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‘DELIVER THEM FROM EVIL’: Thousands of cows stranded at sea for two months are likely dead or ‘suffering real hell’

The two vessels left from different ports in Spain before Christmas to deliver their cargoes but were each refused entry by various countries, owing to suspected outbreaks of bovine disease.

SOPHIE KEVANY: One of two livestock ships at sea since mid-December with thousands of cattle on board is now at the Spanish port of Cartagena, but the fate of its cargo is unclear… The two vessels left from different ports in Spain before Christmas to deliver their cargoes of animals, but were each refused entry by various countries including Turkey and Libya, owing to suspected outbreaks onboard both ships of the bovine disease bluetongue…

A Spanish government source confirmed that the Karim Allah, carrying a reported 895 calves, was anchored just outside the Spanish port of Cartagena. The other ship, Elbeik, carrying 1,776 animals, continues to sit at anchor in Turkish waters off the coast of Cyprus…

Silvia Barquero, the director of Animal Equality Spain, said she understood that many animals were already dead and any still alive would be “suffering a real hell”. Official veterinary inspections of both ships had been due to take place late last week in Cyprus and Sardinia, but neither ship approached shore to allow vets on board…

Maria Boada Saña, a vet with NGO Animal Welfare Foundation, said she feared that at least 100 animals on the Karim Allah were already dead. “The Karim Allah arrived Sunday night at Cartagena, sailing away from a planned veterinary inspection Saturday morning in Sardinia,” she said… “That means we have no idea right now if animals are alive or dead,” said Boada Saña. “Other sources, though, have told me the Karim Allah has not asked for animal feed. To me, the way it sailed away from an inspection, the way it is waiting and not asking for food probably means most of the animals are dead”…

The Spanish news agency EFE reported that although Turkey had originally agreed to take the cattle, satisfied they were bluetongue free, the animals were rejected on arrival because of disease fears… A spokesperson did not respond to questions about animal numbers, conditions on the ships or possible next steps…

Dead animals would have to be removed from the ship by hoist and the operation could take at least a day, or much longer, depending on numbers, said Genoa-based lawyer Manuela Giacomini… Dutch MEP Anja Hazekamp said “the only way to stop animal cruelty related to animal transport” was to introduce a total ban on the export of live animals outside the EU. SOURCE…

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