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08 MARCH 2024

Yet another livestock carrier is on its way around South Africa, this time from Australia to the port of Haifa in Israel. 

The MV Bahijah, carrying around 15000 cattle and sheep, first set off on 5th January 2024 to the Middle East but was recalled on about 20th January because of a threat of attack by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

The Bahijah arrived back at the Australian port of Fremantle on about 12th February.  The animals were off-loaded and taken by truck to feed-lots while application was made for a renewed export permit.  The same animals were then trucked and reloaded on board the Bahijah, and the vessel then set off again on 3 March.


This time it is en route around the Cape of Good Hope in a journey to slaughter that is anticipated to last 33 days, making its arrival at Haifa somewhere around 5th April.

Research by Animal Voice shows that shipping refrigerated or frozen meat is unquestionably the cheaper option, and that long distance shipping of living animals to slaughter is dictated largely by religious food-preparation rules.

Animal Voice asks the question: Can technology not somehow come to the rescue of these beleaguered animals in such a way as to reassure importers of meat that religious rules were rigorously abided by in the slaughter process in the animals’ home country?

For example, a live feed of the process via webcam could be monitored remotely in the meat’s destination country. This relatively cheap upgrade within slaughterhouses could result in dramatically less cruelty, higher quality meat, and save a substantial amount of money.

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to the

World Organisation for Animal Health

We, the people of South Africa, petition the World Organisation for Animal Health 

to help bring an end,

as a matter of urgency,

to the international trade in

living animals to slaughter

in foreign countries.


This trade is at odds with…

  • the evolving standards of decency in a world that is increasingly aware of our impact on the environment, and the profound sentience of other species.

This trade is at odds with…

  • the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 which place human dignity “at the heart” of development efforts and, in terms of Agenda Point 9: “envisages a world where …humanity lives in harmony with nature and in which wildlife and other living species are protected.” 

This trade is at odds with…

  • the elevation of Animal Welfare into the Human Rights domain by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in General Comment 26 Art 35 whereby “Children must be protected from all forms of physical and psychological violence and from exposure to violence, such as domestic violence or violence inflicted on animals”, in order that violence is not normalised in the minds of children.

The recent docking during the night of 18 February 2024

at Cape Town’s Table Bay harbour of the Al Kuwait livestock carrier with its ‘cargo’ of 19 000 cattle en-route to Iraq (a trip of 25 days duration), made international headlines and caused an uproar in every local newspaper, every local radio and television station, with pickets and demonstrations along the roadside and the closure of schools and businesses due to the never-experienced-before stench that emanated from the ship and spread as far as 22 kms away from the Cape Town CBD. The Water and Sanitation Department of the City of Cape Town went into overdrive on social media to reassure citizens that there had not been a complete breakdown of the city’s sewers.

Children were very much aware and became part of the trauma of knowing that 19 000 cattle could not be disembarked and assisted due to government fears of disease.

Rationale for this transportation is for the animals to be ‘sacrificed as a religious tradition’. We recognise that slaughter without stunning is permitted by the WOAH recommendations. However, many aspects of slaughter in the Middle East – such as severing leg tendons, suspending fully conscious animals upside down, and multiple throat stabs or cuts – are in clear breach of the WOAH recommendations on welfare at slaughter.

In addition, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child are currently addressing such ‘traditions & practices’ where animals are sacrificed in the presence of children, "normalising" such practices and causing an erosion of innate empathy and compassion.

This is also inconsistent with the principles of ‘love & kindness’ asserted by most religious philosophies and therefore is at odds with the UN General Comment 14 Article 57 that “Although preservation of religious and cultural values and traditions as part of the identity of the child must be taken into consideration, practices that are inconsistent or incompatible with the rights established in the Convention are not in the child’s best interests. Cultural identity cannot excuse or justify the perpetuation by decision-makers and authorities of traditions and cultural values that deny the child or children the rights guaranteed by the Convention.”

Contrary to the efforts made by the United Nations for a better world, the suffering of animals caused by this trade is so egregiously unconscionable…

  • that it strips humans of their right to dignity replacing this quality with a sense of shame, demoralisation and helplessness. It destroys the fabric of proud and decent societies and makes a mockery of so-called animal protection laws and regulations.

