Cattle ship blamed for Cape Town stench leaves for Iraq


Cattle on board the Al Kuwait the livestock carrier ship
Image caption,Cattle pictured on the livestock carrier ship Al Kuwait after it docked in Cape Town harbour to take on feed

By Adam Durbin

BBC News

A cattle ship blamed for causing a foul smell engulfing Cape Town has departed for Iraq, an animal welfare group has confirmed.

The Al Kuwait ship docked in the city’s harbour from Brazil on Sunday to load feed for its cargo of 19,000 cows.

Residents soon began complaining of a “nauseating” stench emanating from it.

The NSPCA assessed the cattle on board the livestock vessel and described conditions as “abhorrent”, including an “extreme build-up of faeces and urine”.

In a statement on Tuesday, the animal welfare organisation – the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – said the cows had been on the ship for more than two weeks with many “animals having no option but to rest in dams of their own excrement”.

The NSPCA said it had discovered “diseased and injured” cattle during inspections between Sunday and Tuesday. Eight had to be euthanised due to their injuries, while others were found dead on board.

“This incident serves as a stark reminder that the live export of animals by sea is a gruesome and outdated practice that inflicts unnecessary suffering on sentient beings,” the statement said.

The NSPCA repeated its call for a total ban on live cattle transport via sea “once and for all”.

Al Kuwait ship docked in Cape Town harbour
Image caption,The Al Kuwait ship has left for Iraq with around 19,000 cows on board

One resident of Cape Town, Lerato Bashing, described the smell emanating from the Al Kuwait on Monday as the “worst stench I have ever come across in my life”.

She said the stench was so bad it felt “stuck in the back of my throat like a bad aftertaste”.

Another said the “overwhelming” odour of the ship “smelled as bad as one you’d imagine and I was put off breathing”.

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