“Animals starving to death constitutes an emergency” is the message from the National Council of SPCAs to our Government. “You need to step in – and quickly.”
Our Government was advised of the dire situation of animals starving to death in the Northern Cape in late July. The NSPCA went public with appeals for assistance regarding starving animals in the Klein Damrose area of the Northern Cape. The area had been affected by fires, then suffered a drought. There was simply no grazing.
Assistance was rendered with food being purchased and delivered during the first week of August. It is now October.
The NSPCA undertook a follow-up visit of a 200km radius in the area on 04 and 05 October 2013, visiting affected communities in the Northern Cape where the situation is described as desperate. This followed lengthy and frequent communications with local Government who advised that the matter had been referred to higher authorities. No assistance has been provided and for some animals, it is simply too late.
Unofficial estimates received advise that R90 million per month will be needed to support the communities. This figure is based on the “carrying capacity” of the area rather than on the actual number of animals in these communities which is considerably higher.
The appeal of the NSPCA comes as we are unable to support such a huge area or the extent of relief required. It is a disaster and our Government needs to react with urgency.
One solution we put forward is for the Department of Agriculture to intervene and offer humane slaughtering facilities for livestock which will assist financially to enable the feeding of remaining animals. In these circumstances, communities should not be left to their own devices.
The most recent communication to both national Government and the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries from the NSPCA stresses the magnitude of the problem. “Communities are holding onto their dying stock in the hopes of some relief forthcoming soon”.
The NSPCA is a Non Profit Organisation and cannot support the animals affected in the whole region. We call upon the public to place pressure on all levels of Government as this situation is a Government responsibility. A disaster has been declared in the area. Too much time has already been lost.