At least 5,300 crabs were left in a cargo facility at OR Tambo International Airport, in the sun, after a shipment from Mozambique to Hong Kong was cancelled.
The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) was alerted to the shipment and subsequent pain the crabs had to endure on August 20, after the crabs were left in the sun to die for nine days before they were discovered.
They were reportedly infested with maggots and had no food or water.
The company that shipped the crabs did reportedly not adhere to International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations, and had packaged and restrained the crustaceans in an inhumane way, the NSPCA said. The subsequent abandoning of the shipment in the sun further transgressed IATA regulations.
“It is disheartening that these living creatures would be treated so horrifically and that the attitude towards crabs is that of ‘perishable cargo’ as opposed to live animals,” said Arno De Klerk, manager of the NSPCA’s Special Projects Unit.
The NSPCA said more than half of the crabs were still alive when they were found, and had to be euthanised.
The organisation said it was conducting an investigation, and would not hesitate to lay charges.
(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)