Nearly 900 cattle that have been on a boat in the Mediterranean for two months have to be slaughtered. The Spanish government determined this on Saturday evening. Several countries refused to admit the animals for fear of bluetongue.
The Lebanese ship Karim Allah is currently anchored in the southern Spanish city of Cartagena. From there, it left on December 18 with 895 young bulls for Turkey.
However, the Turkish authorities forbade the animals to be landed for fear they could be infected with bluetongue.
The animal disease was observed in several places in Europe last year. Bluetongue is spread by insects and causes paralysis and bleeding in cows.
After Turkey, attempts were made in vain to sell the animals to other countries. The ship has been sailing around for more than two months in the hope of finding a customer. Returning to Spain did not work either, as the Spanish authorities do not give permission either.
Exhausted from the journey
The Spanish livestock inspection, which falls under the ministry of agriculture, checked the bulls in Cartagena’s port this week. None of the nearly 900 animals had bluetongue, writes the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.
However, the cattle were in such bad shape due to the long transport on the boat that they cannot be transported again, and euthanasia is the most humane solution.
The harsh conditions of the bulls have caused much protest from Spanish animal rights activists. The international organization Igualdad Animal (Animal Equality) protested Saturday in Cartagena’s port against the fate of livestock being transported at sea.
They demand a ban on transport to countries outside the European Union. “We hope that the scandal of the Karim Allah will show people what kind of hell those animals have to experience on these long journeys,” said director Silvia Barquero in a manifesto. Of all European countries, Spain transports the most cows via ships.
1,776 cows on another ship in the Mediterranean may suffer the same fate. The ship also departed from the port of Cartagena on December 18 and is not allowed to land the animals anywhere. Currently, the ship is stationary in Cyprus.