Sheep. File Photo
Sheep. File Photo
The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) is heading to court in its bid to try and prevent the export of 70 000 sheep via ship to Kuwait.
The animal welfare society has been fighting plans to transport the sheep on what they deem a horror journey to the Middle East since September 2019. However none of their attempts have managed to put a stop to the export.
They have now sought to obtain an interdict from the Grahamstown High Court that will prevent the ship, owned by Kuwaiti importer Al Mawashi, from leaving with any sheep in harm’s way.
Al Mawashi owns a shell company in South Africa and are on of the largest exporters of livestock to the Middle East in the southern hemisphere.
The group protested when a similar shipment of 60 000 sheep were transported to Kuwait in October 2019.
“Since the shipment in October 2019, the NSPCA has attempted to gain information from both the exporters and the government of when the next shipment is scheduled, but to no avail,” it said.
“The NSPCA was recently been made aware that the sheep are mounting in the feedlot owned by the Page Farming Trust and leased by Al Mawashi in Berlin, Eastern Cape, and that there were in excess of 30 000 sheep in the first week of February. This number has increased by another 40 000 since February 13 — totalling 70,000 sheep. It is clear that an imminent shipment is planned.”
The voyage, which takes around three weeks, would allegedly see the sheep housed in “brutal conditions”, where they are exposed to soaring temperatures while being confined in close quarters. Diarrhoea and other diseases are also alleged to be prevalent.
“This case is not only important for this shipment of sheep, but for all the animals that are destined for this harrowing journey to various countries around the globe. We simply cannot allow the perpetuation and growth of this cruel and brutal trade,” said NSPCA spokesperson Grace de Lange.
AL Mawashi has denied the allegation, saying it operated according to accepted international standards.
Al Mawashi spokesperson Hussam Sarhan said that the NSPCA were misguided in their theory about the manner in which the sheep are transported by the company.
“NSPCA are talking generally about incidents that didn’t happen with us. We’ve been operating for 47 years and have never been charged with animal cruelty,” he said.
“We care about the animals and that’s why our facilities are the best. We welcome any party to visit any of our facilities in the world to see it for themselves.”
The NSPCA aren’t buying it though, and will exhaust considerable resources taking the matter through the courts.
“The costs incurred thus far have been exorbitant and the matter is far from over. travelling costs, as well as legal costs, are placing huge pressure on the NSPCA’s resources,” added the council.