Photos obtained by Animals International and from whistleblowers, indicate several breaches of EU laws. In one of the photos, it appears clearly that the vessel was overloaded, and animals were crammed not only in their pens but also on corridors that must be kept clear at all times, except during loading and unloading operations.
What the Suez Canal crisis meant for animals and for EU Regulations
9 April 2021
16 vessels transporting live animals from the EU to the Middle East were affected by the Suez crisis on 23-29th March causing delays that were deadly for thousands of sheep, mainly from Romania but also from Spain.
Bucharest, April 12th, 2021 – Animals International claims that the Suez blockade caused extremely high mortality among animals and exposed weaknesses of EU laws.
According to Animals International’s sources involved in this crisis, the mortality was between 180 and 1,100 on each vessel. But the mortality declared by the Romanian authorities was just not higher than 0,22% among the 105,727 sheep and 1,613 cattle aboard 7 of the 11 ships.
We seek to clarify this gigantic reporting difference by talking to those who transported the animals. We learnt that Dragon had the highest mortality with over 1,100 dead animals. The answer to the difference seems simple. Thousands of dead sheep have been thrown overboard in the Red Sea before reaching their destination. The 0,22% refers to the animals who continued to die from the throwing point to the harbor of destination.
Gabriel Paun, EU Director of Animals International
Photos obtained by Animals International and from whistleblowers, indicate several breaches of EU laws. In one of the photos, it appears clearly that the vessel was overloaded, and animals were crammed not only in their pens but also on corridors that must be kept clear at all times, except during loading and unloading operations. Furthermore, the surviving animals were loaded for further transport in the Middle East onto trucks that are substandard according to the EU laws.
“EU Court of Justice rulings are clear. EU laws must be respected beyond its borders until the destination which is considered the place where the animals will stay for at least 48 hours. Upon arrival, the animals were unloaded from ships onto trucks and immediately transported further. These trucks were not protecting animals from injuries and the burning sun, they were crammed over each other”, added Paun.
Last but definitely not least, the Suez crisis indicates just another scenario never foreseen by the EU Commission and the Member States where there were no contingency plans for this situation. They had no legal means to order the vessels to return to the port of origin. The only reason that mortality was not closer to 100% is that the blockade ended after 6 days and not later. None of the vessels have decided to return to the port of origin and any extra day awaiting was equivalent to thousands of new deaths. “The Suez crisis exposes further weaknesses of EU animal welfare laws that must be subject to revision by the EU Commission and object to the ongoing EU Parliament inquiry on the transport of live animals”, concluded Paun.
Ultimately, all exported animals to the Middle East were killed while fully conscious by untrained and unequipped workers in breach of EU Slaughter Regulation 1099/2009.
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.
WAV Comment – as we have said in the past, the EU is very good at making itself try to look very good; publishing endless reports and evaluations, but on the other hand, failing drastically to move on basic issues such as live animal transport. What exactly did we see in the first part of this year when hundreds of live animals were shipped around the Mediterranean Sea for over 3 months ?- Live Transport – World Animals Voice
Changing live transport across the EU, in accordance with the wishes of vast numbers of EU citizens; should be a fundamental strategy of the Union. Instead, they ok Irish producers to export live animals to Libya, where they are ritually slaughtered, and the EU itself, as the biggest live exporting syndicate in the world, also export endless live animals to 3rd nations such as Turkey.
And what are we seeing and hearing about all the reports and investigations which are supposed to have been undertaken by member state Romania, with regard the capsize of the ‘Queen Hind’ after leaving Midia ? – Search Results for “romania queen hind” – World Animals Voice – where is the EU when it comes to member states not coming clean with animal welfare incidents ? – Nowhere, that’s where.
Here below is a new PR from the EU which has been sent to us today (7/4/21). We have followed this ‘Strategy’ with the ‘Evaluation of the EU strategy on Animal Welfare’ information; which you can further investigate (via links on the site) should you wish.
