The National Council of the SPCA has launched an investigation into the death of thousands of crabs that had been left in the sun at a cargo facility at the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA).
A Spokesperson Arno de Klerk says the shipment of more than 5 000 crabs arrived on the 11th of August from Mozambique and was destined for Hong Kong.
He says due to the unrest in Hong Kong, the flight was cancelled and the crabs were forgotten about.
De Klerk says by the time they were alerted the crabs had been left in the sun for nine days without any food or water.
He says most of the crabs were already dead, dying or infested with maggots.
According to the NSPCA, the company that sent the crabs did not adhere to the regulations as set out by the International Air Transport Association as the crabs were packaged and restrained in an inhumane manner.
"It is disheartening that these living creatures would be treated so horrifically and that the attitude towards crabs is that of 'perishable cargo' as opposed to living animals," said De Klerk.
He says their investigation is ongoing and they will not hesitate to lay charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962
The NSPCA believes that all animals matter and should be treated with compassion.