This Saturday the unloading of the calves from the ship Karim Allah began to be slaughtered. Ship sources confirm that this operation will take about 37 hours. After suffering two and a half months of drifting through the Mediterranean, this Friday the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid agreed to deny the suspension of the order to sacrifice the animals requested by the transport company.
The 864 surviving animals, of the 895 that left, will be slaughtered in the next few hours at the dock of the Port of Escombreras in Cartagena, complying with the order issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
The ship’s lawyers have tried by all means to avoid the slaughter trying to prove that the animals are healthy and accuse the Spanish authorities of blocking their attempts to prove it.
Despite this, the official veterinary inspection carried out between February 25 and 26 concluded that the condition of the calves, after more than two months of travel, prevented them from undertaking a new trip to be re-exported and sold outside the Union European.
“We do not understand why the official veterinary inspection has not performed an analysis on the animals to verify if they were sick. The Government of Spain has acted with very little transparency in this case and there are many questions to be resolved. We hope that this scandal will serve at least to put an end to the export of live animals to countries outside the European Union “, states Silvia Barquero, director of the Animal Equality Foundation.
Animal Equality requests that the trade and export of live animals outside the EU be stopped, as reports from the European Commission, Animal Welfare Foundation and own research certify that the application of European legislation on the protection of animals during transport is completely deficient in Spain.
The welfare of the animals during these long journeys cannot be guaranteed and also, in the case of the Middle East and North Africa, they are not slaughtered in accordance with the international standards of the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health).
A reality that has become evident, with the cases of the ships Karim Allah and Elbeik, sailing adrift for two months through the Mediterranean with more than 2,600 animals on board.
For all these reasons, Animal Equality has presented allegations to the Proposal for Public Consultation prior to the modification of the Royal Decree on Animal Health and Protection Standards during Transport called by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. In addition, the international organization has initiated a petition to ban the export of live animals that already has more than 32,000 signatures.
Two and a half months adrift
On December 18, 2020, the Karim Allah, carrying 895 calves, left the Port of Cartagena, supposedly bound for Iskenderun (Turkey). Then she changed course and headed to Tripoli (Libya). Cattle are suspected of being infected with bluetongue disease.
The Libyan National Animal Health Center refused to approve the entry of sick cattle. Karim Allah set out and subsequently requested permission to dock at Bizerte (Tunisia), presumably to carry fodder for the animals, but was denied entry to Bizerte or any other Tunisian port and was forced to leave Tunisian territorial waters.
She was spotted in the port of Augusta (Sicily, Italy) on January 28. She left Augusta, then stopped and was anchored off Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy). On Monday, February 22, she arrived at the Bay of Cartagena, docking at the Port of Escombreras on February 25.
The 1700 animals of the Elbeik are still in the sea
The Elbeik, which left the port of Tarragona in December, loaded with 1,776 cows and calves, continues to navigate the Mediterranean, trying to find a buyer for her animals. She is currently heading to the Port of Piraeus in Greece.
In conversations with the Animal Welfare Foundation, those responsible for the Elbeik report that due to poor maritime conditions and the long journey they endure, more than 50 animals have already died on board. Another cause of mortality is that the Elbeik is fully loaded with animals, unlike the Karim Allah, so they have less room to move.