It left Cartagena (Murcia) on December 18, loaded with almost 900 cattle inside. The Karim Allah ship, flying the Lebanese flag, has spent the last two months sailing through the Mediterranean, Turkey and Libya refused to admit it in their ports due to an alleged disease of their cattle (bluetongue disease) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have indicated today in a statement that the veterinary inspection carried out on board the ship has found that the condition of the calves, after two months of travel, prevents them from starting a new trip for export.

It so happens that another ship that left Tarragona, also in December, with 1,776 other cattle is now in a similar situation in Cyprus. On February 25, the Spanish port authorities ordered the docking in the port of Cartagena of the animal transport ship, coming from Libya, to carry out a sanitary and animal welfare inspection, by the veterinary services of the General Administration of the State. The veterinary inspection, which was carried out on February 25 and 26, was accompanied by agents of the Nature Protection Service (Seprona) of the Civil Guard and customs services.

Law 8/2003, on Animal Health, protected by European Union regulations, prohibits, for animal health reasons, the importation of live animals into Community territory from unauthorized third countries. Both Turkey, the initial destination of the calves, and Libya, are not on the list of third countries authorized to export live animals to the European Union. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has proceeded to communicate to those responsible for transport the inspection certificate, as well as the resolution in which they are informed that they proceed to isolate and slaughter the animals, following the applicable regulations and, If not, the Ministry will do it in a subsidiary manner.

The ship Karim Allah left Cartagena with a load of 895 calves bound for Turkey. At the time of its departure, the transport was covered by the certification of the Spanish veterinary authorities, which guarantees the good health of the animals and the respect of the welfare conditions of the transport, following Community regulations. The Turkish authorities rejected the export certificate issued by the Spanish authorities and prevented the landing of the calves at the port of destination. The reason for the rejection is based on the non-acceptance by the Turkish authorities of the concept of Community zones in the field of animal health.

Based on this concept, the health authorities of the Member States can delimit the areas in which a certain disease is present within the territory of a Member State, thus distinguishing them from the disease-free zones from which live animals or animals can be exported. meat products. Subsequently, the person in charge of the transport went to Libya, where the authorities again refused to unload the animals at the port of destination.

From the moment the ship approached the port of Cartagena, the Ministry assures that it has adopted all legal measures to drive the ship to port and thus be able to inspect the sanitary and welfare conditions of the animals. Likewise, the Ministry has highlighted that it has conducted its actions in compliance with current regulations and with the express intention of reducing health risks and the suffering of animals. The inspection report prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food to the ship Karim Allah advised yesterday the slaughter of cattle for reasons of health and animal welfare.

The report detailed the situation of the animals on board to their health and welfare conditions, as well as the statements of the ship’s captain, Nabil Mouhamad, about what happened during the ship’s journey since it left Cartagena in December. Inspectors have counted 864 animals alive and have found the bodies of two others. Asked about this question, Mouhamad explained that he left Cartagena with 895 animals, of which 22 have died.

The captain has assured that 20 of them were thrown overboard, but he has not justified what happened to the remaining nine calves. The ship docked in Turkey and Libya, as well as other ports for provisioning, and according to the captain he was threatened with imprisonment if he did not leave Tripoli. Regarding the conditions of the animals on the ship, the report shows that, according to a visual inspection, 85% have skin affectations, presumably due to fungal infection in a great quantity they suffer digestive alterations, and in some specimens, they have detected scabies.

Also, it specifies that the maximum densities in the pens are respected on the ship, there is an adequate state of cleanliness and proper functioning of the drinkers, but there are no feeders in the pens and straw beds are missing. The report concludes that, although the calves reflect the length of the journey, there are no critical signs that “pose short-term life-threatening or compromise to the animals.

ANIMAL EQUALITY PROTEST IN CARTAGENA

A dozen activists from the NGO foundation Animal Equality have gathered this afternoon in the port of Cartagena to protest what happened these days with the ship Karim Allah, currently docked there with 900 calves that will have to be slaughtered after sailing for two months through the Mediterranean without any country allowing the docking after discovering that they were presumably affected by the bluetongue disease.

The campaign technician of Animal Equality Beatriz Medina has led this protest organized by the coordinator of animal rights in the Region, Amparo Marín, and a dozen volunteers from Cartagena, who displayed banners and posters alluding to the event. The regional deputy of Podemos María Marín also participated in the act of protest to show solidarity with this animal rights association, which expressed its rejection of the situation that the calves are experiencing on board the freighter, which have been circling the Mediterranean for more than two months.

We have to respect and improve the animal health protocols of the European Union and from Podemos, we will continue to push in that sense because it cannot be that even the minimum animal health standards are not met and there are already many countries in the EU that live animals are not transported outside the Union as long as traceability cannot be followed, added Marin. For his part, Amparo Marín criticized that the Spanish authorities do not follow up from origin to destination of the live animals that are transported and that, as has been seen, suffer on the trip.

Beatriz Medina recalled that a year ago something similar happened with a ship that transported lambs and then they already asked for the prohibition of the transport of live animals outside the Union for not respecting the animal welfare agreements, or they are transported to countries where they are not they respect these conventions. She was also concerned about what may happen at this time with euthanasia that will be performed on the calves of Karim Allah that will be sacrificed. The activists have not demonstrated in the port of Escombreras where this ship is located because access is prohibited to it, so they have held the act in the port of Santa Lucía, closer to the urban area of ​​Cartagena. According to Medina, they do not know what is happening there.