NSPCA inspectors witness 'abhorrent cruelty' during loading of sheep on ship
The NSPCA will be laying criminal charges of animal cruelty against the handlers involved in the ship loading process.
Last week, the NSPCA lost its court bid to stop Kuwaiti live exporters from shipping tens of thousands of sheep out of the country.
The Grahamstown High Court in the Eastern Cape gave the go-ahead to Kuwaiti firm Al Mawashi to leave East London's port with no more than 56,000 sheep.
The court ordered the Department of Agriculture to oversee the loading of the sheep onto the Al Messilah vessel.
However, the NSPCA says it's concerned that the department sent two entry-level veterinarians to monitor the welfare of the animals.
NSPCA spokesperson Meg Wilson says the sheep were dragged, punched, and kicked. Many of the animals were also unsheared, despite traveling into excessive heat.
Although the NSPCA plans to appeal the High Court ruling, Wilson says the ship will most likely leave the East London harbour before the appeal application is heard.
The loading started on the morning of Sunday 31 August and abhorrent cruelty was witnessed by our inspectors.Meg Wilson, NSPCA spokesperson
On top of that, these animals were not adapted to the food that they are receiving on the ship now... In addition, they have not been sheared.Meg Wilson, NSPCA spokesperson
Handlers employed by Al Mawashi and KLTT kicked and dragged the sheep by the ears, and punched the sheep in the face in front of our inspectors. This happened at both the feedlot and the harbour.Meg Wilson, NSPCA spokesperson
Although the NSPCA was not mandated by the court order [to observe the loading process], we have issued a number of warnings and we've laid charges against the perpetrators.Meg Wilson, NSPCA spokesperson
Obviously this is going to be part of our appeal to the High Court case that we lost two weeks ago... Even though they were ordered with these restrictions and conditions, they did not adhere to them.Meg Wilson, NSPCA spokesperson
The NSPCA also alleges that inspectors were held against their will at the Al Mawashi feedlot situated at Castledale Farm in Berlin, Eastern Cape last week.
Wilson says two inspectors were held captive by more than 35 staff, including management, employed by livestock export company Al Mawashi and KLTT, a day before the High Court ruling was announced.
The NSPCA has laid criminal charges at the Berlin SAPS against at least five members of Al Mawashi management staff and some 30 feedlot staff in this regard.
The inspectors were given an ultimatum that we either have to drop the criminal charges that we have against the Al Mawashi staff as well as have the High Court interdict set aside, and to allow them to load the sheep and then they would be released.Meg Wilson, NSPCA spokesperson
Fortunately, NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit manager contacted the Managing Director [of Al Mawashi in South Africa] and he was reasonable and apologised profusely and organized that they be released. Charges have been laid for that as well.Meg Wilson, NSPCA spokesperson
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