The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) is taking legal action after the government gave the go-ahead for the export of almost 60,000 sheep to Kuwait.
The sheep were loaded onto a ship bound for the Middle East from the East London harbour last week.
According to the NSPCA, the sheep endured inhumane treatment while on board the vessel and during the loading process.
NSPCA spokesperson Meg Wilson and other inspectors were on the dock when the animals were apparently being dragged by their feet and horns.
Wilson says the NSPCA will be taking court action against the Eastern Cape provincial government.
It will also lay charges of animal cruelty, assault and obstruction against the shipping personnel that handled the animals.
The animal welfare organisation also aims to pursue legal action that will put an end to live export trade.
Wilson says the sheep were facing dangerously high ammonia levels on deck, even before the ship had set sail.
She says inspectors found parasitic conditions on the ship, including faeces in food and water troughs among other serious concerns.
Wilson explains that hundreds of the animals will not survive the voyage.
The sheep still have to endure these worsening conditions for this 13-week journey.— Meg Wilson, NSPCA spokesperson
We had a problem from the feedlot already, in terms of handling.— Meg Wilson, NSPCA spokesperson
The animals were being handled very inhumanly. They were being pulled by their feet and by their horns, being kicked, pushed and smacked in the faces.— Meg Wilson, NSPCA spokesperson
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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : NSPCA to launch court action after 'inhumane' shipping of live sheep to Kuwait