Cyprus urged to rescue sick animals stuck on a ship

Loading of animals on the ship Elbeik, photo: Animal Welfare Foundation
Loading of animals on the ship Elbeik, photo: Animal Welfare Foundation

Animal Party Cyprus (APC) urged the government on Sunday to rescue hundreds of sick animals on a ship anchored off the northern coast of Cyprus.

The ship left with the animals from Spain in December but was denied entry in Turkey because some animals had bluetongue disease. Since then, the animals -bulls, cows or calves- have been on the ship with no veterinarian care, not enough food and living in their own feces. The crew of the vessel is now asking to enter Cyprus.

APC called on the Republic of Cyprus government to use “all appropriate means” to rescue the sick animals that have been in limbo for two months without a destination.

Another ship that also left Spain in December was denied to enter Libya, because some of the animals were sick. That ship is also lost at sea for two months now, with sick animals on board. The crew of that ship is trying to enter Italy.

“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), told The Animal Reader earlier.

“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.

“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.

The newspaper O Phileleftheros said the authorities are aware of the situation and monitoring the ship if it sails into the Republic of Cyprus’ territorial waters.

The Animal Reader talked to Maria Boada, project manager at the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF), about the situation and condition of these animals stuck at sea.

The Animal Reader wants to encourage people to question whether it’s ethically and morally correct to treat animals the way we do in our society. We do this by reporting on news about animal welfare. If you can, please consider supporting animal journalism. 

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