May 30 2008 at 06:56PM
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Friday dismissed an appeal by the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) in a matter against the former manager of a tiger re-wilding project.
The NSPCA appealed against a Free State High Court order refusing it an interim interdict to prevent Peter Openshaw from presenting live prey to a predator at the Laohu Valley Reserve near Philippolis.
The Laohu Valley reserve is a project aimed at saving South China tiger’s, an endangered subspecies of tiger, from extinction.
Captive born South China tigers, from zoos in China, are taught to survive in the bush at Laohu Valley.
The NSPCA filed for an interdict after an SABC conservation programme, 50/50, showed a captured bles bok, caught in a net.
Openshaw commented then that he would be presenting a live bles bok to two tiger cubs.
In terms of the Animal Protection Act any person who “liberates any animal in such manner or place or by wild animals, or baits or provokes any animal or incites any animal to attack another animal” shall be guilty of an offence.
The high court found in favour of Openshaw after the NSPCA had failed to establish reasonable harm.
In a majority judgment on Friday, the SCA held that a period of 19 months had passed since the application had been launched and the NSPCA had done nothing since.
The SCA held the NSPCA had thus forfeited its right to the interim relief sought.
The court also held that an interim interdict was a remedy against future infringements and was only appropriate when future injury was feared.
The NSPCA was not able to prove this and the appeal had to be dismissed.
Openshaw had in the meantime resigned at Laohu Valley and had taken a position in Abu Dhabi. – Sapa