The Al Shuwaikh livestock vessel destined for Kuwait, which has docked in East London for the past few days awaiting shipping 60,000 sheep onto it has been given a clean bill of health, according to Dispatch Live.
It was earlier reported that a permit had already been granted, but has since been corrected to reflect that this is only expected to take place later this week, department of rural development and agrarian reform spokesperson Ayongezwa Lungisa told Dispatch Live on Monday.
Lungisa says veterinarians are expected to be inspect the sheep for diseases and vaccinations before the Al Shuwaikh heads for Kuwait. If this is in order, a live export permit is expected to be granted.
The sheep are doomed to spend three weeks at sea in squalid conditions, and many will not make it out alive.
Al Mawashi, the livestock transport and trading company facilitating the live export, ironically claims that it does not tolerate poor treatment of livestock in any part of its supply chain.
However, in November 2017 during a voyage on the Al Shuwaikh, an average of 37 animals died each day onboard the ship. In June 2018, an average of 20 animals died per day on a 30-day voyage, and in September 2018, 659 deaths were recorded on a 24-day voyage.
The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) urged both government and the public to reconsider the shipment.
The permit being granted has hit them and other animal rights organisations hard.
In a statement, the NSPCA details the gruesome conditions the sheep will face on the ship.
“Onboard this ship, they will be crammed so tightly that many will not be able to lie down and rest. For three weeks, they will stand, with limited access to food and water, and some will have no access at all … They will be forced to stand in their own excrement, wearing what is called “faecal jackets”.
Marcelle Meredith, NSPCA executive director, said: “The South African government have the power to stop this shipment, they have a responsibility to ensure that welfare is a primary concern, especially in light of our success in the high court recently with regards to permitting issues and welfare considerations.”
In a damning statement, the NSPCA has slammed the company’s blatant hypocrisy, pointing to claims that they operate transparently.
The NSPCA continues to advocate that live export by sea for slaughter purposes is unethical, unnecessary, and unacceptable.
According to Animals Australia, over 100,000 litres of urine and faeces accumulate on a trip like this each day the sheep are onboard.
This combined with the Middle East’s high temperatures results in sheep being unable to regulate their own body temperatures causing heatstroke. This, the statement reads, literally results in sheep being “cooked alive” while in oven-like temperatures.
Waste build-up makes it dangerous for the sheep to lie down, as they risk being buried alive, and ammonia from their excrement often leads to respiratory infections, and burning eyes and throats.
“All this mixed with disease, overcrowding, pneumonia, motion sickness, physical trauma and injuries, and stress, creates the perfect environment for excruciating suffering, and many animals will die in transit.”
The fate of those that survive the journey is not good either – they will face “inhumane handling” before being violently slaughtered while they are still alive.
Carte Blanche screened horrifying footage of the live export trade on Sunday evening, with the video still making the rounds on social media.
The NSPCA hoped their online petition would encourage government to reconsider the shipment.
“South Africa must take a stand against this abhorrent and unnecessary practice and rather export packaged meat, which not only ensures that animals do not suffer unnecessarily, but helps the country’s struggling economy.”
Those who wish to make a donation to the NSPCA can do so by clicking here.
(Compiled by Nica Schreuder.)