Fight to Protect Donkeys in South Africa Continues – Horror Findings from Raid on Lion Farm


Having obtained a warrant to enter the property of the Excelsior Lion Farm near Tosca in the North West province, NSPCA personnel uncovered evidence of large numbers of donkeys having been inhumanely slaughtered. We also uncovered approximately 100 skins. 

The donkeys had not been pre-stunned to render them unconscious prior to slaughter. The method of killing is therefore in contravention of the Animals Protection Act, in terms of which criminal charges are being laid.

It is confirmed that 10 donkeys had been slaughtered during the night of 28 February.

On the property is an abattoir which is registered for the slaughter of cattle plus sheep and goats, but not for equines. Slaughtering donkeys in this facility is an offence.

The NSPCA team alerted the SAPS Stock Theft Unit and also the North West Province’s Veterinary Public Health Service. As a result, these organisations have worked alongside and in collaboration with us. Charges are being laid in terms of the Animals Protection Act, Stock Theft Act and the Meat Safety Act.

The NSPCA is of the opinion that this is a commercial operation which is involved in the donkey skin trade, and also linked to the recent sale in Hartswater in the North West Province, where an estimated 450 donkeys were auctioned and sold. NSPCA personnel were present at this auction, inspecting all animals and intervening when necessary. Three horses, a donkey and three sheep were euthanised at the sale on 25 January 2017 due to the severity and degree of their suffering.

The donkey skins found on the Tosca property are being removed to a place of safety. At this stage, approximately 100 skins have been loaded for removal.

The NSPCA Inspectorate team remains in the area, working on the case. Updates will be given in due course as further information is received. Our Facebook page will be updated with visuals and additional comment or input as received by the National Council of SPCAs as matters continue to unfold.

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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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