The war in the abolition of live animal exports is far from over, says the executive director of the NSPCA, Marcelle Meredith.
Meredith’s remarks come in the wake of a sixth consecutive case lost at magistrate, high court, and Supreme Court levels in a battle against Kuwait-based meat exporter Al Mawashi.
The NSPCA has accused Al Mawashi of animal abuse and neglect but has failed in its mission to stop live exports after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed its bid on Friday, 12 March.
The animal welfare group approached the Supreme Court in a bid to appeal an August 2020 judgement handed down by the Makhanda High Court.
This allowed the shipment of some 56 000 live sheep to the tip of the Persian Gulf.
Meredith says, “No animal should be subject to cruelty no matter what the monetary value is. We can assure the public the that the war is far from over and the NSPCA is doing everything in the power to stop the cruel trade.”
Supporting Mzansi farmers
Meanwhile Al Mawashi has welcomed the SCA’s recent ruling adding that Al Mawashi was not going anywhere anytime soon.
The managing director of Al Mawashi South Africa, Illyaas Ally, says they will abide to their commitment to “protect foreign direct investment it made to the South African economy.
“We will continue to fight with every breath to protect the food security of Middle Eastern nations and support Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Free State farmers trading with us. We remain grateful to the groundswell of support to all stakeholders, especially organised agriculture, farmers and SAVA-accredited livestock vets.”
SPCA branches suffering
Ally says since beginning the NSPCA’s “lawfare” in March 2020, it estimates the NSPCA’s legal costs owed to Al Mawashi ordered by courts to be millions of Rands.
“You have a situation where the NSPCA is out on a wild legal spending spree while SPCA branches often bemoan their financial difficulties and hardships.
“It simply is a real injustice for the majority of SPCA branches that are frontline workers committed towards animal welfare and fighting real animal cruelty issues and cases, while the NSPCA are chasing the phantoms they conjured with possible branch level contributions.”
Al Mawashi SA spokesperson JP Roodt says since the beginning in 2019, the NSPCA has allegedly set out to portray live exports as “an inherently cruel trade supporting the extremist agendas of radical animal rights groups and activists in South Africa and abroad.”
Roodt says, “NSPCA employed misleading footage, and circulated false and embellished claims not representative of South African live exports or Al Mawashi South Africa.”
“THE NSPCA decorated itself as a silver armoured knight for a fictitious animal cruelty crisis it manufactured to deceive the public, media and its own patrons.”
“It is our opinion that the NSPCA’s current predicament, namely, the massive financial debt it has incurred on legal costs is self-inflicted.
“This course of action has also set the NSPCA on a path of self-destruction, including the creation of a credibility crisis for itself among the South African public and media, and organised agriculture,” Roodt concluded.
Ally adds, “NSPCA’s litigation and conduct has already led to losses of R300 million for the Eastern Cape’s economy and people given that two shipments had to be forfeited, leaving farmers and rural communities deprived from income.
‘Deeply disappointed by SCA’
The NSPCA says that it is disappointed by the SCA’s decision to deny its request of appeal in the judgement handed down by judge AK Dukada.
Meredith adds the SCA’s action has sparked misleading information in the media implying that the loss was the “end of the road” for the NSPCA’s fight against live exports.
“It must be clarified that the judgment of AJ Dukada dealt with an interdict that was sought in June 2020 to stop Al Mawashi and LTTC from transporting live sheep by way of a ship to Kuwait.
“The public must not lose sight of the NSPCA’s real fight in this matter, which is against the live export of sheep across the equator by sea, and which will commence imminently.”
Dukada allowed the shipment of more than 50 000 sheep in June 2020. Meredith and the NSPCA allege that cruelty was observed by NSPCA inspectors.