July 5, 2006
NSPCA of South Africa
Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition.
Freedom from discomfort.
Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
Freedom to express normal behavior.
Freedom from fear and distress.
These are the basic rights to which the National Council of SPCAs in South Africa (NSPCA) believes every animal is entitled. It was founded in 1955 as the Federation of SPCAs to provide a forum to bring uniformity to welfare legislation and standards. All SPCAs in South Africa are governed by SPCA Act 169 of 1993 which is administered by the NSPCA, thus constituting it as a statutory body. This establishes the organization's authority to enforce animal protection legislation that cannot be challenged in court. Thus, nspectors are authorized in terms of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 and Performing Animals Protection Act No. 24 of 1935 with the NSPCA. Currently, the SPCA is undertaking approximately 93% of all animal welfare investigations and prosecutions in the Republic.
The national society is the governing body for 97 societies throughout South Africa. The NSPCA deals with national issues with six operational units, namely, "Animals for Exhibition, Entertainment or Sport", "Farm Animals", "Global Campaigns", "Wildlife", "Research Ethics" and "Society Liaison" (this latter being for the training and support of SPCA personnel and Committees as well as for monitoring SPCA activities). In short, it carries a lot of weight in South Africa when it comes to the welfare of animals.
This is crucial when dealing with cruelty cases, like that of Flicker the dog, whose owner was brought to court over charges of dragging the dog behind his car, causing severe injuries. Or the case of a woman who no longer wanted her dog because it had given birth to six puppies who, instead of calling the society, she told some local schoolboys to stone the puppies to death, according to society sources. The NSPCA also operates in areas where either no other SPCA exists or support is required or specifically requested. It also responds to disasters such as emergencies, floods or fires.
Such vicious cases of animal abuse are rampant in South Africa, as they are all over the globe. One program the national society runs is similar to The HSUS's First Strike campaign [PDF], which establishes a clear connection between human violence and cruelty to animals. Called First Strike South Africa, the program was initiated in October 2005 after a visit from Humane Society International President & CEO Andrew Rowan.
The National Department of Education of South Africa asked the society to put together a learning plan that will be introduced in schools to teach children about the importance of animal welfare. It is hoped that this will help future generations of South Africans understand that animal cruelty and violence against humans have the same roots.
The NSPCA is actively involved in cruelty investigations, and it works closely with the police and local governments to examine cases of animal abuse. It also runs many educational programs, outreach activities, public awareness campaigns and training sessions. Some other national issues include compiling codes and regulations, developing of units or standards within industries involved with animals, monitoring welfare standards, negotiating at government and provincial levels, and offering courses to prison, South African police and traffic services
In a country with unemployment rates of 60 percent and higher in some areas, fundraising is always difficult. HSI admires the work that the national society does, often without adequate funding, and respects its diplomatic approach to dealing with animal welfare in a culturally diverse nation.
In February 2008, The NSPCA answered the call for participants in HSI's first Spay Day by spreading the message to its partners in South Africa. As a result, six animal welfare organizations stepped up to the plate to include their events as part of HSI's global effort to spay/neuter.
The NSPCA became an HSI Animal Advocate in 2001.