The proposed amendment has been put out to the public for comment, a phase of the process that is due to close at the end of June.
Angela Didiza, Minister of the DALRRD, has posted a web page for institutions, organisations and individuals to comment on the proposed amendments – of which 24,252 people have participated so far.
SOUTH AFRICA is deliberating over a radical review of their Meat Safety Act that wildlife activists fear could “pave the way” for elephants, rhinos, giraffes and every animal listed for human consumption. The South African government first announced the proposed amendment to Schedule 1 of the Meat Safety Act 2000 back in February, which is yet to be implemented.
Wildlife campaigners and officials fear the law change could enable animals to be eaten by humans in the future. Some speculate it may be part of a broader plan to add more creatures to the menu and to launch a rare meat industry for international markets.
There are additional concerns that the suggested alterations could put endangered species at greater risk, cause additional problems for anti-poachers and in a worst case scenario potentially increase the risk of zoonotic transmissions.
Questions have been raised about new proposals made for The Meat Safety Act due to potentially troubling wording that appears to suggest all animals – including endangered and threatened species – could be fit for human and animal consumption.
While the act presides over the “safety of animal products” with respect to abattoirs, import and exportation, and safety schemes, government officials and wildlife campaigners fear the worst.
They are concerned by the inclusion of 33 wild species – including rhinos, giraffes, elephants and hippopotamuses – that appears to make it “legal” for animal “slaughter, consumption, import, export and sale”.
It also stated that the act “applies to all other species of animals not mentioned including birds, fish and reptiles that may be slaughtered as food for human and animal consumption”.