2,000 calves that have been traveling in the Mediterranean during two months in search of a buyer will be euthanized

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2,000 calves that have been traveling in the Mediterranean during two months in search of a buyer will be euthanized
2,000 calves that have been traveling in the Mediterranean during two months in search of a buyer will be euthanized
1 March 2021, 19:46In the worldPhoto: The Guardian
Two ships with cattle sailed for two months between the ports of the Mediterranean Sea, without ever touching the land. Due to the suspicions that an epidemic had begun on the ships, not a single port was willing to accept live cargo. The captains assure that the calves are in perfect order.

However, the Spanish authorities are demanding euthanasia.

The Guardian reports on a situation that is likely to affect more than 2,000 calves.

In mid-December, two Talia Shipping Line vessels with cattle departed from different ports in Spain: there were about 900 calves on board Karim Allah, and almost 1700 on board Elbeik. However, no buyers could be found for the goods. Turkey, Libya and several other countries where it was planned to sell animals have banned ships from entering ports for fears that calves are sick with bluetongue, an infectious disease that causes lameness and bleeding in cattle. The carriers believe that this is the fault of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, whose officials made a mistake when drawing up the certificates. Aragon was listed as the place of origin of the livestock, where there were cases of bluetongue, but in fact the gobies were from Zaragoza and Teruel - areas free from infection.

Маршруты путешествия судов

Having sailed unsuccessfully in the Mediterranean for more than two months, the ships returned to Spain, but now they were no longer accepted here. The fact is that, according to the accepted epidemiological standards, cattle cannot return to the EU if there has been an attempt to enter Libya, because there is foot and mouth disease. In addition, the Spanish authorities have expressed doubts that animals that have been at sea for two months can remain healthy. The captains of the ships were ordered to isolate and slaughter all calves until March 1, warning that if this does not happen, they will in any case be euthanized by employees of the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday.

Representatives of the shipping company did not agree with this, saying that the calves are completely healthy, they just need time to recover, after which they can look for new buyers. The veterinarians dispatched by the Spanish authorities boarded the Karim Allah and took tests and examined the animals. The veterinarians considered that the long journey was not in vain: many of the calves were weak and unsuitable for transport, so euthanasia would be the best solution, including for the animals themselves. Bluetongue was not reported in the report, but other conditions of the skin, eyes and feet were noted, including alopecia, flaking, scabs, and joint inflammation. As it turned out later, the blood samples taken from the bulls for the bluetongue test, according to the decision of the Spanish authorities, were not allowed into the laboratory for analysis. An attempt by representatives of the shipping company to obtain official permission to visit independent veterinarians failed.

Experts dealing with the transport of animals argue that there is always a risk that livestock will be rejected at the port of destination. And if the ship is not accepted by one country, most likely, others will do the same. Another problem for the ship's crew and animals is that there is no independent party that could arbitrate in such controversial situations and decide whether the animals really get sick. Therefore, livestock in such a situation is usually doomed. Now about 80 ships are certified to load animals in Europe and send them to third countries such as Libya, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The only way to stop transport-related ill-treatment would be to impose a complete ban on the export of live animals outside the EU.

According to the estimates of the shipping company Talia Shipping Line, losses from the transportation of cattle may amount to up to 1 million euros. Spanish authorities said the company was also responsible for the cost of killing animals and destroying carcasses, which would cost another € 1 million. Lawyers representing Talia Shipping Line said the court managers would try to resist any attempts to unload the livestock. However, according to the latest information from Karim Allah, the ship has already installed a ramp leading to a row of containers at the dock. The animals will probably be taken out there and then electrocuted.

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