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National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Al Mawashi (Pty) Ltd and Others (15 October 2020)

15 October 2020

Case Number : 995/2020

High Court: Eastern Cape Division, Grahamstown

Date of reasons for judgment: 15 October 2020

Acting Judge: Dukada

Judgment.

This matter concerned an application by the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NCSPCA) in two parts. In Part A the Applicant sought to interdict the Respondents from transporting live sheep by sea north of the equator. In Part B, the NCSPCA sought a total ban on the practice of transporting live sheep from anywhere in South Africa to anywhere north of the equator by anyone on any vessel during any time of the year. This judgment concerns Part A only.

The judgment concerned whether the NCSPCA had met the requirements for an interim interdict.

Numerous instances of cruelty were presented by the NCSPCA relating to a feedlot where sheep had been kept prior to being transported on previous voyages during 2019. However, subsequent voyages had taken place and had been inspected by regulatory authorities who had not raised any queries. This meant that the NCSPCA was not able to satisfy the requirement for “reasonable apprehension of harm” which was required for the interdict. The court found that the cruelty inflicted during 2019 was unlikely to recur in 2020.

The NCSPCA also failed to satisfy the court in relation to the balance of convenience favouring the granting of the interdict, due to the significant costs incurred by the Respondents through the delay in transporting the sheep which had been brought about by the litigation.

The judgment considered the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2019 edition) published by the World Organisation for Animal Health (knows as the OIE). South Africa is a member of the OIE and is bound by its standards, but as not incorporated the standards into domestic legislation.

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and two other government bodies were cited as respondents, but did not take part in part A of the application. The state respondents indicated that they would only participate in Part B of the litigation relating to the application to ban such transport of sheep by sea entirely.