed, like, what is the SPCA doing in the livestock business?” said a prominent livestock farmer from Idutywa, Eastern Cape.
RPO’s about turn was enthusiastically swayed by a government inspection report which inspected previous two shipments of Al Mawashi.
“Government officials tasked with insuring compliance have indicated in these reports that the OIE standards have been complied with. Furthermore, two veterinary experts, on behalf of the RMIF, inspected the ship and feedlot” said the RPO.
NSPCA claimed that the Al Mawashi vessels were, as a standard, not cleaned for the entire journey ‘so the sheep are forced to live in their own excrement, with inadequate ventilation.’
There was no evidence supporting NSPCA claims, neither an effort to independently evaluate the Al Mawashi vessel.
Al Mawashi recently acquired a new vessel called “Al Kuwait” and said all its ships were designed according to a modern technical system “to create a healthy and safe atmosphere for live cattle in compliance with the international standards of care and subsistence.”
According to the company, it dealt with animals according to the teachings and values of its Muslim and Arab society.
The RPO, flanked by Agri SA said two veterinary experts embarked on the vessel to inspect it on behalf of the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF).
“In their opinion, both the ship and feedlot were compliant. It is their opinion that the sheep should be loaded as soon as possible” read the statement jointly.
Government as an authoritative body, conducted inspection according to OIE standards and cleared the vessel as safe for export of sheep.
“In our reading as black farmers, Al Mawashi was relying less on Australia and looking to the South African market for sheep. The involvement and sudden interest of NSPCA in this instance is suspect, and it is something we are following up as peoples income are at stake” said the farmer from Idutywa.