Thousands of Mzansi sheep are set to make their way to the Middle East for slaughter as meat exporter Al Mawashi gears up for its first shipment of 2021.
Al Mawashi South Africa’s managing director, Ilyaas Ally, confirmed that the international meat exporter had recently concluded procurement and trading with livestock farmers in the country.
Ally says, “Trading with farmers was concluded over the past few months, and our Berlin feedlot outside King Williamstown [Qonqe] has gone into biosecurity with the Al Messilah livestock carrier set to arrive at the Port of East London in the third week of June.”
Resistance from NSPCA
The export of animals by sea has been met with continued opposition from the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA).
In the past 14 months, NSPCA has lost several cases at the Supreme Court of Appeal, and both the high and magistrate courts resulting in cost orders allegedly at the expense of public donations.
Ally says, “NSPCA’s credibility has a chequered track-record. It has made numerous misleading and embellishing claims about live exports; this is well documented in the public domain and courts.”
He adds, “Scientific evidence-led arguments from Al Mawashi’s legal counsel negated exaggerated claims around heat stress.
“The NSPCA’s main argument and critically flawed crystallised view is the transportation of sheep by sea north of the equator, which is legal in South Africa and not banned in any country, constituted a contravention of the APA.”
‘Suez massacre is a lie’
Meanwhile, Al Mawashi SA spokesperson JP Roodt says NSPCA’s attack this month on Al Mawashi’s commitment to black economic empowerment and up-and-coming farmers remains a concern and is nothing more than attempt at polarisation.
“What the NSPCA fails to mention is that since live exports began, the participation of BEE and emerging farmers have increased year-on-year since the first shipment,” says Roodt.
“It is well known by all stakeholders that farmers wanting to participate in live exports must have export ready sheep available.”
Ally says animal rights groups have recently blown isolated international events out of proportion.
A good example, he said, was how these groups framed the Suez Canal blockage as an imminent animal cruelty crisis, and in recent months attempted to mislead the South African public by pre-empting an international live export ban in New Zealand that has not been enacted.
“There was no evidence of mass animal deaths reported on livestock vessels during the Suez Canal blockage. The allegations of these animal rights groups were sensationalist, opportunistic, and was a failed exercise stir controversy with media and public based on speculation,” he said.