Shipping plan on ice

Director of Tradeport Namibia, Monty Ndjavera, told Namibian Sun he gave instructions on Tuesday to “put everything on hold for now”.

10 September 2020 | Local News

JANA-MARI SMITH

WINDHOEK



The Namibian company that planned to bring domestic livestock from South Africa and Botswana by road to Namibian seaports for export by ship to Kuwait has pulled the plug for now.

The decision was made in the wake of a petition and condemnation from local animal rights groups against the proposal to ship as many as 125 000 live farm animals over long distances in gruelling conditions to the Middle East.

Director of Tradeport Namibia, Monty Ndjavera, told Namibian Sun he gave instructions on Tuesday to “put everything on hold for now”.

This includes the environmental clearance application that had given rise to the protests.



Strong opposition

Ndjavera said his decision to stop the process was made after he noted the strong opposition, both locally and internationally, to the export of live farm animals via sea to foreign abattoirs or farm animal buyers.

He said his logistics company does not want to be involved in business that will attract widespread outrage.

He stressed he is a proud Namibian and wants to ensure his company's reputation remains intact. He further clarified that no specific clients had been identified, as the venture was still in its infancy.



'Nasty, cruel, draconian'

Dr Lynn Simpson, a veterinarian from Australia, was first introduced to the long-haul shipping trade of domestic animals in 1999.

To date, she has accompanied 57 long-distance sea voyages with livestock to the Middle East, Russia, Libya and Turkey.

She describes the trade as “a nasty, cruel, draconian trade, reliant on cruelty and suffering to be profitable, that no civilised country should want to be part of in 2020 onwards”.

Her experience proved that onboard conditions, where thousands of livestock are crammed together in unhygienic and crowded conditions, lead to “widespread and predictable animal suffering and deaths due to the inherently cruel nature of this trade”.

Alternative options

As an alternative, Simpson said countries should rather slaughter and process the meat domestically, and export the frozen products.

This will ensure jobs and by-products are kept local and benefit the local economy, instead of sending animals “to a stressfully cruel voyage followed by un-stunned, fully conscious ritual slaughter by knife”.

Lawyer and animal rights activist Ronel Lewies further underlined that the trade is riddled with “immense suffering to animals and constitutes gross animal abuse”.

She supports local efforts to stop the trade in its tracks, she added.



On hold

The environmental impact assessment consultant handling the clearance application, Vilho Mtuleni, confirmed that Tradeport gave instructions to put the project on hold.

He said registered parties would be notified in due course.

By yesterday the petition 'Say no to 'livestock by sea from Namibia to Kuwait' had garnered close to 1 200 signatures.

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