State to go on issuing animal licences

2013-07-18 06:57

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Bloemfontein - Magistrates will continue issuing animal training and performance licences until the law is changed, a government official says.

Agriculture department spokesperson Antoinette Fourie said on Wednesday that all licence applicants still had to approach magistrates, as stipulated in the Performing Animals Protection Act.

Earlier, the Constitutional Court upheld an order that magistrates could not issue animal training and exhibition licences.

The court suspended an order of constitutional invalidity for 18 months to afford Parliament the opportunity to cure a defect in the act.

In a unanimous judgment the court found that performance by a magistrate of administrative duties unrelated to his or her judicial functions offended the separation of powers.

It follows a court bid by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for an order declaring two sections of the act unconstitutional.

The SPCA argued that magistrates did not have the expertise required to perform this function.

The high court upheld the SPCA's contention and gave the minister of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries at the time six months within which to rectify the defect.

"The department welcomes the judgment," Fourie said.

She said it meant that the act remained in force until the expiry of the period of suspension of the order, or until Parliament rectified the defect, whichever occurred first.

Fourie said all licences issued between 16 November 2012 and 10 July 2013 by the temporary committee established by the High Court in Pretoria remained valid until expiry.

Such licences could also be renewed by a magistrate in the meantime.

Fourie said the department was reviewing a number of acts, including those that pertained to animal welfare.

Read more on:    spca  |  animals  |  judiciary

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