Sheep ship sails but furore rages on
09 September 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202020419
A ship with a consignment of 56,000 sheep and 650 head of cattle left East London harbour for the Middle East last Thursday, but the controversy over the shipment remains.
The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA), which failed in a court bid to have the shipment halted, has said it would be laying additional criminal charges related to the loading of the animals onto the Al Messilah.
The animal welfare organisation said its monitors had observed employees of the export company Al Mawashi kicking and dragging sheep by the ears and even punching them in the face. They also claimed that the sheep were not sheared, adding that this was a concern as they were destined to a country with high temperatures.
Al Mawashi South Africa has denied the allegations, accusing the NSPCA of being “adventurous with the truth”.
"This has been a long-standing and ongoing allegation dating back to Al Mawashi’s first shipment in September. However, there has never been any evidence to support this allegation,” said Managing Director, Ilyaas Ally.
“In fact, the NSPCA failed abysmally on two occasions in the Grahamstown High Court to proof [sic] this. Furthermore, these allegations were made by NSPCA inspectors who do not hold the necessary veterinary qualifications.”
He also dismissed the concerns around heat stress, saying the sheep had been sheared before loading. He added that the Al Messilah has a capacity for 80 000 sheep but only 56 000 sheep were loaded in compliance with the court order.
Eastern Cape MEC for Agriculture, Nomakhosazana Meth, earlier hailed the court ruling as a victory for the province’s agricultural sector.
Speaking in East London to mark the one-year anniversary of live animal exports from the Eastern Cape, she said the province was poised to take a pivotal position in red meat production and that the live exports would bring in much needed foreign exchange income.
Meth also congratulated Al Mawashi on its court victory and welcomed its announcement of further “take-off agreements with emerging farmers”.