A civil society organisation, Stop Live Export SA (SLESA) organised a protest against live animal export on Tuesday 2 April 2024 in Cape Town’s Foreshore district to highlight the arrival of the bulk animal carrier ship, Al Messilah’s (owned by the middle eastern export company Al Mawashi) arrival in East London. The ship started loading the 60 000 sheep, 1 500 cattle, and 200 goats destined for slaughter in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia yesterday and is expected to depart this weekend.


Once on-board live export vessels, tens of thousands of sentient animals are packed together in pens for up to three or four weeks, often in unbearable heat, which can cause extreme heat stress. The animals are also exposed to the perpetual noise of the ships motors and have historically been forced to stand in their own excrement, breathing in ammonia which leads to respiratory problems and sometimes blindness.


The protest was supported by approximately 50 people, some representing Beauty Without Cruelty, who gathered at the busy Christiaan Barnard St & Hertzog Boulevard intersection holding placards and posters calling for the banning of live export and asking motorists to hoot in support.

SLESA aims to drive local awareness of the horrors of live animal export and effect a groundswell of public and consumer support in their call for a ban on live animal export.

Says SLESA, “ We call on the National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development (DALRRD) to fulfil its mandate in protecting animal welfare and ban the live export of our animals. These animals endure some of the worst abuses worldwide. We are concerned that crew members are unable to provide sufficient welfare oversight for this many animals as the live export process is problematic in itself.”

Historically, NSPCA inspectors have confirmed many cases of animal abuse during loading for previous voyages, which included the inspections on the Kuwaiti “Death Ship” carrying 19 000 cattle from Brazil after it docked in Cape Town in February enroute to the Middle East from Brazil. Numerous animals inspected by NSPCA Veterinarians had to be euthanised due to injuries sustained aboard the ship, which included, having spent two and a half weeks on board with a build-up of faeces and ammonia.

On Monday this week, charges of cruelty and three warnings were issued by the NSPCA against the Eastern Cape feedlot manager Bruce Page and Al Mawashi for various Animal Welfare Act infringements, many of which also violated DALRRD’s requirements listed in the “Guidelines for the Exportation of Live Animals by Sea” as pertaining to shearing of sheep 10 days prior to export and the lack of screening to detect pregnant ewes as part of the consignment. As a result, many animals have been declared unfit for the torturous 21-day journey.

“These animals are trucked from all over South Africa to meet these export demands, many of them unfit for travel, and while DALRRD is pushing the economic benefits to Eastern Cape farmers we don’t believe that a pain-for-profit system is just or sustainable,” says SLESA.

Al Mawashi shipped out 56,002 animals from the Eastern Cape in 2019, 108,923 in 2020, and 57,838 in 2021. It is not known how many animals survived any of those journeys because Al Mawashi is custodian of that information.

SLESA concludes, “The conditions experienced by animals during long-distance sea voyages violate many provisions of South Africa’s Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962. Thanks to the ongoing High Court actions being led by the NSPCA and Humane Society International Africa (HSI) respectively in defence of the law, such cruelty is being challenged at the highest level, and will hopefully not be allowed to continue in the name of economic development. We believe that the live export trade also represents a food security risk as it may serve to deplete and disrupt the local market and supply chain, while flouting the World Health Organisation’s One Health approach and disregarding fundamental animal welfare laws. Ahead of the General Election in May we hope to encourage political parties to add this issue to the election agenda, and for consumers to put pressure on food retailers in the interests of developing South Africa’s agricultural economy sustainably and fostering economic growth and food security without allowing systemic cruelty to animals.”


SLESA is planning more protests later this month as a second livestock export vessel, the Murray Express docked in East London this morning and is expected to load an undisclosed number of livestock destined for Mauritius. This vessel will be followed by the bulk animal carrier, the Gelbray Express, which is enroute from Indonesia and is scheduled to dock in East London on Monday, 15th April.


To support the stop live export movement and participate in future anti-export protests, members of the public are invited to follow the STOP LIVE EXPORT SA Facebook page

(https://www.facebook.com/StopLiveExportSA/ ) and Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/stoplxsa); and/or email the National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development (DALRRD) to pass regulations to prohibit the live export of all animals by sea. Address the email to: Minister Angela Thokozile Didza at PA.Minister@daff.gov.za.

Source Social Tv: https://social-tv.co.za/69952-2/

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