The Randburg SPCA is taking on parrot breeder Antonius Gerhardus Meiring, describing his court application for the return of his birds, seized from his property earlier this year, as “bereft of any moral fibre”.
“We find this very application to be bereft of any moral fibre, for to institute these proceedings against an organisation dedicated solely to the protection of animals is completely against good morals,” SPCA inspector Shiven Bodasing charged.
GRAPHIC PICS | Shock at horrendous parrot deaths in Randburg house
In January, following a tip-off, the animal rights organisation seized the 20 distressed birds and found scores of dead parrots at Meiring’s property.
At the time, Bodasing expressed his shock because Meiring was a high-ranking member of the Parrot Breeder’s Association of South Africa (PASA).
“What’s most concerning to us is that a facility owned by vice-chair[person] of the Parrot Breeder’s Association of South Africa has such a high mortality rate.”
‘Robust protection to all animals’
These valuable birds usually have a 50- to 70-year lifespan and, based on a rough estimate of the skeletons found, the SPCA calculated that the value of the dead birds was R750 000.
The SPCA said it was determined to ensure that Meiring was denied access to any parrots.
“We will not be swayed by the threat of litigation; we are mandated to afford robust protection to all animals, and these birds are deserving of nothing less. This does not deter us,” said Bodasing.
PASA chairperson Ben Minnaar told News24 that when the revelations first surfaced, Meiring tendered his resignation as a member of the organisation.
“On the face of it, the allegations are serious enough to warrant an internal investigation in terms of our disciplinary code,” Minnaar said at the time.
According to PASA’s code of conduct: “Parrots will be housed in clean and suitable aviaries that are protected against draughts, extremes of weather, predators and rodents. Aviaries will be constructed of impervious material that can be washed and sterilised. At least two wooden perches will be provided that will be placed as not to interfere with free flight.”
Parrots are listed as endangered on Cites. Trade for the birds is carefully regulated to ensure their survival.
Minnaar worried that the allegations against Meiring would be damaging to the organisation.
“I’m very worried about that because we pride ourselves that we are the mouthpiece of the parrot breeder in South Africa. We are worried that it will harm our organisation.”
Attorney Nathan Van Zyl, who represents the Randburg SPCA, explained why the case was important to him.
“This is more than just a court case. It’s a matter [of] conscience and public awareness.”
The parties are to meet in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on 24 March.