Horror in Cape Town: 19k cattle kept in barbaric conditions for over two weeks 

At the beginning of this week (19th February), a ship from Brazil anchored in the port of Cape Town, with 19,000 distressed cattle aboard. The animals have been kept in appalling conditions for weeks. 

Stock image.

As the Al Kuwait ship approached the harbour on Monday morning, 19th February, the entire city permeated with a very strong and unpleasant odour. The vessel, en route to Iraq, moored in Cape Town for food and supplies. 

Inspectors from the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) went on board and discovered that for two-and-a-half weeks, 19,000 distressed cattle had been forced to live in their own urine and faeces, in “extraordinarily cramped” conditions with poor ventilation.  

In a brief period, the officers found three dead cattle and euthanized five. 

As the ship was due to leave for Iraq on Tuesday evening, 20th February, the Network for Animals sought urgent legal advice to see what they could do to help the animals.  

They were informed that winning a court order preventing the cattle from being transported to Iraq was a strong possibility, but it would have been an empty victory as the Al Kuwait would have already sailed away. 

Action taken to fight animal cruelty

The NFA spokesperson said: “It may be that we have lost this battle, but we will not stand by and see this cruelty repeated. Cape Town is an important port for thousands of ships seeking to get round the tip of Africa.” 

The network has taken action in the South African courts seeking a declaratory order, which would ensure that any ship coming into local waters in the future must obey our animal welfare and livestock laws. Failure to comply will result in denial of service and fuel.  

NFA added: “Though this process may take up to two years and be very costly, we are determined to remain steadfast in this mission as we have seldom witnessed such barbaric cruelty towards animals.” 

Read more about animal health.

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