The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Namibia (SPCA) recently opposed the exportation of an estimated 125,000 livestock from South Africa and Botswana to the Middle East by sea via the Walvis Bay and Luderitz ports.
The livestock consists of 5000 cattle, 70,000 sheep and 50,000 goats. Hanna Rhodin, SPCA's National Director said there is no justifiable reason to ship animals 7000 kilometres by sea to then endure a potentially brutal death in a foreign country, especially given that Middle East nations currently import large amounts of chilled/frozen meat.
Rhodin said from an economic perspective, it is more advantageous to process meat within Namibia than to serve as a waypoint for outside companies, while from a legal perspective, the operation of a live animal export trade does not accord with the standards of animal welfare legislation in Namibia and the expectations of the Namibian community.
She added that the practice undermines Namibian laws and standards and that any company wishing to conduct business involving animals in Namibia should adhere to local legislation, including, but not limited to, the Animal Protection Act of 1962.
"Our serious concerns regarding animal welfare start with the long-haul land transport from South Africa and Botswana to the ports of Walvis Bay and Luderitz and the caretaking at feedlots or quarantine stations in Namibia. These journeys start at the farm gate and add to an already long and arduous process if the animals are to continue on for live export. The trucking itself means animals experience extreme temperatures and long periods without rest, food or water," Rhodin added.
She further explained that due to the lack of proper protocols, there are risks to the people in the importing countries, adding that the long journeys and poor hygienic conditions increase the risk of Salmonella and E. coli, especially in the slaughterhouses and informal slaughter situations that would fail basic hygiene audits.
"The shipment of live animals by sea is an unsustainable and dying trade which has already significantly decreased in Australia. It is being contested by animal welfare organizations in South
African courts, the Israeli Parliament and the EU Commission, and is unwelcomed by SPCA in Namibia," Rhodin said.