The videos filmed on board the “Karim Allah” are mind-boggling.
We see dozens of boxes in which the eight hundred young bulls aged 7 to 8 months who have wandered for two months at sea will be slaughtered before their carcasses are sent to rendering, that is to say destroyed. .
All that for this…
Returned to Turkey, these animals suffered "weeks and weeks of ordeal, the terrible result of particularly absurd health decisions", points out Adeline Colonat, project manager for the association for the defense of farm animals Welfarm.
A second cattle boat, the “Elbeik”, which left the port of Tarragona (Spain) the same day, with nearly 1,800 cattle on board, is experiencing the same setbacks.
According to maritime tracing applications, it would be off Cyprus.
The animals would be in the process of being repatriated to Spain to meet the same fate.
At the start of this sad odyssey, on December 18, 895 cattle left the port of Cartagena (Spain) for Iskenderum (Turkey) aboard the “Karim Allah”.
A garbage boat
A “trash boat” well known to NGOs working for animal welfare.
“We got on board, it's a 56 year old boat.
Former cargo freighter, converted into a livestock trailer, which was poorly done, not to mention that the maintenance leaves much to be desired.
All this leads to the risk of injury to animals, ”insists Iris Baumgardner, project manager at Animal Welfarm Foundation, a coalition of NGOs concerned about the fate of animals.
As the "Karim Allah" arrives in Turkey on December 27, the captain is prohibited from unloading.
The reason for this refusal is not clear… The Turkish authorities would suspect cases of bluetongue (bluetongue), also known as blue tongue disease.
The animals come from the region of Huesca (Spain) considered "at risk" for this pathology which can cause hemorrhagic fevers among herds but does not affect humans.
According to the captain of the boat who communicates with the NGOs, there would actually be no cases on board, it would be a matter of paperwork.
Either way, the ship goes back to sea with its mooing cargo.
We know that he made a stopover in Tripoli in Libya on January 6 where the owner tried to sell the animals.
Refused for the same reasons as in Turkey.
The terrible arch then stops in Sicily, on January 27, and in Sardinia on February 29, where the cattle trailer must have refueled with hay and straw.
The "Karim Allah" was finally repatriated to her point of departure on February 22, but the boat remained anchored offshore.
The captain does not wish to enter the harbor, because he knows that his animals will all be slaughtered there.
“It is common for returned animals, especially at the border between Turkey and Bulgaria.
European regulations require those from third countries to be slaughtered.
Turkey and Libya are areas at risk for hand, foot and mouth disease, which is absurd because the animals have not touched the ground, ”sighs Iris Baumgardner.
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Last week, the ship, hoping to save its precious cargo, called in an outside company to have the beasts tested.
Finally, the "Karim Allah" docked in the port on Thursday 25th and the authorities inspected the ship.
According to the report seen by Reuters, there were 864 live animals on board, so 22 died on the journey.
For the survivors, the Spanish authorities have ruled: they are not fit to continue transport.
Of course confinement on a boat for so many weeks has an impact on well-being caused by the stressful, man-made environment of the boat, poor hygienic conditions and high ammonia levels, and possible shortages of fodder and of water ”, insists Iris Baumgardner.
The cattle will therefore all be “euthanized”.
This Tuesday, on the Cartagena quay, caissons were installed to start chain slaughter, directly on the quays.
But, the lawyer of the owner of "Karim Allah" would have obtained an "extension" until Thursday evening.
The director of Talia Shipping Line, the company which charters the Karim Allah, like his lawyer Miquel Masramon - we tried to contact both unsuccessfully on Tuesday - told the Guardian that their "aim was to allow time the herd to recover, and to find a new buyer, as soon as they have the results of the blue tongue tests done last week ”.
"A ship is not a floating meadow"
The ordeal endured by these cattle went back to Brussels.
In a letter dated February 26, the chairman of the commission of inquiry on the protection of animals during transport (Anit), Tilly Metz, asked the Spanish agriculture minister for clarification.
"Admittedly, it is a rather spectacular story, symbolic of the many problems linked to the transport of live animals over long distances," said this Luxembourgish elected official before "insisting on the absurdity of a rule currently in force: the maritime transport escapes the already very permissive limits of transport duration, for example 29 hours with breaks for weaned cattle, because the time spent on the boat is currently considered as rest time and not as transport time ”
In the hell of the cattle trucks with calves
As a result, animals transported by sea very often spend days and weeks at sea. "However, the affair of the
clearly shows: a ship is not a floating meadow, it is 'this is an ill-adapted and risky mode of transport,' protests Tilly Metz.
NGOs have been calling for an end to these long journeys by truck and boat for years.
“This is sad proof that the export of live animals is heresy.
If we transported carcasses, health issues would not arise, and the animals would not suffer for long months in unworthy conditions, ”said Adeline Colonat.
His association has relaunched the petition “Stop transporting live animals”.
"The rules could be tightened", concedes Jean-Luc Angot, president of the Veterinary Academy of France, who recalls that certain animals such as sheep "cross half the globe from Australia or New Zealand".
And again, at the European level, efforts are being made but as soon as one leaves the waters of the Old Continent, the animals in fact escape these protections.
“International standards are weak,” admits the expert.