From Yahoo! News
A ship carrying 3,500 head of cattle, goats and sheep will leave South Africa for the island paradise of Mauritius — and the slaughterhouse — despite an outcry over “inhumane” livestock exports.
South Africa’s international live animal trade has come under fire for the brutal transport conditions, when the country has adequate slaughter facilities to give them a more humane death.
The heated battle between animal rights groups and exporters has been fought out in the courts and provoked death threats, but it has done little to deter a multi-million dollar industry.
“This is one of the cruellest methods of transporting animals in existence,” said National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) head Marcelle Meredith.
“The animals become ill and lethargic, seasick and some often end up with broken legs,” said Meredith in a petition against the trade to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
“Their misery continues as they are unloaded in inadequate facilities.”
The livestock is trucked to southern port East London and herded into cramped pens on board the poorly ventilated carrier, said the NSPCA. The journey could take up to 12 days on rough seas, it added.
But two weeks ago the NSPCA lost a court bid to halt cattle-breeder Bruce Page from exporting the animals to the Indian Ocean island.
Page acknowledges at times “there are alternatives — exporting meat rather than live animals”. But he said Mauritius’ Muslim community required live animals to slaughter for halaal meat.
After he won the court battle, a man called him threatening that “either you or your children will be killed if you load that ship,” Page’s son Glen told AFP.
Page denied that the animals suffer during their trip to Mauritius.
“I have shipped over 8,000 animals over the past three years. I tell you the mortality rate is 0.0005 percent,” he said.
“With sheep, we have to comply with the Australian standards of animal welfare when shipping which are the best the world over.”
But although the judge ruled in his favor, after viewing footage of the cattle transport, he still found “cruelty was prevalent and that has to be resolved in future.”
Read more at Yahoo! News.