UPDATE: The SPCA Namibia including its seven Branches nationwide; includes members, Management and Branch Committees, Branch Representatives, and employees, collectively over 300 individuals; strongly opposes the following: ‘Proposed TradePort Namibia’s On-the-hoof Sheep Import-Transit-Export trading by Sea to Asia and The Pacific (Middle-East and other Markets) Region, along the Trans-Oranje Corridor and through Lüderitz’, a scoping report which was shared on 30 August 2021 by EnviroLeap Consulting CC.
In August 2020, the SPCA was first contacted by EnviroLeap regarding the proposed trade in Namibia. On 4 September 2020, the SPCA submitted a letter of strong opposition (click here for the original position statement, which still stands). On 9 September 2020, an article in the Windhoek Express stated "The EIA consultant handling the environmental clearance application, Vilho Mtuleni, confirmed that Tradeport gave instructions to put the project on hold." Since then, there has not been a word on the matter and many believed it was put to rest. That is, until August 2021 when EnviroLeap released a 78 + 33 page scoping report.
The SPCA would like to address the following concerns:
The SPCA’s principles are guided by Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962, and, like most international animal welfare organizations, veterinarians, and many companies, the Five Freedoms, a widely accepted, evidence-based framework which represents the key aspects of animal welfare. Below is a list of the Five Freedoms, followed by relevant concerns:
Freedom from Hunger and Thirst. TradePort is suggesting a transition to a pellet-based diet whilst on land and a pellet-based diet whilst on the vessel. Pellets may form a small portion of a healthy diet for sheep, but are in no way sufficient as the sole diet for weeks.
Freedom from Discomfort. During transport, ‘the animals will be tightly packed. The flooring is either slippery or made in a non-slip cleating/cladding design which causes discomfort, abrasions, pressure-sores, and lameness which can lead to septicaemia and difficulty resting.’ (Animals Australia 2021)
Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease. TradePort has indicated that they will constantly monitor the health of the sheep. The SPCA requests further details, considering their intention to export between 10,000 and 70,000 sheep at a time. Similar shipments in the past have required only one veterinarian per vessel, with the responsibility of caring for up to 70,000 animals housed over many decks.
Freedom to Express Normal Behavior (by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind). There is no way of adhering to this principle
Freedom from Fear and Distress (by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering). In order to uphold the two aforementioned principles, The SPCA supports slaughter at the nearest Halal slaughterhouse (to ensure religious rights are adhered to) and the shipment of meat, a trade that is becoming more common, not only worldwide, but also in Kuwait.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The SPCA believes that by engaging in the live export and trade of livestock from South Africa and transiting through Namibia to the Middle East, TradePort should be held accountable to select their projects and business partners ethically, and should not simply claim ‘It is not our responsibility’ (Tjiramba 2021) and that their authority ceases to exist once the animals are at the destination country. In doing so, The SPCA asserts that TradePort is not only contributing to, but enabling animal cruelty.
Environment and Sustainability
EnviroLeap estimates they will use 600,000 liters of water per day in Keetmanshoop and Aus (an area where rainfall is especially scarce). This will strain the local water system, which will affect both animals and humans. This concern has been raised particularly by consulted farmers in Aus.
EnviroLeap lists ‘purchase of feed’ as an activity that will be financially beneficial to Namibia (Tjiramba 2021). In truth, a large portion of feed would likely have to be bought from South Africa or elsewhere. Namibia experienced feed shortages during the most recent drought, and by drastically increasing the number of sheep in the suggested areas, TradePort could potentially squeeze out local farmers from sourcing feed locally.
TradePort’s plan to dispose of carcasses in the sea creates concerns over the spread of zoonotic diseases and elevated levels of vaccines, antibiotics, and other medications which could negatively impact marine life.
Procedural Discrepancies/Misleading Information
Neither the SPCA, the Namibian Animal Welfare Association (NAWA) - a registered Welfare Organisation (WO498) - nor at least six private individuals registered as I&APs last year were invited to the stakeholder meeting in July 2021.
Furthermore, the SPCA believes that TradePort and EnviroLeap were negligent in failing to consult widely enough with stakeholders and interested parties, including but not limited to:
the citizens of Keetmanshoop, Aus and Lüderitz
relevant veterinarians (including the Directorate of Veterinary Medicine, the Veterinary Council, the State Veterinarian in Windhoek and in the affected towns (where applicable), and UNAM’s veterinary medicine program)
Namibian citizens, via a variety of newspapers in many languages (they only posted in New Era and Confidente)
the Keetmanshoop, Luderitz and Aus Town Council and Municipality, respectively
affected parties in South Africa and Kuwait
The report claims that this trade will provide jobs for Namibians, but no figure is provided for estimate employees at the feedlots. It only cites that 100 people would be employed during construction, and that is only if they build feedlots (Option 2) instead of using existing ones (Option 1) (Tjiramba 2021, p. 17-23). The SPCA maintains that an in-country slaughter-packaging-shipment project would employ more people, increase revenue and taxes for the local economy, and safeguard the welfare of the animals.
The report suggests this trade is part of a 'livestock revolution,’ with meat production and consumption being on the rise in Africa. The use of this term is misleading, as it suggests that meat would be produced and consumed by Namibians, while the sheep are actually sourced in South Africa, destined for the Middle East and only passing through.
The SPCA requests that EnviroLeap be recused from further engaging in the proposed project and calls for a second professional opinion by an objective, unbiased company. The SPCA maintains resolutely that all I&APs and relevant stakeholders should be given adequate time to comment.
The SPCA reiterates its strong opposition to the proposed project of the live animal import-transit-export from South Africa, through Namibia, to the Middle East, based on the welfare of the animals being severely compromised. The SPCA urges TradePort to abandon the project, and call for members of the public to express their concerns and opposition to the proposed project to TradePort and their public officials.
What can you do to help?
Please take action by contacting your government officials and add your name to those who oppose this archaic trade. You can print, sign, and complete the below form to the Ministry of Agriculture and email it or hand deliver the document to your government official. Your voice matters.
You can also sign the petition started by Namibian Animal Welfare Association (NAWA) who are gathering signatures against this horrendous trade.
Every action counts.