Animal welfare: Publication of the Evaluation of EU’s Strategy
The European Commission has published an evaluation of the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals. The report, which covers the years 2012-18, notably assesses how effective, efficient, and beneficial the strategy has been. It notes that compliance across Member States, which are in charge of implementing the Animal Welfare legislation, remains a challenge, in particular in risk areas such as animal transport, routine tail docking of pigs and stunning. The study also flags the need to improve coherence not only with the CAP, but also with fisheries, trade, environmental and transport policies, in line with the goals of the Farm to Fork strategy. The evaluation also pointed towards the strategic use of consumer information, international cooperation and CAP as relevant tools to improve animal welfare standards both in the EU and on a global level. The findings of the study will now feed into the on-going evaluation of the animal welfare legislation and inform any potential future initiatives in the context of Farm to Fork. The forthcoming review of the animal welfare legislation will therefore look at the legislative gaps identified in 2012 and at any new gaps that could emerge from the ongoing evaluation of the rules in force. Launched almost 50 years ago, the Animal Welfare policy of the EU concerns millions of animals. The EU has a substantial population of livestock including, at present, 88 million bovine animals, 148 million pigs, and around 100 million sheep and goats, as well as an estimated 4.5 billion chickens, egg-laying hens and turkeys.
This evaluation assessed the extent to which the strategy delivered on its objectives and whether they are relevant and consistent today. It looked at efficiency and whether the strategy usefully complemented national efforts in this field.
The evaluation found that the strategy contributed to setting common priorities that led to improvements on animal welfare across the EU. It also contributed to improve knowledge and sharing of best practices, as well as to enforcement of EU legislation in specific areas.
However, none of the strategy’s objectives has been fully achieved. The forthcoming evaluation and review of the animal welfare legislation will look at the legislative gaps identified in and after 2012 and will seek to make the animal welfare acquis more fit for purpose. As regards enforcement, special attention will be given to compliance risk areas identified by this evaluation.
This evaluation draws from a study carried out by an external contractor, which applied a mixed-method approach to address the evaluation questions. The methods used included desk research, an online public consultation of 13 weeks, targeted surveys and semi-structured interviews to ensure broader coverage of stakeholders. In addition, eight case studies were carried out to further support the analysis.
Easter investigation together with Members of the European Parliament: Inspection of lamb transports – YouTube
Easter investigation together with Members of the European Parliament: Inspection of lamb transports
“Well, if you tell me that these are still rather good conditions, then I don’t want to know what the bad conditions look like,” says Tilly Metz, MEP for the Greens. With her parliamentary colleagues Caroline Roose and Thomas Waitz, she and our in Easter investigation together with Members of the European Parliament:
New investigation on the transport of lambs for Easter: Animal Equality, Animal Welfare Foundation and ENPA denounce unacceptable situation | Eurogroup for Animals
New investigation on the transport of lambs for Easter: Animal Equality, Animal Welfare Foundation and ENPA denounce unacceptable situation
1 April 2021
The transport of lambs for Easter continues this year, three trucks from Poland and Romania identified in illegal conditions, stopped by the police and sanctioned
New images collected by the investigators of Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) and the Zoophile Guards of ENPA, and released in collaboration with Animal Equality, show once again the transport of live animals drama, in particular for lambs on the holidays occasion.
In the last few days, close to the Easter period, AWF and ENPA, in collaboration with Animal Equality, have followed three trucks coming from Poland and Romania carrying thousands of lambs between two to four months old.
Three Members of the European Parliament joined the investigations: Tilly Metz, Caroline Roose and Thomas Waitz, also members of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT), went to Italy to verify the real problems these animals face during transport.
The images clearly show:
Overcrowding, with animals heads pressed to the trucks roofs
A lamb having a leg stuck between the metal bars of the truck sidewall (the lamb was never controlled by the driver, who should instead periodically check the internal situation)
Inadequate, malpositioned and insufficient drinkers
Animals dehydrated and exhausted by travel length and conditions
Lack of appropriate litter
One of the trucks coming from Poland was stopped by the police and the driver was fined over 1,300 € for poor transport conditions, while another driver admitted that he did not provide the animals with water for the all duration of the trip.
