Hell ride for Spanish calves finally ends, but Spain might resell the animals

Baby cows close together on the ship one lying the rest standing in dirt
Male calves have been cramped on the ship Karim Allah, photo: Talia Shipping Line / Reuters

The ship Karim Allah that has been at sea for two months with Spanish male calves, less than one year old, onboard docked in Spain on Thursday. The government said that they don’t know what they’ll do with the animals: resell or kill them.

Veterinarians are examining the 895 animals, and if they are ‘cleared’, they can be resold for live transport. Another outcome is that the Spanish government decides to slaughter them immediately.

Both options don’t take into account the animals, but only their economic value. Rescuing these animals and sending them to a sanctuary after their gruesome ordeal at sea is not even mentioned as an option.

Karim Allah is owned by Khalifeh Livestock Trading and managed by Talia Shipping Line, both based in Lebanon. Miguel Masramon, a lawyer representing Talia Shipping Line, said that if the animals are killed “the cost could be almost one million euros”.

Masramon said only 15 animals had died on the Karim Allah, which he said was a “success” given the difficult conditions.

“We do not want to slaughter the healthy animals. That is the proof of the good care we have taken, only 15 dead after more than 60 days at sea. We expected people to thank us, not criticize us,” Majed Eid, Talia Shipping Line director, told The Guardian.

Maria Boada, project manager on animal transport by sea at the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF), told The Guardian that it was good news that so many animals were still alive. But she said it was unlikely the animals were in good health.

Boada said she believed slaughter, instead of sending the animals back to sea when they’re sold again, was a better option for the animals. The animals have suffered so long at sea, sending them back would be inhumane.

“We have been inside these vessels. After a few days the animals are already covered in shit, imagine after two months,” Boada told The Animal Reader earlier about the conditions animals live in on these ships.

What happened to Karim Allah
The Karim Allah left the Mediterranean port of Cartagena on December 17 with 895 animals destined for sale in Turkey. A second ship, the Elbeik, left the next day from Tarragona with nearly 1,800 cows. 

Even though the cows had clean veterinary certificates, according to the Spanish government, Turkish authorities rejected both vessels.

Turkey suspended live animal imports from parts of Spain after an outbreak of bluetongue disease was detected in the Spanish province of Huesca.

The Karim Allah tried to find another buyer in Libya but was rejected by authorities there and spent weeks drifting through the eastern Mediterranean, struggling for supplies. All this time, the animals were left cramped on the ship.

The ship finally anchored at Cartagena’s Escombreras dock on Thursday. The Agricultural Ministry said specialists have boarded to examine the animals.

Port authorities have impounded the vessel until a full inspection is carried out. 

The animals on the Elbeik face the same problem as Karim Allah. The ship is currently waiting to enter Cyprus. What will happen to the animals is unknown.

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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