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Remember that bad smell in Cape Town? Minister pledges to tighten export laws

Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Land Reform, Thoko Didiza, has announced plans to tighten regulations on the export of live animals, in response to a parlimentary question.

This follows the events in Cape Town last month when a foul smell engulfed the city. The source of the smell came from 19 000 cattle, kept in “deplorable conditions”, aboard a ship in the Cape Town harbour.

The cattle were being shipped from Brazil to Iraq aboard an Al Kuwait vessel.

According to Didiza, a South African company had acted on behalf of their customer. The company asked the Department to allow the ship to load 2 000 tons of animal feed.

Didiza said that all necessary procedures had been followed to mitigate risks of contamination.

Cattle ship causes a stink

The bad smell launched an official investigation, which included inspections by animal welfare groups.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) detailed the “deplorable conditions” aboard the ship. These conditions caused some cattle to die, while others sustained injuries.

Didiza was responding to a parliamentary inquiry from Freedom Front Plus member Tamarin Breedt, writes IOL

Breedt asked if the existing guidelines for live animal exports by sea were adequate. She also asked when the public can expect these regulations to be enforced.

“Relating to the cases of exports from South Africa, the current laws, standards, and international norms and standards that are used for the exports of live animals from the Republic, already serve to provide assurances for animal welfare,” Didiza said in response.

“The department is, however, working on beefing up the regulatory framework by introducing regulations for the export of animals by sea.”

New export laws

Didiza said that a first draft of the proposed regulations will be finalised by the end of April 2024.

This will be followed by a process that will include a socio-economic impact assessment. It will also involve public consultation, and review of the feedback before finalisation.

The ministry said the ultimate aim is to close existing loopholes in the system, and make sure vessels docking in Cape Town or other harbours stick to the new regulations.

“Once the process has been completed, the document will be presented to the Minister for consideration and promulgation. It is envisaged that the second part of the process will be completed in the second quarter of the next financial year,” Didiza added.

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