An urgent High Court interdict brought by the NSPCA this morning has delayed the export of some 70 000 live sheep to the Middle East, at least till 16 July when a case brought by the NSPCA to argue against live sheep exports from South Africa is set down to be heard before the court.

The urgent interdict became necessary following the arrival at East London today of a 40-year-old converted car carrier, the Al Messilah, operated by international sheep traders Al Mawashi.

The interdict prevents Al Mawashi from loading the sheep aboard any of its vessels until after the verdict of the July case is known.

Al Mawashi have been amassing a cargo of sheep at their feedlot at Berlin, Eastern Cape for some time.

The shipment of live sheep to the Middle East at this time of year sees the ship arriving in the waters of the Gulf when temperatures there are approaching their maximum, thus leading to deaths among the sheep from heatstroke.

In 2017 the Al Messilah was banned from loading Australian sheep following an incident where about 3 000 head of sheep died aboard, out of a cargo of some 69 000, because of defects.

Photo credit: Anthony Legg. Fremantle, Australia.

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