Horses and Donkeys Bludgeoned with Hammers, Skinned Alive


The NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit has uncovered another horrific donkey killing site in the Northern Cape, where hundreds of donkeys were illegally and brutally slaughtered on a farm in Olifantshoek.

Heinrich Smit and Dawid Pappie were arrested and have been charged in terms of the Animals Protection Act and the Meat Safety Act, following confirmation of a horror operation on their farm and witness reports of donkeys being bludgeoned with hammers and being skinned alive.

Despite the NSPCA opposing bail, both men were released on 18 January and will appear in the Khatu Magistrates Court on 18 February 2017.

The demand for donkey skins, supposedly for medicinal purposes, continues in our country. Donkey hide contains a gelatine which is claimed to be valued for medicinal purposes; according to the China Daily newspaper, it has “anti-aging properties, able to treat insomnia and improving blood circulation”. The gelatine is a key ingredient in China’s ejiao industry, which produces tablets, tonics and a sweet syrup. The skins are soaked and stewed to produce or release this substance.

Inspector Mpho Mokoena of the NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit advised that an investigation had begun after reports were received of missing donkeys in the area. The trail led to the Smit property and the horrendous findings.

“Our concern is for these gentle creatures that are killed in a barbaric and inhumane manner,” explained Inspector Mokoena.

The NSPCA will continue to work tirelessly to trace and bring to justice any operations which abuse and cruelly treat animals. That fact this incident occurred in a remote part of a vast province was no hindrance for the NSPCA. Our determination is steadfast and we will take any and all steps to protect animals, as well as to bring perpetrators of criminal acts against them to justice.

We are of the opinion that the Government is doing very little to end this illegal practice. Many people’s very existence depends on the donkey that they own.

May we again appeal to members of the public to submit information on matters of this kind  – anonymously if preferred – to


(Featured image: working donkeys in the Northern Cape of South Africa. Image credit South African Tourism, CC BY 2.0)

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The NSPCA was founded in 1955 as the Federation of SPCAs to provide a forum to bring uniformity to welfare legislation and standards. The SPCAs in South Africa are governed by the SPCA Act 169 of 1993 which is administered by the NSPCA, constituting us as a statutory body. Inspectors are authorised in terms of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 and the Performing Animals Protection Act No. 24 of 1935 with the SPCA movement collectively undertaking over 90% of all animal welfare investigations and prosecutions in South Africa. The NSPCA operates on a national basis with a team of dedicated Inspectors, who are specialists in their fields. We work tirelessly to protect animals from neglect and abuse and enforce the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 when deliberate cruelty takes place. The lives of tens of thousands of animals are improved because of our passion, our intervention, and our commitment to bring about long-term positive change for farmed animals, wildlife, research animals, domestics and animals used in entertainment and sport. In a country that spans over a million square kilometres, there are areas where there is no SPCA, no animal welfare organisations and no veterinary services. The NSPCA plays a vital role in bringing extraordinary support to these people and their animals. Click to see author's profile.

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