SPCA removes neglected pigs
Bloemfontein - The SPCA has removed the first group of 25 neglected pigs from a huge communal pig pen at Meloding near Virginia to kennels for their owners to reclaim.
The animal welfare organisation could only handle 25 pigs at a time, leaving behind some 220 pigs, in different stages of neglect, at the communal kraal, spokesperson for the Virginia SPCA Thea Smit said on Tuesday.
The first group had to be removed under police protection, as some local residents had threatened SPCA officials when it became clear the pigs would be removed.
"The pigs would stay with us for the owners to claim back under conditions for better care and holding areas, which we would have to approve first."
This follows an inspection by the SPCA at a site in Meloding after complaints about conditions at the massive communal pig pen.
Smit said the pigs, initially more than 500, were found without water, proper food and shelter.
Many also had injuries, skin problems and carried sicknesses caused by internal parasites.
"The animals were a health risk to the community, and if any of the meat of slaughtered animals might have been consumed, the health risk was huge," said Smit.
Some 15 pigs were found squeezed into a two-by-two-metre pen.
Smit said local pig owners removed about half the original number of animals at night since the inspections started about a week ago.
The Virginia SPCA and the Matjhabeng local municipality were working together to solve the problem.
It had been reported that the municipality was unaware of the situation, and that various municipal regulations had been violated in the process.
Smit said although the area was not suited for a massive pig holding area, steps had been taken to organise tanks for water.
"There is no water for the remaining animals... at least they will have water."