All three trucks traveled over distances up to 1,700 km, reaching almost 30 hours of travel in terrible conditions, without providing adequate care for the animals.
The trucks were directed to the ILCO slaughterhouse in Acquapendente, Palo del Colle, and to the town of Badia Tedalda, in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany.
Every year in Italy more than 2 million lambs are slaughtered, of which 300,000 during the Easter period. To date, most of them are imported on the routes of Eastern Europe, thus involving a journey full of suffering for these young animals in inadequate transporters, built for other species. Very often unweaned animals are loaded.
“This is not the first time we denounce a similar situation, quite the contrary. We have been monitoring this travel route for several years now: it entails enormous suffering for the lambs”, the associations declare.
“As recommended by scientific bodies and researchers, these animals should not be transported for welfare and health reasons. Additionally, the fact that neither sanctions nor NGOs’ official complaints to the relevant Member States and to the European Commission have led to significant improvements, shows that there is a general problem with the implementation and enforcement of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005. We hope the upcoming revision of this Regulation will put an end to these transports”, they conclude.
The Animal Welfare Foundation e.V. is an independent, non-profit, and internationally active animal welfare organisation. With our own investigation teams and animal welfare projects, we are committed to improving the lives of so-called farm animals.
Animal Equality is an international organisation working with society, governments, and companies to end cruelty to farmed animals. Our teams in the United States, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, and India consist of highly qualified professionals with years of experience in undercover investigations, corporate campaigns, legal advocacy, and the development of large-scale education programs. Using these values to launch innovative projects and strategic campaigns, we work to expose and abolish the cruel practices of the animal agriculture industry.
Suez Canal Situation Highlights Atrocious Animal Trade, With 200K Animals Stuck On Ships
When things go awry at sea, livestock on board ships suffer immeasurably. Animals have to stand in their own waste, for weeks on end. And if resources run out, the animals suffer dehydration and starvation; the ones who don’t survive are thrown overboard.
The atrocities these sentient beings are forced to endure are overwhelming.
Recently, a livestock ship with 1,800 head of cattle was denied port entry for THREE months! According to The Guardian, nearly 200 of the cattle died in conditions described as “hellish.”
The animals forced onboard these ships of death are already slated for death – must they suffer unnecessarily before they are slaughtered? Does anyone care for their welfare?
Your signatures and comments will be sent to the European Parliament along with our letter asking for this cruel live export transportation business to come to an end.
WAV Comment – Around August 2010 I was very involved with investigations undertaken on the very same issue which is detailed in Caroline’s article below – the export of young Irish calves to mainland EU via Cherbourg port which is in France.
Here is a link to our other site – ‘Serbian Animals Voice’, which provides an example of the overall issue and a specific investigation report relating to the work. If you just wish to read the report, then here is a direct link:
Working with other EU animal welfare organisations involved in these 5 investigations, I wrote a 125 (A4) page report which detailed all the work and its findings. This was presented (as an overall one off report) to the EU, British MP’s and MEP’s (at that time the UK was still an EU member state). As Caroline details, the ferry crossing from Ireland to Cherbourg can be long – much too long for baby calves who should be given milk from their mothers on a very regular basis.
Our work found that one targeted crossing of calves on the ferry ‘Diplomat’ lasted 23 hours.
This vessel sailed from Rosslare on 28th November 2009 at 1600hrs
The other carrier ferry which was selected to be investigated, was the ‘Celtic Link’, which sailed from Rosslare on 28th November 2009 at 1815hrs, and the actual sailing time was 17.75 hours.
