Animals as Prizes

Animals as Prizes


More and more instances have been drawn to the attention of the NSPCA of competitions offering a live cow or a live sheep (or other animal) as a prize. These competitions have all been hailed as "a brain-child” at the outset by those running them: - agencies, organizations or businesses who admitted targeting the predominantly rural and impoverished populations.

The National Council for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) and the SPCA movement in South Africa opposes giving live animals as prizes.

Winners may not be in a position to transport, keep (or slaughter if applicable) these animals in a humane manner or in accordance with the relevant Codes and legislation. Should problems occur relating to the animals in any aspect of a promotion of this nature (including but not limited to care, handling, transportation and holding), then ALL those involved could find themselves liable in terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962.

It is no use saying that the competition or promotion is local. If the winner of a competition in, let's say Grahamstown, is a visitor from Sandton, he or she is entitled to the prize advertised and our comments above are applicable and extremely noteworthy. The organizer, company and its personnel or representatives simply cannot – it is not possible – ensure adherence to Codes and legislation in such circumstances.

There is also no question what the fate of the majority of these animals will be. Slaughter is unlikely to take place at a registered abattoir. Our concerns include how the animal will be killed as pre-stunning with a captive bolt "pistol” is unlikely. Suffering will result. We would go as far as to say that in our opinion, slaughter at non-registered abattoirs tends to be horrific and barbaric. This, in addition, to issues involving the health issue: - the safety of meat from animals killed "informally”.

We could go into further detail including the legal implications of selling meat of animal killed in such a way. But suffice to say that we urge companies to see the bigger picture and the implications before embarking on competitions or projects of this nature.

Over and above the legal implications and welfare issues involved in this matter are moral concerns, ethical issues and company image.

Product prizes are more appropriate. If this includes "Animals” then let the prize be packaged meat of animal killed at a registered abattoir and the food cleared for human consumption.

The final message of "beware the consequences” goes out to any store, company or organisation that considers displaying the animal(s) as prizes in public view – in-store or outside the premises. It might sound ludicrous but it has been done! Welfare issues arise as the obvious actions and reactions take place. Welfare conditions are far from ideal and may even violate the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962. Health issues and risks arise when (yes, it has happened) live farm animals are displayed outside and very close to food outlets.

Unacceptable, unethical and doing the name and reputation of the company (and anyone associated) no good whatsoever.

The NSPCA places on record its appreciation to all companies who have not taken this route. It is acknowledged that other companies went this route and decided against it after NSPCA or SPCA intervention. Hopefully this worrying trend will cease and responsibility will prevail. The welfare implications of such schemes cannot be emphasized enough.

The NSPCA looks forward to the day when no live animal will be offered or given as prizes.


Updated: 15 November 2012

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