South Africa: Feedlot Manager Arrested for Dehorning Rams Bound for Sea Transport

July 28, 2023

Source:  NSPCA
Source: NSPCA

The Feedlot Manager of the live export company Al Mawashi has been arrested in South Africa after animal welfare inspectors found over 126 rams with their horns cut off - in an attempt to make them eligible for export by sea to Kuwait.

The dehorning was done after the NSPCA Inspectors had left the feedlot, once the loading of animals had been concluded for the day.

The Inspectors were horrified to find the distressed rams, some bleeding profusely. 

“The horns are thick on these large rams and they were cut/sawn off, exposing nerves, blood vessels and soft tissue causing immense pain and suffering,” said Dr Bryce Marock, NSPCA veterinarian on site.

According to the Government’s “Guidelines for the Exportation of Live Animals by Sea” it is not permissible to load the animals if they have “horns that are sharp or protrude beyond the widest part of the animal”. However, they would still not be eligible because the Guidelines also stipulate that sheep with “unhealed wounds” cannot be loaded.

The South African Police Service were called to the farm and the Feedlot Manager was arrested. NSPCA says the dehorning is a clear violation of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962.

NSPCA Inspectors have seized the rams and moved them to a place of safety where they were provided with veterinary treatment. They will not be exported.

In a 2016 judgement, the Constitutional Court reminded that animals are sentient beings worthy of respect and that the people who are in charge of them bear a great responsibility to care for them humanely.

“If it were not for our inspectors, these rams would have been loaded onto the ship to endure 21 days of further pain in appalling conditions. Surely it is time for the government, red meat industry and organized agriculture to do the right thing, to show some compassion, and afford these animals, their livelihood, the basic right of freedom from suffering. It is within their power to do the right thing,” said Marcelle Meredith, Executive Director, NSPCA.

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