Members of Ban Animal Trading (BAT) camped outside Beacon Bay Retail Park on Tuesday in protest against the docking of the Al Shuwaikh freighter ship, which will export 60,000 live sheep to Kuwait.
“We want to put a stop to it because of the atrocities that happen on board,” BAT representative Elizabeth Kahn said.
She said the that conditions on the ship were unsuitable for the safe transportation of the animals.
“They [the sheep] are stacked on top of each other, they’re tiered.
“When they defecate, it often falls down and some end up drowning in their waste,” Kahn said.
Another problem was the heat within the cargo hold and lack of proper ventilation, which posed a serious health risk to the animals.
Australia recently issued a moratorium on all live sheep exports to the Middle East during the summer season due to concerns over the animals’ welfare under such stressful conditions.
“It would be better if the sheep were slaughtered here rather than them going through the trauma of being on a ship in the extreme heat for three weeks,” Kahn said.
On Monday, the NSPCA issued a statement on their Facebook page citing major concerns with the conditions on the Al Shuwaikh, saying they found multiple violations of the Animals Protection Act of 1962 and World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) minimum standards.
The statement says the NSPCA was also initially denied access to the feedlot where the sheep were being kept prior to loading, despite having a warrant.
“After finally gaining entry with the intervention of the SAPS, the inspectors had to euthanase a sheep due to it reportedly having a fractured leg.
“There were other animals that were limping and that had eye infections. This is an indication of the way animals will be left to suffer on board this vessel,” the statement said.
The NSPCA is considering laying charges of obstruction against the owners of the feedlot.
“The NSPCA believes that live export by sea for the purposes of slaughter is completely unacceptable and unnecessary and that the use of the Al Shuwaikh will result in serious contraventions of the Animals Protection Act.
“If the government allows this shipment to go, they would do so in full knowledge that animals will suffer unnecessarily. The responsibility therefore lies with the government to prevent this cruelty from occurring by upholding the law of South Africa,” the NSPCA said.