Agri EC hits out at AfriForum for ‘meddling’ in sheep case

CONTROVERSIAL SHIPMENT: The National Council of SPCAs has approached the high court in Makhanda seeking an interdict to halt the export of about 70‚000 live sheep to Kuwait by ship
CONTROVERSIAL SHIPMENT: The National Council of SPCAs has approached the high court in Makhanda seeking an interdict to halt the export of about 70‚000 live sheep to Kuwait by ship
Image: LISA MAREE WILLIAMS

Agri Eastern Cape has hit out at AfriForum for coming out “guns blazing” to help the National Council of SPCAs seek an interdict to halt the export of about 70‚000 live sheep to Kuwait by ship.

The case will be heard on Friday and follows the previous discovery of live sheep being exported by sea to the Middle East in October 2019‚ allegedly under horrendous conditions.

The council released a statement earlier this week, stating that AfriForum had agreed to represent it in court on Friday with advocate Gerrie Nel leading the team.

However, Agri Eastern Cape president Doug Stern questioned why AfriForum was getting involved in unwarranted litigation when it was meant to protect the interests of farmers.

“It is evident that the NSPCA is hell-bent on stopping this initiative irrespective of the evidence presented,” he said.

“Why AfriForum, who often state they represent the interests of farmers, are involving themselves in this unwarranted litigation is concerning to us as an organisation.

“Surely, they have a responsibility to establish facts first, instead of guns blazing, at the detriment of the economy, and a host of other economic factors.”

He said the previous shipment had followed all local and internationally accepted protocols and procedures.

“It is the contention of Agri EC that the responsible and ethical shipment of livestock holds huge potential for the expansion of the agricultural economy of the province.”

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said the interdict would protect the long-term interest of farmers and the sustainable export of red meat.

“This will not to harm the interests of farmers in any way,” he said.

“The owners of the ship have put farmers in a very difficult position and rather than sweeping the findings of the livestock welfare co-ordinating committee under the rug, AfriForum decided to put pressure on the shipping company and the government — not farmers — to ensure that the ship adheres to the requirements of the report.

“If AfriForum succeeds in this case, it will mean that the export of sheep can proceed without any objection, which will be in the interest of all sheep farmers in SA.

“In a world that is increasingly succumbing to anti-red meat propaganda, AfriForum believes that every possible attempt should be made to counter this propaganda.

“The propaganda cannot be countered by sweeping problems under the rug.

“We are attempting, with this court case, to promote the long-term interest of farmers.”

He said AfriForum appreciated the farming community and had various campaigns to further their interests.

“Such campaigns include expropriation without compensation, farm murders and attacks, as well as our drought relief campaign.”

In the livestock welfare co-ordinating committee report from the October export, chair Gareth Bar said the sheep were in respiratory distress with widespread diarrhoea and animals pulled by their legs.

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