STATEMENT ISSUED BY MTUTUZELI MBADI, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM
UDM is appalled at the reported fiasco surrounding the export of twenty-two (22)
giraffes and three (3) white rhinos that were to be sold to a Spanish zoo.
It is reported that these animals left SA on 5 October 2000 and then sent back
because Spanish authorities refused to allow their ship to dock due to the
foot-and-mouth outbreak in SA.
These wild animals spent five-weeks on a ship at sea and one wonders at the
trauma these animals experienced, since some of them stopped eating and they are
described as thin and in poor condition. It was reported that two (2) giraffes
died during the voyage.
It has been argued that consideration should be given to extending, not only
moral rights, but also even legal rights to animals. The UDM believes that there
is no valid reason why the circle of legal recognition of inherent worth should
not expand to include wildlife.
It is unacceptable that the animals left Durban a full month after
foot-and-mouth was identified in KwaZulu Natal. We would like to know who was
responsible for making such an ill-timed decision. It is also reported that the
return shipping company has now claimed ownership of the animals, pending
payment for the expenses incurred. Once again the animals are at the receiving
end of their human counterparts' careless behaviour.
It is being speculated that bungling or opportunism is at the root of this
cruelty, and the UDM would like to know what the South African authorities are
going to do to clarify this issue and what preventative steps they propose to
prevent this from re-occurring.
The UDM believes that more attention should be given to the welfare of both
domestic and wild animals at national level through the establishment of
comprehensive Animal Welfare legislation.
Legislation reflects our decisions regarding what is acceptable for the society
in which we live. Attitudes to wildlife also reflect the culture and society of
which we are a product, it is time for our legal system to provide a clearly
defined body of law, which will give effective protection to what remains of the
wildlife resource. Sadly, this type of ineptness undoes the good work being done
in the wildlife sector such as the new
trans-frontier park between SA, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The UDM supports the NSPCA's call for a government moratorium on the export of
live animals until such a time as there are regulations in place, since it seems
that there are very few guidelines for situations like these.
Prof Mtutuzeli Mbadi
UDM Spokesperson for Environmental Affairs and Tourism
14 November 2000