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Unimaginable stench in Cape Town. 19,000 live cattle discovered on ship

Unimaginable stench in Cape Town. 19,000 live cattle discovered on ship

Image source: © canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
22.02.2024 16:00

Cape Town residents were taken aback by the foul smell that had engulfed the entire city. Animal rights activists want to fight the cause of the stench.

Residents of Cape Town in South Africa woke up to a foul smell on 19 February, which spread throughout the city. Initially, city officials suspected a sewer leak but later discovered that the real cause was a ship that had docked at the Cape Town port the previous evening.

The ship was carrying 19,000 cows in appalling conditions

The "stinking ship", having made a brief stopover in Cape Town en route from Brazil to Iraq, emitted an unpleasant smell that prompted city authorities to investigate. It turned out that the vessel was transporting 19,000 live cows. Residents breathed a sigh of relief when the ship departed from the South African port the following day, continuing its voyage.

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However, the National Council of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in South Africa reported that they had dispatched a veterinary consultant aboard the vessel to assess the welfare of the animals. The SPCA vehemently opposes the export of live animals by sea, asserting that the foul odour emanating from the ship reflects the appalling conditions endured by the animals. These unfortunate creatures had already spent over two weeks on board, surrounded by accumulated faeces and ammonia, Euronews reports.

The global problem of live animal transport

"The incident in Cape Town gained media attention because of the discomfort it caused people due to its stench," Corinna Reinisch of the Vienna-based international NGO Four Paws commented for euronews.com.

"However, the underlying issue is much bigger and more tragic. The suffering thousands of animals endure on a daily basis on this – and other vessels – must finally be addressed more critically. The problem is a global one, for example, more than 60 per cent of live animal exports from the EU to non-EU countries happen by sea, making it a major contributor to animal suffering," she added.

Will the EU restrict the transport of live animals?

Annually, over three million cows, sheep, and pigs are exported from the European Union to other countries, including many to Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa. Although the EU provides some legal protection for these animals, this safeguard ceases when they depart European territorial waters. Consequently, reports—such as those from Compassion in World Farming—highlight the distressing conditions these animals endure. These conditions include squalid housing, brutal handling, torturous restraint systems, and slow, painful slaughter.

The stance of individual EU countries varies significantly on this matter. While some countries strongly oppose such practices, others are more lenient. In September 2020, the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Carola Schouten, urged the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council to revisit animal welfare regulations and limit the transport of animals for slaughter. During the same year, a German regional court prohibited the live export of 132 young heifers, asserting that the conditions under which they would be slaughtered in Morocco were inhumane.

Source: euronews.com

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