Saying NO to Fireworks

NoToFireworksWe recently held our International Animal week and part of our theme for this week was making people aware of the dangers of fireworks to animals.

Its Guy Fawkes Day, Diwali and New Year soon and these days are especially of concern to us.  I am still not entirely sure why we even celebrate Guy Fawkes Day as it originated in Britain and does not really concern us South Africans in any which way! We receive many calls of lost animals and even injured ones during this time. An animal that is terrified of the noise will try and escape and run away. It then could be injured whilst trying to escape or whilst they are on the run.  Many potentially fatal situations arise from these loud fireworks.

What humans perceive as a loud bang up in the sky, animals perceive as rather a resounding bomb. To them it truly feels like the world is ending. They start to shiver, whine, cry and their hearts race. They cannot understand that those bangs are not going to hurt them. They are simply terrified. They will try and run from what they think, is dangerous. Loud, sudden bangs and booms are like living in a war zone to a sensitive animal.

We don’t like it when our loved one’s experience extreme fear so why should we want to allow our beloved pets to experience this? It is unkind, thoughtless and irresponsible.

Please say NO to loud fireworks! The bright, fun, dazzling ones are ok but the noisy ones really frighten the living daylights out of animals.

If anyone in your neighbourhood lets off loud fireworks and your dog or cat is afraid, please find them a dark, quiet corner in your home where they will be safe. Close the curtains, put on the radio or tv and give them lots of attention and love.

No-one is allowed to let off fireworks on a road, so please report this if it is taking place. Children are also not allowed to buy or let off fireworks. No-one is allowed to buy fireworks from a street vendor either. Licenses must be produced by anyone selling fireworks. The Police may be called in if any of these rules are broken.

So, with the “silly season” just around the corner, please be extra protective of your pets and enjoy the bright and dazzling fireworks safely and quietly.

If any problems with animals and fireworks do arise, please contact us on
033 – 330 4557.

Until next time, take care

Tess Fernandez, PRO for uMngeni SPCA

Pick n Pay – Welfare Friendly

Retail group Pick n Pay has come out with strong support of the NSPCA Animal Farm Unit’s position on the total banning of sow crates by 2016.

Ian Crook, National General Manager of Pick n Pay Butchery said that the company was communicating with SAPPO (South African Pork Producers Association) and all Pick n Pay’s  suppliers of pork products in the light of their support of the ban. It was confirmed that any new suppliers to Pick n Pay had to demonstrate prove that the crating system was excluded from any building facilities.

“Our auditing procedures will keep careful track of our suppliers and report back to us regularly on their progress.”

Pick n Pay has been working with the NSPCA’s Animal Farm Unit and agrees with the NSPCA that there will be no further extension of the phasing out of sow stalls. 2016 is the absolute limit.

“We agree that it has already been too long. We think that five years from now is reasonable and realistic.”

The N SPCA thanks Pick n Pay for this position. It is a meaningful stance which places the company at the forefront of welfare standards. It is hoped that where they lead, others will follow.

Information and visuals on the system of crating sows can be found on www.nspca.co.za .

A previous media statement “Misleading the Public and Producers” can be found under Media Releases on www.nspca.co.za in which the NSPCA expresses opposition to the proposal by SAAPO to extend the deadline for the abolition of sow crates until 2020.

LG Cellphone Advert Withdrawn

Ten individuals in addition to the National Council of SPCAs complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regarding the LG Cellphone advertisement: – the one where a young girl sprays a spider with shaving foam. The complaints were “that the commercial perpetuates negative conceptions about spiders and promotes the unnecessary and cruel killing of living creatures. This would negatively influence children.”

The NSPCA stated in a communication to the ASA that, “The message in this advertisement is abominable and we firmly believe it contravenes Section 18 of the ASA Code. It would be interesting to measure this against the Animals Protection Act itself. It is beyond belief that anyone could come up with such an idea. We wonder which advertising agency this was.”

The NSPCA was advised on Friday 18 February that commercial had been withdrawn by LG and would not be broadcast in South Africa again.

LG stated in its defence that the commercial “was produced in Korea as part of a global campaign.”

In which case, WELL DONE SOUTH AFRICA! We congratulate the complainants for their stance and commitment to the cause. The ASA is thanked for reviewing this issue and for its efficiency in giving detailed feedback to the complainants.

The N SPCA felt sufficiently strongly on this issue that the document from the ASA has been forwarded to overseas organisations including the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the Humane Society in the United States who may wish to take up the issue elsewhere.

The NSPCA refutes the argument put forward to the ASA by LG that in the advertisement, covering a spider with shaving foam “allows for the safe removal and release of the spider without harm to the environment.”

On the contrary, it is a cruel way of killing a spider.

Live Chicks Dumped

A response team from the National Council of SPCAs reacted immediately to a report of eggs hatching on a rubbish dump in the Lichtenburg area of the North West Province. Caring and alert police officers lodged a report that there were day-old if not newborn chicks at the local dumping site. Police on the scene began going through the birds and removing any injured ones.

Appreciation is expressed to individuals at the dump who started gathering the chicks and   who moved them into the shade under trees.

The estimation is that there are thousands of chicks plus eggs constantly hatching.

Two teams from the NSPCA had the task of going through the eggs at the site to find live chicks and remove them from further occurrences of attacks by stray dogs. Removal of fertilised eggs that may be about to hatch was also undertaken.

