Vet probed for 'gruesome' dehorning

Rhino dehorning. (Beeld)
Rhino dehorning. (Beeld)

Johannesburg - A game vet is being accused of dehorning rhinos in a cruel and inhumane manner.

Dr Alex Lewis is now being investigated by the Hawks and the national SPCA, Beeld reported on Thursday.

A Hawks spokesperson said the case was registered on Wednesday but that Lewis had not yet been charged.

Lewis caused an outrage due to the new “surgical method” he used to dehorn rhinos on a farm outside Kroonstad.

Nerve endings

He apparently used a knife to cut off the rhino horn too close to the nerve endings. The animals bled heavily and blood vessels were cauterised with a gas flame. 

About five rhinos were apparently dehorned in this manner about 10 days ago.

Free State environmental affairs spokesperson Kgotso Tau said officials were present during the procedure and were worried about the way in which the horns were removed.

“We have never been so worried about a dehorning process as in this case.”

He said the animals appeared to be in pain and that too much blood may have flowed.

Lewis responded by saying he had dehorned “hundreds” of rhinos in this manner. 

But other game vets said no blood should flow during the procedure. The horn should be cut off right above the growing point.

They described photographs of the procedure as “gruesome”.

 

 
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