A new report from the Spanish government calls for killing the more than 850 animals stuck aboard a transport ship in the Mediterranean.
CARTAGENA, Spain (Reuters) - More than 850 cows that spent months aboard a ship wandering across the Mediterranean are not fit for transport anymore and should be killed, according to a confidential report by Spanish government veterinarians seen by Reuters.
The cows were kept in what an animal rights activist called “hellish” conditions on the Karim Allah, which docked in the southeastern Spanish port of Cartagena on Thursday after struggling to find a buyer for the cattle during the past two months.
The beasts were rejected by several countries over fears they had bovine bluetongue virus. The insect-borne virus causes lameness and hemorrhaging among cattle. Bluetongue does not affect humans.
The veterinarians’ report concluded that the animals had suffered from the lengthy journey. Some of them were unwell and not fit for transport outside of the European Union, nor should they be allowed in the EU. Euthanasia would be the best solution for their health and welfare, it said.
The report did not say if the cattle had bluetongue disease.
“It is not even mentioned, which is very surprising,” said Miquel Masramon, a lawyer representing the ship owner Talia Shipping Line. The ship is 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,” he said.
Masramon said he would push for the return of blood samples taken from the animals and impounded by authorities on Thursday to be released and tested “to prove if there is any bluetongue”.
The Agriculture Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It said earlier on Friday that it would make appropriate decisions after analyzing information from the inspection.
The vessel originally left Cartagena to deliver the cattle to Turkey. But authorities there blocked the shipment and suspended live animal imports from Spain, fearing bluetongue infection.
That rejection turned the ship into an international pariah. Several countries refused it entry even to replenish animal feed, forcing the cows to go several days with just water.
The cows likely have severe health problems after their “hellish” crossing, said animal rights activist Silvia Barquero, director of the Igualdad Animal NGO.
“What has happened to the waste produced by all these animals for two months? We are sure they are in unacceptable sanitary conditions,” Barquero told Reuters.
The Agriculture Ministry’s experts counted 864 animals alive on board. Twenty-two cows died at sea, with two corpses still aboard. The remains of the others that died were chopped up and thrown overboard during the journey, the report said.
Ownership of the cattle is unclear. The exporter, World Trade, said it is not responsible because it sold the animals, Masramon said. Reuters has been unable to reach World Trade for comment.
A second ship, the ElBeik, also set sail from Spain in December with a cargo of nearly 1,800 cows. It is currently moored off the Turkish Cypriot port of Famagusta.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Nathan Allen in Madrid, and Juan Medina and Marco Trujillo in Cartagena; Additional reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul; Writing by Nathan Allen and Jessica Jones; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Matthew Lewis)
Dairy Farmers of Canada, a milk product lobbying group, has asked farmers to consider alternatives to palm oil supplements after home bakers started expressing concerns that their butter was hard.
There is no research proving why Canadian butter has gotten harder, but some dairy consumers are pointing to the increased use of palm oil in cow feed as the culprit.
This form of supplement is used to produce more milk fat from cows and can change the texture of butter.
Dairy Farmers of Canada formed a group of experts to look into "buttergate."
"Academics from different relevant areas along with sector experts will come together shortly to begin the work. DFC will also seek the views of consumers as part of this exercise," the group said in a statement. "Pending completion of this work, DFC is asking dairy farmers to consider alternatives to palm supplements."
The outrage came to light after Julie Van Rosendaal, a Canadian cookbook author, wrote a column in the Globe and Mail last week that an increased use of palm fats in cows' diets could be what is changing the consistency in the spread.
Including palm oil in cow feed is not new, but hundreds of farmers around Canada have recently stepped up their use of the supplements since this summer to meet an increased demand by home bakers spending more time in the kitchen, The BBC previously reported.
The use of palm oil is legal, but controversial because of a known link between the consumption of saturated fats and heart disease. Its production can also be damaging to the environment.
- Знакомьтесь: Настя, 29 лет, дизайнер-архитектор, замужем. В ней уживаются пять совершенно разных внутренних «я». Это внутренний ребенок; ответственная за приступы всех генеральных уборок хозяюшка; одержимый контролем требовательный родитель; богиня удовольствий и самоуверенная, дерзкая карьеристка. У каждой из них — свои интересы и представления о счастье. Они хитрят, спорят и воюют между собой. Но когда Настя одновременно потеряет работу, мужа и лучшую подругу, пятёрку ждёт сложная задача. Им предстоит научиться договариваться друг с другом и идти на компромиссы — все ради того, чтобы Настя смогла с уверенностью сказать: Я люблю себя всех!