South African National SPCA fights crocodile farming
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2013:
PONGOLA, KZN, South Africa––Fined the equivalent of $33,000 U.S. dollars by the South African Department of Agriculture & Environment for housing crocodiles in single pens shorter than the length of their bodies, Metroc Broedery owner Coen Labuscagne of Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal, “nevertheless has applied for permission to expand his operation to incarcerate 1,500 crocodiles,” South African National SPCA information officer Chris Kuch e-mailed to media on January 17, 2013. Labuscagne raises crocodiles for leather. “The aim of these pens,” in which each crocodile is kept for at least six to seven months, “is to increase growth of the crocodiles and ultimately avoid confrontation or interaction among other crocodiles, thereby guaranteeing no injuries to the skins,” explained NSPCA inspector Nazereth Apalsamy. “The crocodiles cannot lie or rest straight. There is no shade cloth or shelter or any heating, which is necessary depending on the season. All of this for a mere jacket or handbag.” Ministry for Agriculture & Environmental Affairs spokespearson Jeffrey Zihkali told Chris Makhaye of the Parktown New Age that the fine might be reduced because Labuscagne “has been complying with regulations.” “The NSPCA laid Animals Protection Act charges in January 2012,” said Kuch, “but the State declined to prosecute. The NSPCA stance is that keeping crocodiles incarcerated in single pens is inherently cruel, unacceptable, and a violation of the Animals Protection Act. Kuch noted that there are about 60 crocodile farms operating in South Africa, some holding more than 20,000 crocodiles. “No one species of animal deserves any less or any greater protection than any other,” Kuch said, noting that public discomfort with closely confining laying hens in battery cages and keeping pigs in sow stalls has led to these practices being phased out in much of the world. “The public needs to know that crocodiles are being intensively farmed and incarcerated. We need to make this known within our own country and to extend the awareness to overseas,” Kuch finished.