Important – only the sailing times for the ferry crossings (Rosslare-Cherbourg) are given above. These times are without the additional hours taken for transporters to journey from the original point of animal loading to Rosslare harbour, and once the ferry crossing has been made, the additional hourstaken for transporters to journey to approved Control Posts in France once they had alighted the ferry at Cherbourg. So in reality; the times the calves were on truck was longer than that given above.
Once the calves finally arrived at their control post (feeding destination), they were supposed to be unloaded and rested up for many hours in accordance with EU Regulations. THIS DID NOT HAPPEN; and as you can read in the report link given above, exact arrival and leave times were recorded for several transporters carrying the calves.
Despite all this work and the long process of putting an overall report together, our evidence was simply dismissed by the EU; the trade in calves continued, as it does now, eleven years later, and I think I can safely say that all the rules are still being flouted.
This, and for many other export ‘things’ I have been involved with, is the simple reason why I have NO FAITH in anything that the EU preaches when it comes to legislation and the supposed welfare of animals. Animal welfare and the EU do not fit in the same box; we have proven it and all our evidence simply dismissed.
Does it anger me ? – yes, greatly; but it gives me even more impetus to research, investigate, and report on the issue of live animal exports. I think all the recent issues we have seen in Europe and the Suez Canal go to show what a sick and perverted bunch the politicians are who rubber stamp this mass animal abuse to happen. I promise that I will do everything in my power to expose the abuses !
Opinion: Vulnerable unweaned calves need protection in our export trade
Animal welfare campaigner Caroline Rowley outlines why she is challenging the State’s enforcement of EU law to protect farm animals exported abroad.
WE ARE CONSISTENTLY told by the State that the live export of farm animals is a highly regulated industry, with high welfare standards and care for the animals.
Yet investigations by animal welfare groups in Irish and other European countries have pointed to breaches of EU animal welfare stan
dards, as well as evidence of sickness, injury and death among cattle and calves exported to Europe and further afield.
One area of particular concern is the export of unweaned calves, thousands of which, at just 15 to 21 days, are sent on long journeys to veal farms in Europe where they are slaughtered at a few months old.
Exports have grown in recent years; largely as a result of the uncontrolled expansion of the dairy industry that is producing an increasing number of male calves that the sector has no outlet for.
Noteworthy wants to examine if we are turning a blind eye to animal welfare concerns in the live export trade. Support this project here.
A long and difficult journey
European regulations state that animals should not be transported for more than eight hours; however, there are derogations for longer journey times so long as certain conditions are met around rest and feeding times.
In this case, unweaned calves can be transported for nine hours, after which they must be allowed to rest for one hour and be given water and feed as required. The calves can then be transported for another nine hours after which they must be unloaded and fed.
In reality, however, welfare groups have documented cases where calves are in a truck at ports after nine hours and are still on the ferry after 19 hours.
The ferry journey alone is 18 hours and often trucks transporting the calves are at the port for four or five hours before departure time.
Journey logs released under FOI, for example, show the calves have been put in the trucks for around 30 hours before being unloaded and fed at the resting point in Cherbourg.
Negative impacts of the journey
There are also serious concerns about feeding of the calves. At 15 days old, calves are dependent on a liquid diet and need milk or milk replacer at least twice a day.
As there are around 300 in each truck over three levels, it is not possible to access all calves to dispense the milk. In essence, many weeks-old calves are going 24-30 hours with no feed.
Leaving unweaned calves for long periods with no feed can cause all kinds of health and welfare problems. They have little body fat in reserve and the stress of transport means they burn energy at a faster rate than they would on the farm.
They cannot regulate their body temperature effectively and calves that receive no feed during a long journey will be more susceptible to cold and heat stress.
Young, vulnerable calves do not have a fully developed immune system and the lack of feed has an adverse impact further compromising immunity.
Transport is inherently stressful and it is essential that the calves be supported during the journey by receiving adequate nutrition.
To leave them without feed for up to 30 hours will compound the stress of the journey and further compromise their immune system.
Time for Europe to take action
All transporters, including ferry companies, have been authorised to transport livestock by the Department of Agriculture with certain obligations to ensure that the transport of animals is conducted in line with the requirements under EU regulations.
