Animal welfare and rights in South Africa

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Animal welfare and rights in South Africa is about the treatment of and laws concerning non-human animals in South Africa.


The Animal Protection Act 1962 covers "domestic animals and birds, and wild animals, birds, and reptiles that are in captivity or under the control of humans." It does not, therefore, apply to fish and wild animals not under the control of humans.[1]

The Act contains a detailed list of prohibited acts of cruelty including overloading, causing unnecessary suffering due to confinement, chaining or tethering, abandonment, unnecessarily denying food or water, keeping in a dirty or parasitic condition, or failing to provide veterinary assistance. There is also a general provision prohibiting wanton, unreasonable, or negligible commission or omission of acts resulting in unnecessary suffering. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for 2013/14 to 2016/17 mentions updating animal protection legislation.[1]

The anti-cruelty provisions of the Animal Protection Act 1962 apply to farmed animals. The Livestock Welfare Coordinating Committee (LWCC), managed by the South African Meat Industry Company, has the power to deal with production and game animal issues in farming. The NSPCA serves on the LWCC and ensures that animal welfare standards are being met and promoted.[1]

In 2014, South Africa received a D out of possible grades A,B,C,D,E,F,G on World Animal Protection's Animal Protection Index.[1]

Animals used for food[edit]

According to Tatjana von Bormann, coordinator of the World Wide Fund for Nature/Conservation International GreenChoice Project, "Beef in South Africa is mostly produced in feedlots or factory farms".[2] Pigs are also farmed intensively.[3]

The number of cattle in South Africa increased from roughly 1 million in 1994 to around 14.1 million in 2010. Beef consumption increased by 20% between 2000 and 2009.[4] From 2007-2015 chicken consumption increased by over 5% and pig consumption by 4% per year.[5] According to a 2013 source, roughly 1 billion chickens are slaughtered each year in South Africa.[6]

De-beaking, de-toeing, tail-docking, tooth pulling, castration, and dehorning of livestock without anaesthetic are legal,[6] as is confinement in gestation crates and battery cages.[5] The NSPCA has given the pork industry until 1 January 2017 to phase out the use of gestation crates or else the organisation will prosecute the farmers and industry for contravening Section 2(1)(b) of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962 for unnecessary confinement that causes suffering.[7]

Animals used in research[edit]

Animal experimentation, including testing cosmetics on animals, is legal in South Africa.[8] South Africa does not keep statistics on the number of animals used in research.[9] The NSPCA serves on various animal ethics committees to ensure that animals are not unnecessarily abused when used in research. No registered research is taking place in South Africa for cosmetic purposes.

Animal organisations[edit]

Animal activist organizations in South Africa include

  • Activists for Animals Africa (AAA), founded in 2011, states its aim is to bring about change for animals through advocacy, lobbying, boycotts, protests, and education programs.[11] It has ongoing campaigns against rhinoceros poaching and lion breeding.[12]
  • Beauty Without Cruelty South Africa campaigns against animal cosmetics testing.[8]
  • The Animal Anti-Cruelty League, founded 1956, is one of South Africa's major animal welfare organizations. They provide shelter for abandoned animals, run an adoption program, prosecute animal cruelty cases, and engage in humane education.[13]
  • African Vegan Outreach, a Beauty Without Cruelty affiliate, focuses on educating people about veganism.[14]
  • Ban Animal Trading South Africa, is an animal rights organization that exists to facilitate positive and meaningful change aimed at ending animal exploitation.
  • RabbitCare South Africa (RCSA) is an animal-welfare educational organization that works against the abuse of rabbits through educational programmes.[17]

See also[edit]


By country[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d World Animal Protection (November 2, 2014). "South Africa". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  2. ^ "Good Food Foodie". May 13, 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  3. ^ Caroline Hurry (July 3, 2014). "Go the whole hog – how 'Woolies', PnP face the horrors of pig farming". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  4. ^ E. C. Webb (July 2013). "The ethics of meat production and quality - a South African perspective". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Astrid Jankielsohn (December 2015). "The Hidden Cost of Eating Meat in South Africa: What Every Responsible Consumer Should Know". Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 28 (6).
  6. ^ a b Louise van der Merwe (October 28, 2013). "The cruelty of industrialised animal farming & human harm that follows it". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  7. ^ Magazines, Caxton. "Renewed pressure on use of gestation crates | Farmer's Weekly". Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  8. ^ a b Rebecca Jackman (April 2, 2013). "Animal testing for cosmetics legal in SA". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  9. ^ "Vivisection" (PDF). Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  10. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  11. ^ "About AAA". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  12. ^ "Campaigns & Initiatives". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  13. ^ Animal Anti-Cruelty League. "About Us". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  14. ^ "African Vegan Outreach". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  15. ^ Animal Voice South Africa. "Campaigns". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  16. ^ Animal Voice South Africa. "Humane Education". Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  17. ^