KZN croc farmer fined

2013-01-18 11:33

Crocodile. (Shutterstock)

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Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal crocodile farmer has been fined R290 000 by the Department of Agriculture and Environmental affairs after he built separate cages for the animals without the necessary environmental impact study, according to a report on Friday.

This follows a National SPCA investigation in 2012 that exposed the dire circumstances in which Coen Labuschagne, owner of the Metcroc farm in Pongola, kept more than 200 crocodiles, Beeld reported.

Labuschagne reportedly kept the crocodiles in cages that were too small, too shallow and provided no protection from the elements.

The reptiles were isolated for up to three months to restrict their movements and prevent possible fights with other crocodiles, in order to prevent their skins from being damaged before slaughter.

The NSPCA charged Labuschagne accordingly, and he decided against appealing the fine.

According to inspector Nazareth Appalsamy, since he was fined Labuschagne has expanded his operation with an additional 1 500 crocodiles.

These are reportedly kept in the same cages, for eventual slaughter intended to harvest their skins for the leather trade.

"We have since been informed that the crocodiles live in these small enclosures not for three months, but for up to six to seven months."

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