Based on the evidence that we have collected, together with other organisations, we have submitted a formal complaint to the EU Commission against the Department of Agriculture for what we see as failures to take appropriate action in relation to potential breaches by ferry companies whose authorisations we argue should be revoked.
There is currently a committee of inquiry underway in the European Parliament to examine long distance transport of animals, if the regulations are fit for purpose, and how well they are being enforced. The live export of unweaned Irish calves is something that we hope is high up on the agenda.
There is something inherently wrong with a system where calves are born just to be killed, and something wrong with a society that allows it to happen.
Caroline Rowley is the director of Ethical Farming Ireland that campaigns for improved conditions for farm animals, more sustainable and ethical farming methods, and opposes live exports.
You know; with all this kind of thing every day I have to chill out for a while; and music is (amongst other things) a saviour. Sometimes I need to share some music with you as I know you get affected by it all also – you have to get away sometimes, even if for half an hour or less; so enjoy !
The worst maritime animal welfare tragedy in history could, by now, be unavoidable, says Gabrile Păun, the EU director for Animals International, an NGO.
There are 16 ships taking live animals from the EU to the Persian Gulf which have been stuck for several days behind the stranded ‘Ever Given’ cargo vessel in the Suez Canal.
Even with the Ever Given now slowly moving again, the live animals inside the blistering cargo containers, which are quickly running out of feed and water, are now nearing an even more tragic end than that which awaits them in the slaughterhouses at their destination.
Even if the ships were to resume full course today, the water and food would not last until their sea journey is over.
Romania is the source for the 130,000 of the 200,000 live animals now caught in the Suez bottleneck.
Some six of the 11 ships full to the brim with the live animals from the South-Eastern European nation are in a particularly critical situation. They were supposed to reach harbours in the Persian Gulf over four days ago, but still have not left the Canal.
According to EU law, ships carrying live animals need to load 25 percent more food than planned for their trip in case of delays, but animal welfare organisations warned that this rarely happens.
Meanwhile, Păun explained to EUobserver that even with the 25 percent buffer, these ships would now run out of animal feed long before they arrive in port.
“A ship that left Romania on 16 March was scheduled to arrive in Jordan on 23 March, but instead it would now reach port on 1 April at the earliest. That is a nine-day delay. Even if the ship had the required 25 percent additional animal feed, it would only have lasted for 1.5 days”, he said.
The ‘ANSVSA’, the Romanian authority in charge of live-animal exports issued a press release two days ago saying that after reaching out to those in charge on board the ships, there is enough food and water to last a few days.
The press release added that live animal exports have been currently suspended until the situation in the Suez is dealt with.
But for Păun, those responsible for the shipment would never admit that animals are dying by the thousands on their vessels.
Meanwhile, the EU legislation does not compel an EU member state to report on animal mortality on board these ships and Romania would never release that information voluntarily because authorities know that it would lead to investigations, he added.
Romania is one of Europe’s largest live-sheep exporters and has several times been singled out by the European Commission for its bad practices regarding live-animal exports.
Last year, Romania was red-flagged by Brussels for failing to meet live-animal transport conditions after more than 14,000 sheep drowned when a cargo vessel capsized off the Black Sea coast.
A year earlier, the then EU commissioner for food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, urged Romania – to no avail – to stop the export of 70,000 live sheep to the Persian Gulf because temperatures inside the cargo vessel exceed 60 degrees Celsius.
Instead, Romanian authorities increased their live-animal exports, despite an investigation that showed animals exported to Gulf countries dying from the high temperatures, being unloaded violently off ships, squeezed into car trunks, and slaughtered by unskilled butchers.
Păun says the only chance now for some of the animals to make it to destination alive is for Egyptian authorities to move quickly and clear the ships trapped in the Suez.
“I am appalled that legislation did not offer Romania the power to command cargo ships to return back home. Romania should have used diplomatic pressure to resolve the issue,” he said.