  • that it ignores the very science that made General Comment 26 come into being, namely: exposure to violence inflicted on those at our mercy – be it domestic, societal or inflicted on an animal - is dehumanizing and erodes the very qualities that makes us human – empathy and compassion. This desensitisation and normalisation of violence and abuse perpetuates a mentality that objectifies animals, and demeans the fundamental and innate nature of mankind.

Of special note: we remind WOAH of it's own Terrestrial Animal Health Code which recommends that the amount of time animals

spend on journeys by land and sea should be

kept to a minimum.


Chapters 7.2 and 7.3

THEREFORE, we call on WOAH to support the human rights we hold so dear, with urgency and determination, and urge your member countries to bring to an end live transport of animals to slaughter, replacing this trade with refrigerated and/or frozen meat.

See the letter from CIWF to Brazil's Minister of Agriculture re live animal exports from Brazil to the Middle East


22 MARCH 2024

Somewhere between survival mode and death – with 16 or 17 days still to go… 

A VET speaks out...

As the cattle and sheep aboard the Bahijah livestock carrier endure the high seas along the west coast of the African continent en route to Israel for slaughter, Animal Voice asked for veterinary interpretation of their probable state of being at this stage.

He said: “In terms of health these animals are going to be injured, bruised, dehydrated, starved and in a state of marked catabolism with the inevitable increased levels of circulating cortisol, adrenaline and ketones, and steeped in filth. All of this doesn’t bode well for meat quality and hygiene, or potential zoonotic implications for Man."

02 APRIL 2024

As  the 16000 cattle and sheep aboard the Bahijah livestock carrier draw closer to their destination , another livestock carrier, the Al Messilah is expected to dock in the South African port of East London today to load up some 60 000 sheep, 1500 cattle and 200 goats destined for slaughter in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. To read more about the journey that lies ahead for them, follow the Daily Maverick (, the NSPCA website, Stop Live Export SA, and Ban Animal Trading.


and give your support to the NSPCA as it battles to stop life-transport-to-slaughter 

05 APRIL 2024

For the cattle and sheep aboard the Bahijah livestock carrier, there are only a few hours to go before the blessed release of reaching the end of their journey – and their lives  at the Israeli port of Haifa.

See the map for the Bahijah’s current position.

The livestock carrier is scheduled to reach the Port of Haifa in Israel at around 3am tomorrow morning.

When it does so, these fellow beings will have travelled some 35 days in tortuous conditions and traversed more than half the circumference of the globe to their slaughter.

Based on the tools provided by VesselFinder, the distance travelled by the Bahija livestock carrier between Fremantle (the point of departure in Australia) and the point of disembarkation at Haifa in Israel, will have been approximately 12,000 nautical miles, more than half the circumference of the earth at the equator (21 600 nautical miles).

What unimaginable suffering; what madness.

We thank you for your valued support in petitioning the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) for a stop to be brought to the horrific suffering involved in the long-distance trade in live animals to slaughter.

Your name will now join ours, as The Humane Education Trust, in our appeal to the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) as well as to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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10 APRIL 2024

The sea trade in South Africa’s live sheep and cattle to slaughter in the Middle East is set to ‘boom’, according to Dewald Olivier, CEO of the Red Meat Association.

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Speaking to Cape Talk radio host Lester Kiewit today, Olivier said that South Africa’s ‘already booming’
R70 billion red meat trade generated 600 000 jobs and with the entry of Saudi Arabia into the market, he anticipated the trade would escalate in ‘leaps and bounds’.

Part of his industry’s development strategy for 2030, he said, was to assist small scale farmers gain access to the trade and Saudi Arabia represented a ‘massive market’.

Asked by Lester Kiewit about the ethics of the trade in live animals to slaughter, and the sustainability of red meat, given the fact that it is believed to exacerbate climate change, Olivier said that from an ethical perspective, the Red Meat Association was doing everything possible to operate at international standards and that it should be remembered that people were dying of hunger.

Animal Voice has emailed Mr Olivier to establish why the demand he speaks of cannot be met by frozen or chilled meat.

Help stopthe madnessfloating feedlots

to the
and the

Please help bring an end to live transport of animals to slaughter. 
I object to this outrageous infliction of unnecessary suffering on highly sentient beings.


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