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NSPCA has grave concerns over imported chickens

Dec 20 2013 11:00


Johannesburg - The South African market has been flooded with frozen and pre-packaged chicken and chicken pieces from other countries.

The issue came under the spotlight in August this year when Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies increased the tariff on imported poultry and poultry products in an effort to protect local producers and halt job cuts.

“Buy and eat local - responsibly” is the message from the National Council of SPCAs, which has taken the matter further in the light of grave concerns regarding the lack of welfare standards for birds produced for consumption, especially from China and Brazil.

Slaughter methods

Farm animal protection unit manager, Andries Venter stated that “South Africa has better controls in terms of welfare measures.

"We call upon people to ask where the chicken they are buying comes from.

"If the label does not state the country of origin, ask the manager of the store. You have the right to choose.”

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) said that their personnel went to China and Brazil to train local people in humane slaughter methods.

WSPA quotes “simple lack of expertise, skills and appropriate technology” as the reason why there is intense suffering of animals at the time of slaughter in those countries - some of them Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries."

Venter said that over and above the ethical issue of dumping the bodies of abused chickens in South Africa, was the key question of animal welfare.

"To us at the NSPCA this is first and foremost.
"The WSPA claim an 85% decrease in improperly stunned birds in slaughterhouses after their training.

"The previous statistic is horrific.

"It also means that 15% of chickens are still suffering unnecessarily through botched slaughter processes.

"WSPA claims that 258 million chicken, pigs and cattle were slaughtered in China and Brazil this year.”

Treatment of animals

The NSPCA urges all caring people to be aware of these facts and to demonstrate the power of consumers.

It urged consumers to buy local and buy responsibly. The NSPCA said that if in doubt, ask questions and if no satisfactory answer is given – shop elsewhere.

The NSPCA said importing chicken from countries like Brazil smacked of disrespect of South Africa's own moral standards when it came to the treatment of animals.

"We're not for one minute stating that South Africa and the treatment of our chickens/poultry - be it transport, handling and slaughtering - is anywhere near perfect, but we do have the means to take action where necessary.

"We're fortunate to have the NSPCA to monitor and take action as far as we possibly can."

nspca  |  johannesburg  |  poultry


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