By Andrew Atkinson
A animal cargo ship that docked at Cartagena port carrying hundreds of cows – with some suffering from Bluetongue after spending two months at sea – should be killed, according to a confidential report by Spanish government veterinarians.
The cows have been kept in what an animal rights activist called hellish conditions on the Karim Allah, which docked in Cartagena, as reported by The Leader.
The cows, reported to be over 800, were rejected by several countries – over fears they had bovine bluetongue virus, an insect-borne virus causing lameness and haemorrhaging among cattle.
The vets’ report said the animals had suffered from the lengthy journey. Some of them were unwell and not fit for transport outside of the EU, nor should they be allowed into the EU.
The ship Karim Allah, which docked in Cartagena in late February is owned by Talia Shipping Line, registered in Lebanon, according to VesselFinder.
“My impression is that they will definitely go ahead with the slaughter and destruction of the animals and it’ll be difficult for us to prevent it,” said Miquel Masramon, a lawyer representing the ship.
Masramon said he would push for the return of blood samples taken from the animals and impounded by authorities to be released and tested, to prove if there is any bluetongue.
The Agriculture Ministry said it would make appropriate decisions after analysing information from the inspection.
The ship which left Cartagena in December 2020 to deliver the cattle to Turkey was blocked by authorities and suspended live animal imports from Spain, fearing bluetongue infection. That rejection lead to several countries refusing entry of the vessel.
Animal Rights activist Silvia Barquero, director of the Igualdad Animal NGO, said: “What has happened to the waste produced by all these animals for two months? We are sure they are in unacceptable sanitary conditions.”
It was found by the Ministry 864 animals were alive on board, with 22 cows having died at sea.