South African Court Rules on Sheep Inspections

April 3, 2024

lambs on a livestock carrier (Source: Dr Lynn Simpson)
lambs on a livestock carrier (Source: Dr Lynn Simpson)

South African animal welfare organization NSPCA has applauded a Judgment from the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, Makhanda, affirming the NSPCA’s ability to screen all animals being readied for loading on the Al Messilah livestock carrier which docked in the East London Harbour on April 2.

The exporter, Al Mawashi, working through Page Farming Company, made an application in the High Court on March 29 designed to prevent the NSPCA from marking compromised animals to prevent them from being loaded and to stop NSPCA from screening for pregnant ewes.

“Al Mawashi, however, withdrew the relief in respect of the pregnant ewes at the last minute, due to pregnant ewes being present in the feedlot and with at least one (at that stage) giving birth in the feedlot,” said NSPCA in a statement. Despite claims to the contrary, an NSPCA veterinarian and a state veterinarian confirmed that there were pregnant sheep, some visibly pregnant, at the feedlot where the animals are being held prior to loading. NSPCA also claims that some sheep had been subject to reckless and hasty sheering which caused injuries.

The Court held that the NSPCA was within its rights, as endorsed by the Constitutional Court and in terms of its warrant, to examine all animals in the feedlot and the conditions under which they are held.

“All animals destined for Kuwait will be examined, and no compromised animals will be allowed to board,” says NSPCA.

Last year, a feedlot manager for Al Mawashi was 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. Pregnant ewes and newborn lambs were also found.

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