7 March 2020
PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF ANIMALS, DON’T EXPORT LIVE ANIMALS – MJCHT
“The rights of the animals must be respected” says Shaykh Achmat Sedick, Director of Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT). Animal welfare organisations and halal certification bodies such as the MJCHT have raised the alarm on South Africa’s live export of animals by sea for the purposes of slaughter. Led by an NGO called Beauty without Cruelty, a range of animal rights activists protested outside of Parliament on Saturday, 7 March 2020 to urge government to reassess its policies on animal exports and to uphold the Animal Protection Act No 71 of 1962 and World Organisation for Animal Health Minimum Standards.
Whilst supporting the cause, Shaykh Achmat Sedick said “our concern is for the welfare of the animals”. From an Islamic perspective, the condition of the animals should be ‘tayyib’, which means that when the animals are transported, it must be done with utmost care in order not to harm the animal in any way physically or to cause the animal any unnecessary stress, which is not the case. Therefore, it violates the requirements and standards needed for the animal to be considered ‘tayyib’, a requirement for halal certification.
Shaykh Sedick said he was concerned about the mass exporting of livestock as recorded from cases where government could not provide the necessary safety conditions for the animals on sea-vessels.
“As Muslims, we need to support this effort, it is important for us to care for animals. The animals are a creation of Allah (Glory Be to Him), we need to be compassionate towards animals at all times.”
Toni Brockhoven, the national chairperson of Beauty without Cruelty said, “We have seen cases of thousands of animals crammed together on a ship. Some of them suffer sea-sickness and end up neck-deep in their own faeces and urine, unable to move or access food and water. They literally cook to death because they suffer heat stress. It’s completely unacceptable,”.
On Friday, the National Council of SPCA’s high court bid to ban the live animal export trade in South Africa was struck off the roll. The NSPCA took legal action against the government, a Middle East meat import company and local farming trust, after 60 000 sheep had been loaded onto a vessel at the East London harbour in September, destined for the Middle East for slaughter.
“We believe there are plans to send another 70 000 local sheep abroad in the next week or two. This is not about whether one eats animals or not. We are calling on everyone with a conscience to join us in this protest,” said Brockhoven.
Protester handed over a memorandum calling on the government to review its support for live export for farm animals.
“We want animals to be slaughtered according to Islamic rites locally and the carcass should be sent overseas. That is the most reasonable and logical thing to do,” she said.