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Thousands of calves to be slaughtered after months at sea in epic live export failure

It has been reported that 895 calves that have been stranded in a vessel for months are being sent to slaughter in Spain. This is one of the last episodes of a dramatic journey that started in December, when two ships left different ports of Spain loaded with at least 2,500 of animals in total. Due to suspicions of an outbreak of the bovine disease bluetongue onboard, their entry was refused in several countries, including Turkey and Libya.

After having crisscrossed the whole Mediterranean Sea, one of the vessels, Karim Allah, is now anchored in the port of Cartagena in Spain, where authorities are about to begin slaughtering the calves. The other ship, Elbeik—which is carrying more than 1,700 animals—was last seen heading to Piraeus port, in Greece.

Animal protection organizations say the animals are likely dead or ‘suffering hell’, given the prolonged time they have been onboard and the precarious sanitary conditions that characterize live exports—especially when the trips last longer than was initially planned or foreseen.

What live export means for animals

In this type of operation, thousands of calves are boarded onto vessels to go on trips that may last weeks or even months. The conditions are often horrid: They are exposed to unbearable temperatures of both extremes, there is virtually no cleaning of their pens (which leads to an accumulation of their excrement and an ammonia odour that makes it difficult to breathe), sometimes they cannot lay properly (and those who do risk being trampled by the others), and food and clean water access is often limited. In fact, even after the prolonged travel, Karim Allah’s captain never requested more food for the animals. These are just some of the reasons why we are calling for a ban on live exports.

Veterinary attention is also extremely rare in these vessels. In Karim Allah’s case, The Guardian reports a Spanish veterinarian boarded the vessel after several months, and found 22 dead animals onboard. Another 20 calves had died previously, and had been chopped up and thrown to sea. The remaining ones had suffered from the lengthy journey and were generally in a poor state.

This case is just further proof that live exports are cruel and inhumane, despite being still a common practice in 2021. If you too think live exports should be phased out globally, please sign here our petition asking devolpment banks to stop funding factory farms.


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