SPCA wins ConCourt case

2013-07-12 00:00

ANIMAL handlers can no longer get a quick permit from the local magistrate to use or train animals.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) yesterday won a case in the Constitutional Court in which it contested that almost all magistrate’s offices handled permits differently and that the welfare of the animals was rarely considered.

The Constitutional Court found that granting such permits is an administrative matter, which should not be handled by magistrates, as it offended the principle of separating the executive authority from the judiciary.

The court gave the government 18 months to rectify the unconstitutionality of the Performing Animals Protection Act.

The SPCA started the court proceedings because of what its court papers described as increasing concern about the ease with which people obtained permits to train and use animals for display, while there was mounting evidence that such animals were often mistreated.

The SPCA argued that magistrates do not have the expertise to issue such permits.

In view of yesterday’s verdict, the SPCA now expects the minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, to ask for the act to be amended so a committee of animal experts could be formed that would, in future, consider the granting of permits for animal training and performance use.

Such a committee could comprise representatives from the SPCA, the minister’s department and a veterinarian, it said.

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