South Africa Must Regulate the Export of Live Animals

Target: South Africa Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Goal: End inhumane transport conditions in South Africa by regulating their export

Every month, South African exporters send cattle to slaughter via cargo ships. Animals spend ten to fifteen days in cramped, unventilated pens while traveling over rough ocean waters. As a result, animals can suffer breathing problems, broken legs, and seasickness. Though there are many adequate slaughter facilities in South Africa, the animals are still exported live in the interest of profit.

Thousands of cattle at a time are corralled into pens small enough that they cannot move. They are then loaded below decks onto cargo ships not designed for animal transport, and therefore without proper ventilation. The animals are sent out to choppy seas and can fall on one another during the rough voyage or become seasick. Cattle are left to stand in their own manure in close conditions, which can cause the breakout and spread of disease. There is no veterinarian on board to tend to any injuries or illnesses, and hurt animals can be left to suffer for days. Due to the nature of the travel, water is not left for the cattle, and their feeding schedule is sporadic at best.

Upon their arrival, the cattle left standing can be too weak to leave the carrier. “Downed” cows are pulled by ropes to the next transport vessel. The weak ones are beaten, shocked, and even stung on their testicles to startle them into movement.

Though South Africa exports many kinds of livestock such as sheep, cows, goats, and ostriches, only the sheep’s travel conditions are consistent with animal welfare standards. The unregulated nature of many other livestock exports facilitates the mistreatment of these animals.

There are many simple alternatives to this transport. There are numerous South African slaughter facilities which could provide a more humane death to the cattle. Regulation of transport methods and conditions by the South African government could lessen the suffering of the animals greatly. Ask the South African Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to impose and enforce humane regulations for the export of live animals.


Dear South African Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry,

Tens of thousands of live animals are exported from South Africa yearly. Among these animals are livestock, such as goats, cows, and sheep. Though the export of sheep complies with Australia’s humane export standards, the export of cows, goats, and ostriches does not.

Cattle being shipped to slaughter in other countries are forced into pens where they cannot move. These cattle endure journeys of one to two weeks in dark, unventilated cargo vessels. The cattle can become injured or seasick, and are not provided with care as there are no veterinarians on board. Cattle are forced to stand in their own excrement, which when paired with the lack of ventilation can cause disease and infection.

Once the livestock have reached their destination, many are too weak to stand or leave their pens. Those that are unable to stand are dragged with ropes from their pens. The weak ones are beaten or shocked on their testicles in efforts to force them from their pens.

Proper transport procedures such as adequate space and ventilation are essential. Veterinary care is necessary to lessen the stress of seasick animals and tend to the hurt ones. Proper cleaning and feeding procedures should also be tended to by the exporter. The multimillion dollar South African live export industry should be required to provide adequate care to their animals.

I demand that legislation be passed and enforced to decrease the suffering of all livestock during their transport. I request that exporters be required to provide fresh air, proper food, and adequate space for livestock. Also, I ask that a veterinarian and cleaning staff  be on board to tend to the animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Creative Commons via Wikimedia

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