Ban on sheep ship­ments to Kuwait sought

Kuwait Times - - Front Page -

CAPE TOWN: A South African an­i­mal rights group is seek­ing a court or­der ban­ning a Kuwaiti firm from ship­ping tens of thou­sands of sheep across the equa­tor to the Mid­dle East dur­ing sum­mer months in con­di­tions it called “ex­treme cru­elty”. The case is the lat­est at­tempt by South Africa’s Na­tional So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals (NSPCA) to block such sheep ex­ports, and it is press­ing the govern­ment to in­tro­duce new reg­u­la­tions on how live an­i­mals are trans­ported.

On Thurs­day, the NSPCA asked Gra­ham­stown High Court in the East­ern Cape for an in­terim court in­ter­dict pre­vent­ing a ship be­long­ing to Kuwaiti live­stock ex­porter Al Mawashi from sail­ing out of South Africa’s East Lon­don port with around 70,000 sheep. In court pa­pers seen by Reuters, the NSPCA said they have been look­ing into Al Mawashi and its par­ent com­pany, Live­stock Trans­port and Trad­ing Com­pany (LTTC), since late last year.

The NSPCA said cramped spa­ces and ex­treme heat dur­ing these voy­ages could lead to some an­i­mals be­ing “cooked alive” as tem­per­a­tures as high as 60 de­grees Cel­sius have been recorded on­board live­stock ships in the Ara­bian Gulf. “Those (sheep) that sur­vive death suf­fer a great deal over the two to three week or­deal,” said the NSPCA. “The plight that these sheep have to en­dure - any­where be­tween 40,000 to 80,000 per ship­ment at a time - is hor­rific,” the NSPCA added in its court sub­mis­sion.

Mawashi, which has lo­cal of­fices in East Lon­don, sailed its first shipload of sheep from South Africa to Kuwait in Oc­to­ber fol­lowed by a sec­ond cargo in March. The com­pany had to seek new live­stock sup­pli­ers af­ter Aus­tralia in 2018 banned the ex­port of live sheep to the Mid­dle East dur­ing the North­ern Hemi­sphere’s sum­mer months. Mawashi de­nied all cru­elty al­le­ga­tions and said it’s ship, MV Al Mes­si­lah, was mod­i­fied ear­lier this year with a new ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem that would help elim­i­nate “heat stress” and en­sure there was no cru­elty to an­i­mals.

Mawashi said there were fun­da­men­tal prob­lems with the ev­i­dence re­lied on by the NSPCA and said the rights group had not in­spected its ship in July 2020 when given an op­por­tu­nity to do so. South Africa’s Red Meat In­dus­try Fo­rum ( RMIF) chair­man Tim David­son said, “if stan­dards are set by the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture the cur­rent prob­lem with the ship­ment of sheep on the Al Mes­si­lah would be re­solved,” adding the group was “to­tally op­posed” to any form of an­i­mal cru­elty.

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