A South African court has allowed the Kuwaiti livestock trader Al Mawashi to ship over 56,000 live sheep to the Middle East despite concerns about animal cruelty. The company will start loading the sheep on Sunday.
South Africa’s National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) sought a court order against exporter Al Mawashi to stop the company from sailing sheep out of the East London port. Tuesday, the court ruled in favor of Al Mawashi.
NSPCA is against the live export of sheep by sea, saying the high summer temperatures around the Equator cook and kill the animals.
“Live export is horrendously cruel. Particularly ships that go over the Equator. It’s just so hot, so there’s heat stress with the animals. The ship doesn’t get cleaned out throughout the voyage, so they (the sheep) are literally living in their own feces”, Meg Wilson from the NSPCA tells The Animal Reader.
“And basically the whole method of transport completely goes against the Animal Protection Act in South Africa,” she adds.
The trip will take around 2 to 3 weeks, making stops in Oman, Dubai and Kuwait, Wilson says. It’s three weeks of extreme suffering for the animals, only to be killed when they arrive.
A better option would be to send the meat and not the animals. “Unfortunately, the Kuwaiti want the live animals. They don’t consider our halal slaughter in South-Africa to be proper halal,” Wilson says. “But I don’t think the man on the street understands the suffering that these animals endure because it makes it not halal anyways because these animals suffer.”
Tuesday’s hearing was part of a wider push by the NSPCA to block the exportation of live animals from South Africa anywhere north of the Equator.
“We don’t have to compare them (animals) to humans but we surely do need to be human about the way we treat them,” Wilson emphasizes.