After a South African court recently gave permission for a Kuwaiti livestock company to ship thousands of sheep from Africa to the Middle East, PETA has placed new anti–live export billboards across South Africa—including near the country’s livestock export harbor—to remind everyone that sheep and other animals suffer immensely in the live-export industry.
Frightened animals, shipped from South Africa’s East London Harbour, endure weeks-long voyages inside cramped, barren containers in sweltering-hot conditions without fresh air, food, adequate water, or veterinary care. Many die of dehydration, starvation, or disease, while others are trampled to death or drown in their own waste.
Shipwrecks are another grave risk that live export poses. Earlier this year, a live-export ship heading from New Zealand to China capsized, killing 5,800 cows and all but one of its human crewmembers.
For those who survive the journey, the misery continues. At the animals’ final destination—usually in countries with weak animal protection laws—they’re subjected to horrible abuse and cruel slaughter methods.
Transporting live animals thousands of miles in such conditions is also a major cause of the spread of zoonotic diseases around the globe—including foot-and-mouth disease and COVID-19—making live-export ships a potential breeding ground for the next pandemic.
Governments in South Africa and around the world must ban live export for good.
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