Author Topic: Barkly Pearl - animals manhandled, NSPCA hindered, 11.9.2013  (Read 709 times)

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Barkly Pearl - animals manhandled, NSPCA hindered, 11.9.2013
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 11:26:54 PM »
Barkly Pearl - animals manhandled, NSPCA hindered.

NSPCA personnel were denied full access to the livestock carrier, Barkly Pearl, as it was loaded at the East London docks with 3500 animals: - cattle, sheep and goats.

Manager of the NSPCA's Farm Animal Protection Unit, Senior Inspector Andries Venter, explained that the exporters were only willing to allow NSPCA personnel on board the vessel before and after loading, claiming that was all they could offer. Numerous attempts to make contact with the ship owner's representative in South Africa in order to obtain full access to the ship were thwarted. According to Venter, "This was unacceptable and so we applied for and obtained a warrant to enable us to monitor the loading of the animals”. The NSPCA did not intend interrupting the process of loading the animals but merely wanted to ensure that it was being done in a humane and ethical fashion.

"A private security company hired to stand at the entrance to the ship did not accept the warrant and the South African Police Service (SAPS) and port authority had to be called to enable us to gain access.” Senior Inspector Venter advised that this delayed the monitoring process by 90 minutes.

Whilst the loading of animals was taking place, NSPCA personnel were advised to attend a meeting in the Magistrates office with the Magistrate who had granted the warrant at the behest of the attorney representing the ship owners and cattle exporters. It became apparent that they wanted to have the warrant set aside or amended to prevent the NSPCA monitoring the loading of the animals. Accompanied by a local attorney, the NSPCA Inspectors stressed the NSPCA's duties and mandate to prevent cruelty to animals.

Against the advice and motivation of the NSPCA, the warrant was amended to give NSPCA personnel access to the vessel only until 18h00 on 10 September and then again the following morning for an hour after loading, even though loading continued beyond that time and it was uncertain when it would end.

The loading continued through the night. "We witnessed the foreign workers dragging sheep by their forelegs and ears. At this stage, we were on the docks and were only able to address the issue with the exporter.”
After loading had been completed, NSPCA personnel were allowed on the vessel for an hour, from 04h00 on 11 September 2013. This was in accordance with the revised warrant.

The Barkly Pearl left the port of East London on 11 September at around 06h00, sailing to Mauritius.

This is the second such "consignment” in under three weeks. The animals face a minimum of 7 days at sea in conditions which the NSPCA considers to be unacceptable and cruel. This is in addition to the 20 hours it took to load the ship; - one and a half working days and the potential two day off load at Port Louis.

The NSPCA reiterates that we shall not be deterred. We shall continue this fight regardless. Morality and ethics will overcome man's greed.

The NSPCA is looking into the matter and has spoken with officials in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Attorney for the NSPCA, Michal Johnson of Routledge Modise says that "the government has a clear duty in respect of the export of live cattle, a duty which it must now fulfil. Regrettably we will probably be involved in future litigation with all interested parties, including the government, in order to ensure that there is no cruelty to animals and that the practices which see their inhuman and cruel treatment are addressed in terms of the International and National Legislation applicable."

The NSPCA's Application in the Grahamstown High Court on Friday 23 August 2013 failed on urgency. But Judge Nepgen commented that transporting of cattle by ship is cruel.

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