‘Unimaginable’ stench hits Cape Town

An investigation has been launched in Cape Town following complaints about a foul stench enveloping the city. Officials initially examined sewage facilities for leaks, deploying an environmental health team to identify the source. Ultimately, it was discovered that the odor emanated from a ship docked in the harbour, carrying 19,000 live cattle from Brazil to Iraq.

Zahid Badroodien, an official in the mayor’s office responsible for water and sanitation, confirmed on social media that the cattle ship was the cause of the “sewage smell blanketing parts of the city.” Animal welfare groups expressed concern over the conditions the animals endured on the vessel, criticizing the practice of live exports.

The National Council of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) strongly opposed the sea export of live animals. They dispatched a veterinary consultant to assess the welfare of the animals on board the ship. The SPCA stated that the overwhelming stench was indicative of the distressing conditions the animals faced, having spent over two weeks on board with a buildup of waste and ammonia.

The Al Kuwait, a Kuwaiti-flagged livestock vessel measuring 190 meters (623 feet), docked in Cape Town to load feed for the cattle. South Africa’s Democratic Alliance, which governs Cape Town, condemned the transport of live cattle, highlighting the perilous conditions, including extreme heat stress, rough seas, and potential injuries.

This incident follows a recent event where a ship carrying over 16,000 cattle and sheep bound for the Middle East was stranded at sea for nearly a month due to attacks by Houthi rebels. The ship returned to Australia, and the Australian government declined a re-export application, expressing concerns about the health and welfare of the livestock.

Badroodien noted that the ship carrying the live cattle from Brazil to Iraq was scheduled to depart soon. The situation underscores the ongoing debate surrounding the ethical and humane treatment of animals in the context of international livestock transportation.

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