“According to a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the EU member state exporting live animals to a third party country is responsible for their wellbeing until reaching destination”, he added.
For Păun, Romania should move toward exporting meat rather than live animals.
“It would cancel the unnecessary suffering of the animals and would be more economically profitable for Romania”, he said.
But even though other countries have agreed that exporting processed and refrigerated meat is far more profitable and less cruel, live animal exports remain unabated from Romania.
I have ‘loved’ (in a ‘blokey’ sort of way) ! Benjamin since I first saw him at a London animal rights demo decades ago. So seeing him again the BBC this morning; I thought it was time to introduce him to you. Here are a few shorts of his life and actions; a passionate animal rights advocate, he wrote the foreword to Keith Mann‘s book From Dusk ’til Dawn: An insider’s view of the growth of the Animal Liberation Movement
Dedicated – Yes;
do we want him – for sure.
Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah (born 15 April 1958) is a British writer and dub poet. He was included in The Times list of Britain’s top 50 post-war writers in 2008
Turning vegan at 13 Benjamin is pretty much a lifelong vegan. He is now 58 and as a busy performer, writer and with a passion for martial arts, he just naturally shows people what it is like being vegan and doesn’t “ram veganism down peoples throats”.
After more than three months stranded in the Mediterranean, the surviving bulls onboard a livestock ship were humanely slaughtered by the Spanish authorities in Cartagena on Sunday. An official Spanish veterinary report described dire conditions onboard the Elbeik, on which 179 bulls had already died.
The Elbeik and a second livestock ship, the Karim Allah, had been refused entry to multiple countries on health grounds. We look back on the events that shaped this “hellish ride”.
18 December 2020 Two livestock ships, the Karim Allah and the Elbeik, leave Spain bound for Turkey loaded with young Spanish bulls. The Karim Allah departs from the port of Cartagena carrying almost 900 animals and the Elbeik leaves from Tarragona with nearly 1,800.
27-29 December The Karim Allah arrives in Turkey on 27 December and the Elbeik on 29 December. Both ships are refused entry due to fears the bulls may be infected with a bovine disease called bluetongue. The shippers blame a mistake on health certificates issued by Spain’s agriculture ministry; the ministry denies this. On 1 January, the Karim Allah leaves the Turkish port of İskenderun and the Elbeik leaves from another Turkish port, Derince.
6 January The Karim Allah arrives in the Libyan port of Tripoli on 6 January and departs again on 9 January with all the bulls onboard, after being refused permission to unload.
9 January The Elbeik arrives in Tripoli on 9 January and leaves again on 25 January, after also being refused permission to unload. The ship’s next port of call is Alexandria, Egypt, arriving on 1 February and leaving on 4 February.
27 January The Karim Allah reaches the Italian port of Augusta, Sicily, and leaves again on 29 January.
19 February The Karim Allah arrives in Sardinian waters near the port of Cagliari. On the same day, the Elbeik anchors off the coast of northern Cyprus, near the port of Famagusta. Animal welfare organisations call for vets to visit the ships. Cypriot vets are placed on standby to check the animals but neither ship approaches or requests veterinary assistance.
22 February The Karim Allah returns to waters near Cartagena, Spain, but does not enter. The shippers plan to have the cattle’s blood tested and, if the animals are cleared of any disease risk, to re-export them. The shipper says the Spanish agriculture ministry has said the animals “face immediate slaughter” if the ship docks.
25 February The Spanish agriculture ministry’s deadline for the Karim Allah to slaughter its cattle expires. A legal tussle ensues as the shippers try to block an official Spanish slaughter order.
26 February An official Spanish vet report dated 26 February finds 22 of the Karim Allah bulls died at sea, with two corpses still on board. The report notes that other corpses were chopped up and thrown overboard during the journey. It concludes that the animals suffered from the lengthy journey, were generally unwell and not fit for transport outside the EU, nor should they be allowed into the EU for disease-control reasons. Euthanasia would be the best solution, it says. The report does not say if the cattle have bluetongue, but it notes a range of other skin, eye and leg conditions including alopecia, flaking, scabs and joint inflammation compatible with septic arthritis.
