SANDF finally taking emaciated horse problem seriously - National Council of SPCAs

2018-05-08 14:04
SANDF horses were so neglected that some were forced to eat their own faeces. (NSPCA)

SANDF horses were so neglected that some were forced to eat their own faeces. (NSPCA)

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The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) is engaging with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to find solutions for horses that are poorly treated at the South African Army Specialist Infantry Capability (SAASIC) unit.

On Monday the NSPCA expressed anger at the poor state of care for horses at the unit in Potchefstroom. The organisation had to put down 25 severely emaciated horses.

"My inspectors spent the day on the base yesterday (Monday) working with the SANDF in identifying horses that will not be used in the future," NSPCA executive director Marcelle Meredith told News24.

"We will engage with the colonel who has been made responsible to sort the matter out and of course we will insist on a meeting with the chief of the SANDF."

READ: 25 emaciated horses put down at SANDF unit

The SANDF confirmed that 25 horses were euthanised at the base.

"The SANDF can confirm that following the euthanisation of 25 of its horses at [the] South African Army Specialist Infantry Capability unit in Potchefstroom due to compromised health, it is currently taking remedial actions to alleviate the plight of the horses under its care as a sign of its commitment to prevent cruelty, promote the welfare and alleviation of animal suffering," Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi said in a statement.

SANDF promises

Mgobozi said that the Military Veterinary Institute (MVI) had been asked to assist with the care of the animals and address the "health status of our animals".

"We will ensure that as long as there are horses on the base that they have good quality food, we will assist the MVI. We will do whatever it takes to ensure the welfare of the horses immediately," said Meredith.

The SANDF has promised that some horses will be moved to a "better facility" at Rooiwal, north of Pretoria, leaving 40 horses at the Potchefstroom base.

"With the help of the MVI, we have also enlisted extra personnel and veterinary physicians to help manage the animals and ensure that the highest standard of animal breeding behaviour is maintained by the SANDF," said Mgobozi.

The NSPCA had previously lambasted the SANDF for its failure to take seriously a memorandum of understanding that covers the care of animals and threatened to lay criminal charges.

However, the organisation said that the SANDF appeared to have had a wake-up call on the state of horses that were so badly treated that "the horses had no other option but to eat soil and their own faeces".

"We do believe that they have finally taken the matter seriously and the necessary attention has finally been given to the grave situation," said Meredith.

The Constitutional Court affirmed in December 2016 that the NSPCA has statutory power.

"It is declared that the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has the statutory power of private prosecution conferred upon it by section 6(2)(e) of the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 169 of 1993 read with section 8 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977," reads the judgment against the minister of justice and constitutional development and the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

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Read more on:    nspca  |  sandf  |  mahikeng  |  animals  |  animal cruelty

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