A crime intelligence-driven operation in the Brandvlei area of Randfontein on the West Rand led to the discovery of donkey skins with an estimated value of R2 250 000 on a smallholding.
According to a post on the SA Police Service Facebook page, the Stocktheft and National Crime Intelligence units acted upon information provided of a “smelly warehouse” that led to the discovery of the animal skins in a store room.
“During preliminary investigation it was established that the store room was leased to a foreign national who was not found at the premises. It is alleged that the donkeys could have been illegally slaughtered for their skins,” police said in the Facebook post.
“Two cases under section 6 and 7 of the StockTheft Act, Act 57 of 1959 and the Meat Safety Act, Act 40 of 2000 are being investigated.”
Police said no arrests had been made as of yet but they called on anyone with information to contact Captain Ockert Van Der Walt on 012 734 7100 or call crime stop line on 0860010111.
— SA Police Service ???????? (@SAPoliceService) February 20, 2017
Last year, the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) issued a media statement saying the demand for donkey hide, which contains gelatine, was supposedly for medical purposes, such as treating anti-aging, insomnia and blood circulation.
The Highveld Horse Care Unit’s managing director Bev Seabourne told The Citizen in October that the illegal slaughter of donkeys for the trade in their hides was rapidly diminishing the donkey population in South Africa and the unit had been investigating such illegal slaughter and trade in donkey hides for about a year. They had been prosecuting individuals that had been caught in the act since May 2015.
Last week Wednesday, the unit posted on their Facebook page that 300 donkey skins were confiscated at OR Tambo International Airport.
On January 31, the NSPCA issued a statement that two people facing charges of cruelty laid by the National Council of SPCAs in terms of the Animal Protection Act were denied bail in the Sani Magistrate’s Court on January 30. This after 35 donkeys were found skinned in a kraal on a plot of land eight kilometres from the border between KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho in the Twin Springs area.
“Evidence indicates that the method of slaughter was horrendous,” read the NSPCA’s statement.
“Indications on the carcasses show a hole behind the head. That is, the donkeys appear to have been ‘immobilised’ with an instrument, then skinned, probably while still conscious. Death would have been slow and excruciatingly painful.”
The NSPCA said investigations were ongoing as reports received showed that more donkeys in the area could be at risk.
Earlier in January, the NSPCA said two people were arrested after the NSPCA Farm Animal Protection Unit uncovered a “horror donkey killing site” in the Northern Cape where hundreds of donkeys were found to be illegally and brutally slaughtered on a farm in Olifantshoek.
– Caxton News Service