South Africa is a poor performer (“E”) under the VACI, on par with Romania and the Netherlands. The country has moderate reliance on farmed animals, high consumption of animal products and an inadequate animal protection legislative framework.
Livestock raising has always been the backbone of South Africa’s agricultural industry. The country slaughters around 17.6 land-based animals per person per year, compared with a global average of 10.1. The country’s dependence on farmed animals is moderate, with around 3.8 farmed animals per person versus a global average of 4.1. The farming of cattle is largely extensive, with approximately 75% of cattle kept in feedlots prior to slaughter. Factory farming is spreading, especially with pigs, chickens and other farmed birds.
The South African diet contains a high proportion of animal products, with around 40.3% of the average person’s diet made up of land-based animal protein, compared with a global average of 35.2%. This is the highest amount consumed of all African countries surveyed. Each person consumes around 32.9g of land-based animal protein per day, versus a global average of 27.2g.
South Africa is rated as a poor performer (“E”) under the Animal Protection Index (API), and its farmed animal protection legislation achieved the same rating under the index. While the anti-cruelty provisions of the Animal Protection Act 1962 apply to farmed animals, it is unclear whether animal welfare practice standards issued by the South African Bureau of Standards are legally binding. For this reason, the API concluded that ‘there is a major lack of detailed, legally binding legislation regulating the conditions of rearing, transport and slaughter of farm animals at the national level’. Learn more about the quality of South Africa’s legislative protections on the API here.