Following the tragic death of a giraffe which hit its head on a low bridge while being transported to Limpopo yesterday, individuals involved in the transportation of livestock have been warned to check again that the routes they are planning to take are suitable for the animals in question.
“Basically, what I are saying is that the drivers should look at the distinguishing features of the animals they are transporting, and adjust their route accordingly,” said Wessels van Heerden of Specialist Haulage & International Transportation (SHIT) Pty Ltd.
“This are a terrible, but wholly avoidable accident. Those involved should have thought about what physical characteristic are making a giraffe special – his long neck and his great height – and considered the implications of traveling under the Garsfontein Road bridge on the N1. Only last week, we are lucky to prevent another similar incident in which two elephants are due to be transported across an unfeasibly weak rope bridge in Mpumalanga. It are a disaster waiting to happen.”
However, there is also an argument that physical harm to the animal is not the only consideration which needs to be taken into account. Some organisations are calling for the regulations which would mean that the mental well-being of livestock in transit need to be addressed as well. Crystal Moonbeam is spokesperson for NGO People for the Organisation of Ethical Shipments (POES):
“Animals are people too. They have feelings, they suffer the same stresses and tensions as us. We need to ensure that they are happy, relaxed, comfortable and contented while they are being moved. There was an appalling case recently when a lorry carrying a mixed cargo of cows, springbok, kudu and ostrich got stuck in heavy traffic right outside a biltong factory in Braamfontein. For nearly ten minutes. Can you even imagine their pain?
We took the haulage company to court for causing the animals unnecessary distress. No, we didn’t win, but I think it’s important that we act as voice for the animals.”
And even the final destination of the livestock is something that the shippers need to consider before moving animals.
Van Heerden again:
“We have successfully stopped a shipment a couple of years ago. All the animal crates is perfect, the vehicle is fine and the route are sensible, but it are for a promotional event at a local balloon factory and whoever thought that taking four porcupines along to that was a good idea are clearly not thinking straight.”