The ship Elbeik with 1610 Spanish male calves onboard will arrive in the port of Cartagena in Spain on Thursday night. All animals will probably be killed when they arrive.
The animals have been on the ship for more than three months. The ship left Spain at the beginning of December, heading for Libya, but was denied access because Libya thought the animals had bluetongue disease.
Since then, the Elbeik tried to enter different European ports but was not allowed to dock at any harbor.
According to the animal welfare organization FAADA, the Spanish government has ordered the Elbeik to go to the port of Cartagena, where all the young cows will probably be killed. Around 180 calves have died already from being cramped at sea for so long without veterinary help.
These animals have been on the ship, against their will, for more than three months. Veterinarian Maria Boada-Saña explained earlier that in general a few days on a ship is already traumatic for animals so “imagine a few months”.
The moment the young animals are finally able to leave the ship and stretch their legs, they won’t enjoy freedom or life at a sanctuary, but they’ll be instantly murdered.
Animal welfare organisations have stressed over and over that transport of live animals by sea causes immense suffering to animals and that there are better alternatives, like sending meat instead of living animals.
These European animals lose all European animal welfare rights the moment a ship sets sail to another country. “A few hours after their departure, the ships are no longer in the EU area,” the animal welfare organization Four Paws said in a statement.
“According to the legal provisions, the EU regulation must be observed until the final destination, but there are no controls,” Four Paws said.
This means that the animals are in a legal vacuum for days, weeks or even months.
Animals are thrown overboard
The consequences are that animals are transported in excessive temperatures, too little space below deck and no medical care in case of illness or injury. If an animal dies on board, it is thrown overboard.
But while the Karim Allah, another ship that was stuck on sea for two months with calves onboard, and the Elbeik made worldwide headlines, the transport of live animals by sea continues.
Over the next five weeks, 40,000 lambs and 3000 calves will leave Spanish ports on ships on their way to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Algeria, according to Four Paws.
“In the broken system of animal transport, animals always get the short end of the stick and are treated more as objects than as sentient beings,” Martina Stephany, director of Farm Animals at Four Paws, said in a statement.
“This is especially evident for sheep, goats and young male cattle from the dairy industry, which are sold as animals for slaughter by ship to foreign countries by unscrupulous companies,” she continued.
News on live animal transport:
Transport of live animals ‘The animals are beaten and forced to board’
South Africa allows cruel transport of 56,000 sheep to the Middle East
Sheep boiled to death on livestock ship, more face the same fate
Horrible conditions for animals on livestock ships to Israel
6000 captive young cows drown after ship capsized in East China Sea
Sheep stuck on board sinking ship in Romania are left to die
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