Spanish animals stuck at sea for months, sick and dying (INTERVIEW)

Two vessels with live animals on board have been stuck on sea for almost two months. They left from Spain, but when they got to their destinations, Libya and Turkey, they were not allowed to ‘unload’ the animals. Since then, the animals have been on the ships with no veterinarian care, not enough food and living in their own feces.

“In December, two ships left from Tarragona and Cartagena port, the main ports in Spain. One is Elbeik and the other one is Karim Allah (the vessels),” Maria Boada, project manager on animal transport by sea at the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF), tells The Animal Reader.

“Elbeik was carrying around 2000 animals. Karim Allah was carrying around 1000 animals,” she says. “Karim Allah tried to unload the animals in Turkey. Elbeik to unload the animals in Libya. Some of the animals, in both cases, had bluetongue disease. So then, at the destinations, they did not allow the unloading of these animals.”

“So, since December, these vessels are moving around the Mediterranean Sea, trying to find a destination for these animals,” Boada explains. The problem is that because the animals have left the EU, the EU doesn’t want to take the ‘sick’ animals back.

This whole time, the animals, bulls, cows or calves, have not been allowed to leave the ships. “No one knows how the animals are right now. We don’t know how many animals already died, we don’t know how many animals are dying right now,” Boada says, stressing that there are no veterinarians on board of the ships.

“These animals are kind of in a limbo, because they cannot be unloaded, and cannot come back to Europe,” Boada said. At the moment, the Elbeik is trying to enter the harbor of Cyprus and Karim Allah is trying to enter Italy. The lawyers of AWF are trying to at least get the countries to cooperate to inspect the animals.

“We know that they don’t have enough food,” Boada says. “We have been inside these vessels, after a few days the animals are already covered in shit, imagine after two months.”

Since last week, Animal Welfare Foundation has been trying to get the Spanish authorities to rescue these animals, but so far, with no luck.

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