Tradeport’s consultants urged to step down

04 October 2021 | Agriculture

Windhoek • [email protected]

The Namibian SPCA has called for the recusal of EnviroLeap, the consultancy working to secure environmental approval for Tradeport Namibia’s plans to import thousands of South African sheep for export into Namibia for sea voyage via Lüderitz to the Middle East.
“It is clear that EnviroLeap is biased in favour of the proposed project,” the SPCA stated last week in response to EnviroLeap’s environmental scoping report detailing Tradeport’s plans.
The SPCA called on EnviroLeap to be recused from the project, to make way for a “second professional opinion and consultation by another company who will be objective and unbiased in their reporting”.
Tradeport plans to buy up between 10 000 and 70 000 sheep in South Africa, and to transport the live animals through Namibia to the Lüderitz port for export via sea to the Middle East. Their plan has been met, since last year, by strong opposition.
One stakeholder described the plan as “fatally flawed on ethical grounds”.
Several organisations and individuals have repeatedly warned that Namibia should avoid becoming complicit in an industry that is drawing increasing global condemnation.
The trade is being phased out in other parts of the world due to the industry's bad reputation for animal cruelty, its harm to the ocean environment and conditions on board the vessels for humans.
And while the scoping report addresses some of the welfare issues raised, the SPCA and others say major animal welfare concerns remain despite the proposed mitigation measures, making the project a clear no-go.

Flawed
The SPCA argues that the scoping report shows clear bias by the environmental consultants hired by Tradeport to pave the way for a environmental clearance certificate.
The SPCA highlighted that EnviroLeap thanked the minority of registered stakeholders in support of the project, and “at one or more points dismissed or ridiculed those who have raised serious concerns and/or are in opposition of the proposed project”.
Moreover, the scoping report lacked independent and professional input, with the author and reviewers all professionally linked to EnviroLeap consultants, the SPCA pointed out.
“A review board should be impartial and separate from the authoring company,” the SPCA notes.
Another question raised are the lack of public consultations with relevant stakeholders.
The SPCA’s own review found that no public consultations were held in Keetmanshoop, Aus, Lüderitz, all directly affected by the proposed plans. Moreover, they found EnviroLeap’s report lacked input from professional Namibian experts on the relevant issues.
“It is evident that EnviroLeap did not consult widely enough in either the initial period for registering of I&APs, nor throughout the one year preparing the second report,” the SPCA found.

No comment
Last week, livestock producers questioned the report’s failure to address the foot and mouth disease outbreak in South Africa, which has led to a total ban of imports of sheep and other livestock into Namibia.
EnviroLeap refused to respond to several media queries on this issue.
Meanwhile, NamPort confirmed they had no knowledge about the project.
The ministry of agriculture last week confirmed that the in-transit of live sheep from South Africa to any of Namibia's Ports is not permitted.
The SPCA also points that they and several other critical interested and registered parties were not, as per the report, made aware of the scoping report before late August this year, or invited to further stakeholder meetings since last year.

Sensible
Several parties have noted that Namibia is being targeted by Middle Eastern importers because of mounting pressure in South Africa to stop the trade.
The SPCA argues that if Tradeport is serious about animal welfare, “they should rather support slaughter in the originating country and export of frozen meat - a market that is growing and which is more sustainable and financially beneficial for the country where the animals originate”.
The SPCA warned that by participating in the trade, Tradeport “is knowingly contributing to the fear and distress of the animals”, and while the scoping report argues that neither Tradeport or Namibia has any legal responsibility for the animal welfare onboard, the SPCA stressed that “it does not rid TradePort of any responsibility in not only contributing to, but enabling animal cruelty.”

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