Al Kuwait cattle ship in Cape Town harbour: Over 74,000 South Africans demand halt to shipment of live farm animals

The Al-Kuwait is docked at Cape Town Harbour. Picture: Twitter

The Al-Kuwait is docked at Cape Town Harbour. Picture: Twitter

Published Feb 20, 2024


Over 74,000 South Africans have so far pledged their support to ongoing calls that the shipment of live farm animals be halted.

This comes after residents in Cape Town bemoaned a strong sewage-like odour enveloping parts of the city, particularly Woodstock, Observatory, Greenpoint, and the CBD.

In statement released on Tuesday, chairperson at Beauty Without Cruelty South Africa, Toni Brockhoven, said the organisation has called for an immediate moratorium on live farm animal exports and wants South African government to act ‘decisively’ in this matter.

Brockhoven proposed that the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) review its support for the live export of farmed animals and reiterated that the animals be dispatched according to halaal rites in South Africa.

“The growth and ongoing sustainability of South Africa’s agricultural sector should not be premised on practices which are irreconcilable with the principles of our Constitution, and with the findings of our courts. (In theory) industry practices shall comply at all times with the provisions of S2(1) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962. Live animal exports may be a profitable business, but less so than the exportation of processed meats,” read the statement.

Beauty Without Cruelty South Africa has suggested in the case of animals shipped from South African shores, that the animals should be killed on South African soil, according to the prescribed halaal requirements at an export abattoir.

What are the halaal requirements and rites?

The Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust’s director, Shaykh Achmat Sedick has also weighed in on the concerns and spoken out against the live export of sheep, questioning how the government could permit the shipping of tens of thousands of animals to the Middle East.

Sedick said these animals will not have had ‘tay-yib’, which means wholesome and humane treatment.

In order for halaal requirements to be met, the animals will have needed to have been provided rest, fresh food and water.

Meat from animals who have been subjected to cruelty is considered by Islam as impure and unlawful to eat.

Dr Abdul Rahman and Professor Hassan Aidaros, Members of the World Organisation for Animal Health concur, and in a paper in 2011 stated that “all the Islamic laws on the treatment of animals, including the method of slaughter, are based on compassion, fellow-feeling and benevolence.”

For meat to be considered halaal, animals must not be under stress or experience any discomfort prior to their slaughter.

They also should not be be mutilated, deformed, or diseased when killed.

Any meat that is obtained as a result of any departure from these requirements essentially becomes haram, or forbidden.

Why is the ship docked at Cape Town harbour?

The vessel is the 'Al Kuwait' and is en route to the Middle East. It is docked at the Port of Cape Town from Brazil to load animal feed for the livestock on board, with the SPCA inspecting the animals.

According to Transnet National Ports Authority, the estimated departure of the vessel is February 20, 2024.

Investigations into the matter continue.