Outrage over livestock, a ‘propaganda’
Al Mawashi Pty and Ifula Livestock, the two companies involved in the trade deal of some 60 000 sheep between the Eastern Cape and the Middle East claim that the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) is involved in some propaganda with Australian farmers to halt the deal.
“Our vessel, Al Shuwaikh has been operating for 47 years and we are certified to carry livestock without any incidents of animal cruelty. This a war between South African farmers in Australia who left South Africa because they were given incentives by the Australian government,” claims Sivile Mabandla, spokesperson for the two companies.
At least 600 000 sheep are expected to be transported to the Middle East per year. The Eastern Cape currently has majority of cattle, sheep, and goat more than any province in the country. This majority of animals has not been benefiting the province and its people economically.
The provincial department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform spokesperson Ayongezwa Lungisa said, “The availability of international markets to consume the livestock we have in the province will really benefit the province and its people economically. Though we appreciate the acceptance of the provincial livestock by the international markets, we however are interested in the value chain that is derived from livestock. We are specifically interested in the wool and the hides to be processed in the province,” said Lungisa.
Last week the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) lamented the exporting of livestock from the East London harbor to the Middle East, claiming it will lead to deaths and live cooking of the 60 000 live sheep.
In a statement, Senior Inspector Grace De Lange, Manager of the NSPCAs Farm Animal Protection Unit said that evidence has shown that during voyages at this time of the year, the combined heat and humidity can reach catastrophic levels causing heat stroke, resulting in sheep cooking alive.
The police, the NSPCA and the media were invited to an inspection on Sunday morning to see how the vessel operated and where the sheep is stored in Berlin. Following this, the NSPCA promised to get back to the company and give their feedback after the inspection.
“We are still opposing the shipping of live animals. We have been assigned by the department of Agriculture to compile a report that details what exactly goes on during this trade,” said NSPCA spokesperson Meg Wilson.
Meanwhile, Mabandla rejected that this practice involves them in any way. “The sheep has not yet been loaded and already the NSPCA is predicting what will happen to them. Now they want to visit the farms where we source the sheep. We don’t see how that relates to their original complaint of the conditions the sheep are transported in, in the vessel,” said Mabandla.
On Friday, 20 September 2019, the vessel was inspected by a team of experts from the national and provincial offices of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). A report is yet to be finalised and circulated.
“Our company has a proven track record as one of the best global livestock export facilitators – having moved livestock by sea for decades without being charged for any animal welfare incidents,” said Mabandla.
So far 65 000 people have signed the NSPCA petition to end live export of animals.