Export deal with Kuwait could be worth R1bn, but animal activists say livestock suffer during trip
Despite protests from animal rights organisations, the second export of 63,000 live sheep from East London to Kuwait is due to take place soon.
MEC Nomakhosazana Meth visited the feed lot outside Berlin on Monday ahead of the arrival of the Al Messiah live stock carrier, which docked on Wednesday.
“The participation of both the established commercial farmers and developing farmers works well with the inclusive economic development agenda of the province.
“The red meat industry value chain remains a priority and we see opportunities in the feed production, livestock transport, market responsive animal production and breeding programmes,” Meth said.
The Daily Dispatch reported (“Eastern Cape sheep export deal could hit R1bn in 2021”, March 6) that the agreement between Kuwait government owned importer Al Mawashi (AM) is expected to provide a much-needed economic boost to the province.
“An export agreement with Kuwait government-owned importer Al Mawashi has changed farming fortunes,” said Thabo Shenxane, head of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation’s (ECDC) trade, investment and innovation division.
Shenxane said the initial deal was valued at approximately R120m, but the value has since increased.
Al Mawashi SA managing director Ilyaas Ally claimed that there were certain narratives that “do not fully understand or appreciate the potential of the live export industry as a catalytic driver for socio-economic development and a more inclusive agricultural economy”.
“AM not only adheres to but exceeds all the standards and regulations for animal welfare and protection established by the World Organisation for Animal Health.
“The export of animals across the ocean on livestock carriers is in no way unlawful or illegal. The shipping of livestock is done in a very, very humane way,” Ally said.
He said they believed they could contribute positively to the provincial and national economy.
“We are aiming to build a business that will turn-over R1.5bn per annum,” Ally said.
However, Ban Animal Trading (BAT), an non-profit organisation against animal exploitation and abuse, said it was difficult to get onto the ship to see that the animals were indeed being correctly handled.
“We would like to see proof of this ‘humane way’. Why won’t they allow anyone on the ship to see for themselves? There’s no proof to their claim,” BAT spokesperson Smaragda Louw said.
She added that it seemed to be cheaper to ship live animals than to export them slaughtered.
NSPCA executive director Marcelle Meredith said: “The NSPCA has obtained warrants for the feedlot and the harbour and ship and is sending a team to East London to monitor the loading and intervene when the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962 is contravened. “
“Our current warrant remains valid so if the ship arrives and they start loading, we will have access to the harbour and the ship to monitor the loading process.
“We are flabbergasted that Al Mawashi would send a ship with a similarly bad reputation to the Al Shuwaikh, essentially another rust bucket, to South Africa after the 2019 export outrage,” Meredith said.
The NSPCA lists that negative conditions for sheep aboard the ship include lack of appetite which leads to exhaustion, salmonellosis and motion sickness.