NSPCA Heads to Court Over Live Export to Kuwait

Credit: NSPCA
Credit: NSPCA

Published Feb 25, 2020 5:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

South African animal welfare organization, the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA), has launched an application to the High Court to stop an impending shipment of sheep to Kuwait. 

The matter is set to be heard in the Grahamstown High Court on Friday, 28 February 2020. 

The move follows the organization's objection to an October 2019 shipment of sheep to the Middle East where the sheep endured what it called “horrendous conditions.”

Since the shipment in October 2019, the NSPCA has attempted to gain information from both the exporters and the government about when the next shipment is scheduled, to no avail. But the NSPCA has since been informed that around 70,000 sheep are in a feedlot, indicating a shipment is planned.

Afriforum agreed to assist the NSPCA with the High Court case. Advocate Gerrie Nel is leading the team, along with advocates Phyllis Vorster and Gustav Weich. The attorneys for the NSPCA case are Matthew Klein and Justin Powers. The NSPCA has a group of experts, including Australian live export veterinarian Dr. Lynn Simpson, Professor Gareth Bath, Dr. Shaun Morris and veterinarian Dr. Bryce Marock. 

NSPCA also says it has come to light that other exporters wish to export live cattle by sea to Cambodia. The voyage is longer than that of the Kuwait exports, exceeding 21 days.

In November 2019, the NSPCA laid criminal charges relating to the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962 against the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Al Mawashi - the owners of the Al Shuwaikh vessel who have a company in South Africa, the captain of the Al Shuwaikh, the Page Farming Trust and individuals from the Page Farming Trust following inspection of operations in October 2019 when approximately 57,000 sheep were loaded for shipment to the Middle East. The matter is with the South African Police Services, and the investigation is ongoing.

The NSPCA asserts that conditions on board the Al Shuwaikh in October 2019 included dangerously high ammonia levels on some of the enclosed decks, widespread diarrhea, with much of it falling into the feed and water troughs and sheep in respiratory distress. It says: “On the dock and feedlot, animals were treated in an inhumane manner, and attempts were made to load sick, injured and lame animals onto the vessel.”