This article has been updated to include new allegations from the NSPCA
The NSPCA has announced that it will be laying criminal charges of animal cruelty against handlers at the feedlot in Berlin which is housing the approximately 50,000 sheep expected to be shipped to the Middle-East by Kuwait-based company Al Mawashi.
According to the NSPCA, inspectors tasked with monitoring the loading the sheep witnessed acts of “abhorrent cruelty” which they say are contraventions of both the Animals Protection Acto (No 71 of 1962) and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standards.
“Handlers employed by Al Mawashi and KLTT (Kuwait Livestock Transport & Trading) kicked and dragged the sheep by the ears and punched sheep in the face, in front of our inspectors,” the NSPCA claimed in a recent statement.
“Furthermore, sheep have not been sheared. This at a time of the year when they are travelling into excessive heat.”
The NSPCA hit out at the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development, whom they say have been negligent in their handling of the operation.
In particular, they criticised the decision to allocate two “newly qualified” veterinarians to take charge of such a large operation.
“The Eastern Cape department of rural development and agrarian reform held a celebatory function in East London.
“MEC Nomakhosazana Meth and the department revered this brutal trade,” said the NSPCA.
The NSPCA has alleged that their inspectors were held against their will at the Al Mawashi Feedlot at Castledale Farm, Berlin, on August 24 2020
According to their most recent statement, the inspectors were held captive by more than 35 staff employed by Al Mawashi and KLTT.
The organistion cliams that the staff demanded that national inspector Navesh Jay Singh tell them wihen the Al Messilah, the ship which will be transporting the live sheep to Kuwait, will be allowed to leave.
When Singh was unable to answer, the staff then allegedly surrounded the inspectors and threatened that they would not be allowed to leave until an answer was given.
“One of the supervisors gave me an ultimatum to contact my manager, and have all criminal charges dropped against Al Mawashi staff as well as having the High Court interdict set aside, and to allow them to load the sheep and then we would be released,” stated Singh.
“Members of management appeared to be inciting the staff members by stating that the NSPCA was falsely accusing them of abusing animals and breaking sheep legs for fun,” added Inspector Singh.
He said that the NSPCA has laid criminal charges at the Berlin SAPS against at least five members of Al Mawashi management and at least 30 staff members from the feedlot.