SPCA to check on military animals
The wellbeing of the animals guarding South Africa will no longer be a secret.
Thanks to a new agreement with the SA National Defence Force, senior SPCA inspectors will have access to all military bases at which dogs and horses are deployed.
In a joint statement, the defence force and the SPCA said the agreement was a world first.
"This level of co-operation between the military and an animal welfare organisation is unprecedented anywhere," the National Council of SPCAs said.
A council vet, Bryce Marock, said the SPCA already had such agreements with the police, SARS and Correctional Services.
"The SPCA's mandate is to ensure compliance with the Animal Protection Act," Marock said. "But because of the nature of the military, it isn't a case of just walking into military bases. This agreement has to do with security clearances.
"I have just inspected a special forces base. I have inspected air force bases from which ministers fly. These are very sensitive sites."
The agreement includes an undertaking that the defence force "shall permit only NSPCA inspectors to inspect all SANDF locations at which military animals are held, deployed or receive medical attention".
Marock said the number of animals in military service "could not be divulged because they are deployed operationally".
The SPCA said it recognised the necessity for the use of animals in providing security for the country.
In turn, the defence force acknowledged that the SPCA had a duty to ensure that all military animals benefited from high-quality care and responsible use.