Thousands of cattle on ‘Kuwaiti death ship’

Cape Town odour: Thousands of cattle on ‘Kuwaiti death ship’ spent weeks on board, with build-up of faeces and ammonia – NSPCA

Thousands of cattle on the ship spent over two weeks on board. File Picture: Pexels

Thousands of cattle on the ship spent over two weeks on board. File Picture: Pexels

Published 42m ago 19 Feb 2024


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The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has once again reiterated its firm stance against the live export of animals by sea.

The issue was put in the spotlight as Cape Town residents complained of a pungent sewage-like odour enveloping parts of the city, notably Woodstock, Observatory, Greenpoint, and the CBD.

City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation, Dr Zahid Badroodien said environmental health officials confirmed that the source of the stench was traced to a ship docked in the harbour and the ship is set to depart on Monday night.

According to the NSPCA, it has been taking the matter to the High Court since 2019.

“The NSPCA and the Cape of Good Hope SPCA is actively engaged on the Al Kuwait, a live export vessel currently docked at Cape Town Harbour. The ship is in the process of loading feed and is carrying 19,000 cattle bound for Iraq from Brazil,” said the NSPCA in a statement released on Monday.

The NSPCA said the its team has been aboard the vessel since 10pm on Sunday, working with the cooperation of the captain, to assess the welfare of the animals.

The NSPCA acknowledge concerns regarding the stench plaguing the city.

“This smell is indicative of the awful conditions the animals endure, having already spent 2½ weeks on board, with a build-up of faeces and ammonia,” said the association.

In 2022, the NSPCA celebrated a small victory when buyer and exporter of livestock, AI Mawashi SA, said it had not received an order from Kuwait to continue exporting live animals by sea from South Africa to the Middle East. The company, therefore, could confirm details for a 2022 quarter one shipment.

Kuwait is the largest international buyer of South African sheep.


In its statement at the time, Al Mawashi included its losses to the tune of R49,000,000, as a result of the NSPCAs attempts to protect the cattle from being exported to the Middle East on board their vessels.

The NSPCA is still working on the complete ban of live export of animals by sea from South Africa.