Cape Times

Another Al Mawashi ‘death ship’ expected to ship live animals from East London to Middle East

- OKUHLE HLATI okhule.hlati@inl.co.za

ANIMAL rights groups will greet the Al Mawashi vessel when it docks at East London harbour today and document “animal exploitati­on”.

In East London, Ban Animal Trading South Africa will document the export and in Cape Town the Coalition to Stop Live Animal Export South Africa will protest at 123 Hertzog Boulevard on the Foreshore.

The Kuwaiti importer of livestock is expected to load live animals and transport the cargo to the Middle East. Labelled as the “death ship”, the 44-yearold vessel is expected to be anchored at the harbour at about 8am, according to a ship tracking website.

National Council of SPCA (NSPCA) executive director Marcelle Meredith said their inspector and veterinari­an travelled to the feedlot in the Eastern Cape, owned by a farming company, in preparatio­n for the arrival of the vessel.

About 60 000 sheep, 1 500 cattle and 200 goats will be loaded onto the vessel and taken to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

“They inspected the animals at the feedlot and again serious welfare concerns were identified. On March 18 a warning was issued for shade and water to be provided for the animals and for injured animals to receive appropriat­e treatment. Since March 26 seven NSPCA inspectors, the veterinari­an and two inspectors from King William's Town SPCA have been at the feedlot to inspect the animals being held in preparatio­n for loading,” said Meredith.

According to the NSPCA, their understand­ing was the owner of the farming company was managing the shipment for Al Mawashi to whom he rented the feedlot for the export.

Meredith said on Wednesday the inspectors encountere­d escalating hostility during a lawful inspection, conducted with a warrant as the company owner allegedly displayed aggressive, discourteo­us behaviour and demanded the inspectors leave the premises.

“The NSPCA had to request assistance from police. The NSPCA has five prosecutio­n cases against Al Mawashi and (the owner of the farming company). The NSPCA has encountere­d ongoing animal abuse at this feedlot. During the June 2023 shipment, inspectors thwarted attempts to load sick, pregnant, lame, heavily horned and unshorn sheep. Inspectors further intervened when rams had their horns severed using an angle grinder causing a bloodbath and resulting in 131 rams being confiscate­d and the arrest of the then feedlot manager. As a result, the NSPCA met the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Developmen­t and Agrarian Reform. The department agreed guidelines for the export of animals by sea would be stringentl­y followed for future shipments,” said Meredith.

Al Mawashi declined to comment.

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