There were dead bodies at the site, chicks that had burnt to death under the blazing sun.

Euthanasia of the remaining live chicks is the only solution.

A third team is on the way to the scene.

Similar instances have been known to have occurred elsewhere in the past.

The priority is the chicks – those already hatched and suffering as well as those currently hatching as the eggs lie in the sun.

When this immediate priority has been concluded, investigations will take place to uncover the company and individuals responsible who WILL face criminal charges.

NSPCA Assists Starving Ostriches

A report of dying ostrich was confirmed when the National Council of SPCAs arrived at Beestekraal Farm in Vleiland, 45 km from Laingsburg in the Western Cape on Friday 04 March.

“I arrived when it was almost dark,” explained Senior Inspector Grace de Lange of the N SPCA’s Farm Animal Unit. “I saw adult ostrich lying dead beside the fence.”

“When I returned the next day with personnel from the nearest SPCA in Worcester we estimated that there were around 40 carcasses of dead adult ostrich on the vast property plus around 30 dead chicks. A veterinarian with knowledge of ostrich was summoned from the Oudtshoorn area who carried out random autopsies.”

”The birds had starved to death.”

Five ostrich were euthanased, being considered beyond saving and suffering in their state of extreme emaciation.

Food was delivered for the 630 remaining ostrich (adults and chicks) who were still alive. They are being closely monitored.

The owner/farmer admitted being in financial difficulties.

Appreciation is expressed to the individual who reported this tragedy. The N SPCA emphasises that the delay in contacting the animal welfare organisation led to unnecessary suffering and death. It has been said before and it is again emphasised that no matter what the reason may be, if animals and their welfare are being compromised let us know and the sooner the better.

Criminal charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act will be laid.

The SPCA Oudtshoorn is thanked for assistance rendered.

Helping Beyond Borders

A team of inspectors from the National Council of SPCA’s Farm Animal Unit went into Botswana to assist in an emergency situation after a truck carrying cattle from Namibia to a feedlot in Mpumalanga had overturned in the vicinity of Kayne in southern Botswana.

The accident had occurred in the early morning of 16 March. The NSPCA was advised of the situation at 15h30 that day by our government’s National Department of Agriculture who requested assistance.

As the South African State Veterinary Services worked to make contact with their counterparts in Botswana. The NSPCA telephoned the SPCA in Gaberone. The NSPCA was advised that they only deal with domestic animals. Contact was made with the SPCA employee who was “on the road” a mere 85km away who advised that the emergency situation was too far away and that they didn’t deal with instances of that kind.

The NSPCA had already dispatched a team as we believe that animals always need to be given the benefit of any doubt. Some may still have been alive and needing assistance. It was around 300km from the NSPCA to the border alone and a further estimated 115km into Botswana.

Contact was made with Willie Booysen, the owner of Booysens Transport in Namibia, the company transporting the animals and also the owner of the cattle. He thought that the animals had been off-loaded and were safe. His understanding was that the animals would be returned to Namibia the following day as the feedlot in Mpumalanga had subsequently declined the “consignment”. A relief truck had been organised to collect the cattle and return them to Namibia.

The NSPCA team arrived to find that State Veterinarians from Botswana had off-loaded whatever animals they could. Local people had assisted in this regard. 17 animals were dead on the truck and 11 had to be put down to end their suffering. These animals were trapped beneath dead animals and were found by the NSPCA inspectors when they arrived on 17 March, some 28 hours after the accident.

The injured animals had not been put down by the veterinarians on the scene or by the police on 16 March as they did not have equipment to do so. That is, twenty eight hours after the trauma of the accident, injured cattle were still alive and suffering. Equipment brought to the scene by the NSPCA was used by the NSPCA personnel to put those animals out of their suffering humanely.

Senior Inspector Grace de Lange described the scene. “There was one cow with one leg half-sheared off, simply missing. Off-loaded animals lay with broken limbs. Injuries to animals still in the truck included broken limbs, head injuries, eye injuries and general trauma. The animals had not had water since they left Namibia on Tuesday morning until they were reached by the NSPCA on the Thursday morning. The truck was in full sunlight and the weather was hot to say the least.”

“The veterinarians on the scene agreed that the animals required water as a matter of urgency. It is very hard to even begin to describe the suffering and mayhem we experienced.”

The NSPCA openly asks how long those animals would have still been left to suffer if our team had not travelled to Botswana from Gauteng with the necessary equipment and a willingness to assist.

In addition, it is time that all vehicles/transporters carrying animals should have emergency equipment and the driver and co-driver should be trained to destroy animals that are so blatantly suffering. The transportation of animals from Namibia and Botswana and exported to other countries should be outlawed. The NSPCA intends to take this matter further.

To date, no response or enquiry has been received from the SPCA in Botswana which should be there for ALL ANIMALS. The NSPCA has always supported and assisted the SPCA in Botswana and has always assured them that our channels of communication are always open. It appears to be one-way communication.

The N SPCA works to protect and assist all species of animal. We respond to emergency situations including those across our borders when animals need help.

Thoughts go out to the individuals who work in such tragic situations.

Meet the team

Rita Sosibo

Rita SosiboRita is our kennel cleaner and has been with the organization for 9 months. Her role in maintaining the kennels, and keeping a high level of hygiene in these areas, is very important.

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