Spain says cows suffered from long journey, euthanasia is most humane

Spanish calves on board of Karim Allah, photo: Tallia Shipping Line/Reuters
Spanish calves on board of Karim Allah, photo: Tallia Shipping Line/Reuters

More than 850 male calves that have spent months on a ship are no longer fit for transport and should be killed, Spain’s Agriculture Ministry said on Saturday. 

For two months, the baby cows were kept in small concrete areas on the Karim Allah, which docked in the Spanish port of Cartagena on Thursday.

The ship left Spain in December with the animals, who were going to be killed when they arrived in Turkey. But the cows were rejected by several countries over fears they had bluetongue virus. So the ship returned to Spain.

After Spanish veterinarians examined the animals on the ship, they concluded that the cows had suffered from the long journey, and euthanasia would be the best solution for their health and welfare.

The Agriculture Ministry said the ship’s owners should kill the animals. And if they cannot, the Spanish government will do it.

For fear of losing money, the ship owner Talia Shipping Line is trying to ‘resell’ the animals. But animal rights activists and now also veterinarians agree that the most humane way of handling things would be euthanizing these animals after two months of suffering.

‘Reselling’ the animals would mean the cows would be stuck on the ship for even longer.

“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.

So far, the option of saving the cows and sending them to a sanctuary has not been mentioned by the Spanish government.

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