The NSPCA plans to lay criminal charges against those whose actions led to animals starving and eating one another on a farm near Potchefstroom, in the North West.
“The national council of SPCAs [NSPCA] confirms that criminal charges in terms of the Animal Protection Act will be laid against all involved whose actions or negligence led to animals suffering,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The council did not say whether this would also apply to National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise, who owns the multi-million-rand farm Modderfontein.
Police and officials of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) went to the farm on Saturday where dead and dying animals were found, the council said.
These included pigs, sheep, geese, goats and ducks.
It appeared the animals had been without water and food for around two weeks. There were no farmworkers on the property, no electricity, and the water pumps were broken.
The Sunday Independent reported that the surviving 85 pigs on the farm had begun cannibalising 58 dead pigs, and were reportedly drinking their own urine.
The NSPCA said an electrician was called in to repair the pump so that water could be provided to the remaining animals.
“The animals whose suffering was considered to be greatest and who were deemed to be beyond help were humanely euthanased,” it said.
The number of animals put down so far was 120, according to Beeld.
On Monday, sheep, goats, chickens and geese were removed from the farm. The cattle were left behind.
“A condition for their remaining on the farm was that appropriate food would be provided immediately for them,” it said. Modise said that over the past three years, she had visited the farm every two weeks. She had appointed vets, an environmentalist, an interim farm manager and lawyers to deal with problems on the farm. She learnt of the neglect late on Saturday.
Modise said the manager of the farm had asked for a leave of absence two weeks ago to attend to an urgent family matter. She said she believed his replacement had matters under control and was shocked to learn that he had disappeared.