6 March The legal tussle ends and the slaughter of the Karim Allah bulls by Spanish officials begins on 6 March. By 9 March, all the Karim Allah bulls are dead.
18 March Under orders from Spanish officials, the Elbeik finally returns to port in Cartagena three months after it left Spain, following stops near Cyprus, in Greece, to stock up on supplies, and off the coast of Menorca.
19 March Spanish veterinary officials complete and sign a report describing dire welfare conditions onboard the Elbeik. The report cites the Elbeik’s captain as saying that, of the 1,789 bulls originally loaded, 179 died during the journey. The bodies were chopped up and thrown overboard. Ten other carcasses were also found on board, the report says, and of the remaining animals, some are dying, while others are starving and extremely dehydrated. In some pens, it notes, “the crew had placed fodder in the corral in a way that the starving animals were forced to eat on the corpses of their companions”. The urine and manure buildup covers the animals’ hooves, it says, leaving them without dry areas to lie down.
22 March A separate veterinary inspection, conducted on behalf of the Elbeik cattle owners, found that only 136 of the bulls required immediate euthanasia. The rest, it said, could recover after a period of rest and adequate feeding if cleared of the risk of bluetongue or other diseases.
28 March The last of 1,610 surviving bulls from the Elbeik are slaughtered in the port of Cartagena. Spain’s agriculture ministry says it has forwarded the veterinary report to the public prosecutor on the basis that “the facts described therein could constitute indications of a possible offence in relation to the current legislation on animal welfare”. The cattle owner, who does not wish to be named, has disputed the findings of the report.
Arrival and departure times for the Elbeik and the Karim Allah were supplied by Marine Traffic.
Tens of thousands of horses are being subjected to long-haul flights, confined in crates with no food or water, to meet demand for horsemeat in Japan.
Since 2013, about 40,000 live horses have been flown to Japan from airports in western Canada. Under Canadian regulations, the journey can stretch up to 28 hours, during which the animals are allowed to go without food, water or rest.
The multimillion-pound global trade in fresh horsemeat to Japan is dominated by Canada and France. The little-known sector has burst into public view in Canada in recent years, fuelled by footage captured by campaigners of the near-weekly flights.
The footage prompted one vet, Judith Samson-French, to travel to the Calgary airport three times to see for herself what was happening. “As a veterinarian, I did not like what I saw,” she said. “These horses have not been trained nor conditioned for this kind of transport.”
She watched as the horses were loaded, in groups of three or four, into wooden crates that leave just the top of the animal visible. “You hear them in the crates,” said Samson-French. “There’s a lot of kicking going on there.”
At times, the horses appeared to be too tall to comfortably fit into the crates, she said. “These are big horses,” she added. “It’s absolutely impossible for a horse to lay down in those crates.”
She worried that the crating of horses, combined with the animals’ high centre of gravity, could prove dangerous on a plane.
Once they land in Japan, the horses are taken to a government quarantine facility for 10 days. From there, they are moved to feedlots to be fattened up for up to a year before being slaughtered to meet demand for popular delicacies such as basashi, a dish of raw, thinly sliced pieces of horsemeat dipped in soy sauce and served with ginger.
Between 25% and 40% of Japan’s horsemeat comes from imported animals, often in an attempt to save on the high cost of feeding horses, according to research carried out by the consultancy Williams & Marshall Strategy.
In 2019 Canada provided 71% of the live horse imports to Japan, in statistics that exclude purebred horses for breeding, followed by France at 21%
Canadian government figures show exports to Japan of live horses for slaughter began picking up in 2000 with the sale of 96 animals, worth C$231,000. A year later, the value of these exports had risen more than fivefold; by 2018 it was worth more than C$20m (£11.5m).