Jan 25, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Farmer who kills ‘vermin’ can be outed on Facebook, appeal court rules

An animal rights activist who regularly names and shames criminals on Facebook was given the right to continue to do so after being challenged by a farmer who captured and killed animals he viewed as vermin.

< Bool Smuts, of the Landmark Leopard and Predator Project, heard Monday that the Supreme Court overturned a Supreme Court ruling in Port Elizabeth in favor of Alicedale farmer Herman Botha.

Botha, also an insurance broker in Gqeberha, won a ban after Smuts posted photos taken in September 2019 of a cyclist taking part in a race through the farm. They showed cages containing the corpses of a baboon and a porcupine.

On posting the photos, Smuts said, “As we spend our efforts promoting environmentally acceptable practices on cattle ranches in order to promote ecological integrity and regeneration are inundated with reports of contradicting practices that are unethical, barbaric and utterly ruinous for biodiversity Botha from Port Elizabeth belongs in the insurance industry. The farm is Varsfontein.

“This is absolutely horrible. It’s ecologically ruinous. Mr. Botha claims to have permission to do so – see the WhatsApp conversation with him in the appendix.

“The pictures show a trap to catch baboons [they climb through the drum to get to the oranges arrive – often poisoned – and then can no longer get out]. Also see the porcupine in traps. Completely unethical, cruel and barbaric. “

Smuts also published the home and business address and phone number of the farmer, and appellate judge Rammaka Mathopo said the post generated defamatory and insulting comments about Botha.

“One user suggested that he stay in this cage and another suggested that he pay Mr. Botha a visit. One person suggested boycotting Mr. Botha’s business and starting a campaign to bring him out and naming and shaming his insurance brokerage, “said Mathopo.

Botha obtained a ban stating that Smuts was allowed to post and comment on the photos, but the name of the farm and its owner” represent personal data that is protected by his right to privacy, “said Mathopo, who was recently appointed to the Constitutional Court.

He and his four colleagues were in agreement when he ruled It was concluded that the Supreme Court did not strike the balance between Smuts’ freedom of expression and Botha’s right to privacy.

Mathopo said, “The identity of Mr. Botha and his farm are matters into which he can be admitted to the public Domain. Likewise, his animal-falling practices; he openly admitted that he used animal traps.

“His discomfort that these practices were the subject of critical contributions by Mr Smuts did not make the information he had made public private. Mr. Botha’s commercial farming activities and the practices he uses in carrying out those activities create a very modest expectation of privacy from the perspective that society deems appropriate. ”

Mathopo said that The Supreme Court erred in ignoring the content of Smuts’ post and focused on the public reaction.

“This approach has far-reaching implications for activists like Mr Smuts because it stifles the debate and the law of activists censored for distribution. Information to the public, “he said.

” This denies citizens the right to information and a platform for exchanging ideas, which are vital to the development of a democratic culture.

< p> “It cannot be denied that the public has a right to be informed about animal practices on Mr. Botha’s farm. The question arises whether Mr Smuts could use less restrictive means to achieve the purpose of “outing” Mr Botha’s animal trapping activities without disclosing his personal data. I don’t think so. “

” The public interest in the treatment of animals must, in addition to the legality of the trapping, accordingly enjoy protection over their personal data. To give context to this matter, the subject refers to the ethics, cruelty and hideous treatment of animals.

“The Constitution recognizes that individuals in our society must be able to freely express opinions hear, educate, and express yourself on many topics. Honest information and disclosure of animal traps are no exception.

“Citizens are free to choose which trading company they support and which they don’t. This freedom of choice can only be exercised if the activities on Mr. Botha’s farm are disclosed to the public.

“The damning thing for Mr. Botha is that he uses animal traps openly where hunters and cyclists have access. I don’t see how it can be said that Mr Smuts was unlawful to publish the fact that the photos were taken on a farm by Mr Botha. ”