An animal welfare debacle is currently unfolding in South Africa. Prohibited in Australia from taking winter acclimatised sheep to the Middle Eastern summer, KLTT has turned to other countries to do just that. Al Mawashi and Livestock Transport and Trading Company PSC (KLTT) have sent the Al Messilah to South Africa.
Despite statements from the industry spin body, Livestock Collective, and exporter media acknowledging animal welfare issues for southern hemisphere sheep at this time of year, the same exporters just go to another country, which doesn't have the same animal welfare regulations and export regardless. Not exactly what one expects from an industry that has supposedly cleaned up its act. If any act cleaning has been performed it seems that it's only because there was no choice – in Australia.
If shipping at this time wasn't bad enough, NSPCA inspection of the Al Mawashi feedlots indicated "the lack of preparedness and adherence by the exporters to the Government Guidelines despite assurances that they would be.... Inspectors observed:-
• Sheep being fed roughage at the feedlot as the pelleted food has run out. The animals have not been given the minimum of 7 days to adjust to eating pelleted food to prevent malnourishment or even starvation while on board the ship, where this will be the only feed provided.
• Many sheep with wool up to 100mm long were observed, despite the Government ‘Guidelines’ requirements for wool not to exceed 25mm, because of the severe heat as the animals face the wrath of the hot summer along the journey, especially in the strait of Hormuz.
• Numerous sheep with dangerous protruding horns which pose a risk for them being trapped between lairage bars and also risk of causing injury to other animals. These horns had not been trimmed as per Government ‘Guidelines.’
• Many obviously pregnant ewes in the feedlot and an increasing number of new-born lambs as well as many animals who have aborted their young. The Government ‘Guidelines’ were not adhered to and the animals had not been scanned to determine pregnancy.
In addition, the teams of Inspectors on site at the feedlot report compromised animals including lame sheep, sheep with foot rot, pink eye throughout the pens as well as emaciated and moribund sheep."
The situation was reportedly "so dire that in order to halt the loading until the ‘Guidelines’ were adhered to, the NSPCA applied for an Urgent High Court Interdict ... Despite these appalling conditions of the animals at the feedlot ... the acting judge did not hear the merits of the matter and only heard argument on urgency. The loading was then permitted to commence. Undeterred, and despite enormous challenges, the NSPCA Inspectors continue to monitor the loading at the feedlot and the harbour ..."
Their team of 16 inspectors have been working 12 hours a day since 20 July 2023. "Had it not been for NSPCA Inspectors, compromised animals would have been loaded onto the vessel."
So, this industry cares about animal welfare? Sixteen inspectors were required just to ensure unfit animals were not loaded by an export company that has been prohibited from exporting sheep from Australia to the Middle East at this time of year. A leopard may be regulated but it doesn't change its spots. Bring on the phase out!
See NSPCA FACEBOOK 24 July : https://www.facebook.com/NSPCA