Animal Equality has filed a complaint with the European Commission against Spain, pointing out the incorrect procedures and omissions made by the authorities of the ports of Tarragona and Cartagena, which should have controlled the respect of the minimum standards for the protection of animals on board of the ships Elbeik and Karim Allah.
The ship “Karim Allah” with around a thousand cattle on board docks in the port of Escombreras in Cartagena, Spain, at the end of February.
Animal Equality together with ENPA (Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali) demands that the European Commission verify the correct application of the Regulation on the Protection of Animal Welfare during Transport by the Spanish authorities and, where appropriate, open an infringement procedure if it is found that European legislation has been breached.
At the same time as the complaint, a petition has also been submitted to the European Parliament, in which MEPs are asked to take the measures they deem appropriate to ensure compliance with European legislation on the protection of animals during transport, with special reference to its export by sea from Spain.
If the petition is considered admissible by the corresponding Commission, any European citizen may support it through the online petitions portal of the European Parliament.
The odyssey of the ships in the Mediterranean that could be avoided
Cattle on the ship “Karim Allah”, taken on February 24th.
Hundreds of thousands of animals were forced to board these boats, specifically 895 calves on the Karim Allah and 1789 on the Elbeik. The animals were to be sold in Tripoli, but once they were denied landing due to an alleged disease in the animals, the ships were left adrift and thus remained for more than 2 and 3 months.
The Spanish authorities, which would have been responsible for enforcing the Regulation on the protection of live animals during transport, did not take any measures to immediately put an end to the suffering of the animals on board.
They did not even warn the ships that they were going to be rejected when Turkey notified them, several days before their arrival at their destination. Nor do they inform the European Commission that they are aware of the situation thanks to Italy.
Emergency slaughter in the port of Cartagena: over 1,600 cows have to be killed. © Sandra Gyurasits
As official veterinary reports have certified, many calves were in a state of malnutrition and in poor sanitary conditions derived from the long journey, injured and some even in a state of lethargy, unable to open their eyes or respond to stimuli.
The conditions of the boats were also harshly criticized by veterinarians: lack of cleanliness, a dry place to lie down, malfunction of the drinking troughs and ventilation, corrals built with iron pipes with rusted and broken areas, the total absence of forage and straw, in addition to the existence of numerous mice on the decks.
In both cases, all the surviving animals were slaughtered, while several hundred, both on the Karim Allah and the Elbeik, died on board, being butchered and thrown into the sea.
And I mean...Animal Equality has received these pictures of a dead lamb that has just washed up on Trocadero Beach in Marbella.
It was probably thrown into the sea from an animal export ship.
Despite the ban, the corpses of animals that die on these voyages because they are unable to cope with the cruel conditions on board are repeatedly thrown into the sea.
“These images of dead animals that appear on the shores of our beaches reflect the cruelty of exporting animals. Animals that die in these infernal voyages because they cannot bear the conditions and are thrown overboard, despite being prohibited. According to EU law, such animal transports are actually not allowed to exist”
(Silvia Barquero, director of Animal Equality).
The mere practice of throwing dead animals overboard in the Mediterranean is a violation of the Convention for the Protection of the Seas from Pollution of Ships (Marpol).
The export of live animals is an important economic pillar in Cartagena.
In the past ten years, a total of two million animals have been transported on 800 ships. Most of them go to Lebanon, Algeria, Jordan, or Saudi Arabia.
Last year alone, 776,000 animals were shipped, a record.
Cattle breeders, transporters, and politicians from Murcia do not want to let their good business be spoiled.
Since February 23, when the Ministry of Agriculture imposed the export ban, over 20,000 animals from Murcia and neighboring regions have not been able to be exported from Cartagena. The ranchers had to move to other ports, such as Tarragona in Catalonia.
That means additional costs of five to six euros per animal, as farmers’ associations from Murcia calculated. Overall, they put the loss at half a million euros.
On March 5, the ministry lifted the export ban.
But the port authorities and agriculture continue to rely on the export of live animals, which is a very lucrative business.
In Cartagena, three freighters, “Bruna”, “Nabolsi” and “Omega Star”, are currently being loaded with sheep that are to be shipped to the Middle East.
Spain systematically ignores animal welfare recommendations, but the EU Commission, the well-known agricultural lobby, will most likely not initiate infringement proceedings against Spain.
As soon as this crime is forgotten, the cooperation with their business partners continues.
My best regards to all, Venus