On the fourth day of starting, this Tuesday morning the slaughter of the 873 calves that remained on the ship has concluded Karim Allah after his cruel odyssey of more than two months through the Mediterranean. This operation has been carried out in the same Escombreras dock where the ship is docked, in white tents installed by technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture. Now, the corpses stored in containers will be transferred to a treatment plant for animal by-products not intended for human consumption, where they will be crushed and subsequently incinerated.
Thus ends the painful journey of these plagued animals, after, due to a bureaucratic mess, the Turkish authorities of the port of Iskenderun rejected their disembarkation to be sold as bait cattle, considering that there were not enough guarantees that the cattle were free from bluetongue, a non-contagious viral disease that affects ruminants. Also rejected in Libya and unable to disembark in any other Mediterranean port, the almost 900 calves have finally been slaughtered without it being known if they were really infected.
Although Agriculture has not given more information about the process to kill cattle, the protection of animals at the time of slaughter is regulated by the Regulation (EC) No. 1099/2009 of the European Council, which is intended to ensure that any unnecessary pain or suffering is avoided.
The president of Animal Equality, Silvia Barquero, has assured that she does not yet understand how this situation has been reached. “Seeing the images of the calves that are unloading so small and fragile, which have barely gotten the horns, I wondered how this could have happened,” he lamented. “Nobody has cared about them, in this country animal welfare does not matter even to the administrations. What a pity”.
The lawyers of the ship’s owner, Talia Shipping Line, who opposed the slaughter of the cattle, have also shown their dissatisfaction with the actions of the Spanish authorities. “We have felt very mistreated by the ministry,” complains Miguel Masramon, one of the lawyers.
Justice dismissed the shipowner’s appeal
Last Friday, the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid rejected the shipowner’s appeal, which requested that the order of the Spanish authorities to slaughter the cattle be suspended in a precautionary manner. For Masramon, “it is possible” that the court’s decision is adequate, but it has not seemed good “that the Administration has not been able to explain it to us.” And he wonders if sacrifice was the only possible solution. “The European regulation does not say that it is”, has affirmed. “Where is the explanation that you have to go through here?”
Agriculture ordered the slaughter of the cattle, considering that the cattle are not suitable for any type of transport and that they cannot enter the customs territory of the European Union (because they come from Libya, the last country where they tried to sell, and that the export of live animals to the EU). The inspection report of the ministry’s veterinary services does not mention bluetongue, a disease for which calves were rejected in Turkey and Libya. They also did not do blood tests. Therefore, the animals are sacrificed without knowing whether they are infected or not. “If they were going to slaughter anyway because they came from Libya, what need was there for 15 Animal Health inspectors to spend hours on the ship doing the inspection?”, Complained Masramon, who describes this veterinary control of the ministry as “paripé” .
The Animalista Party-PACMA considers that the operation has been a “scandal” and believes that the Spanish administrations “turn their backs on the animals to obtain the greatest economic benefit at the cost of their suffering”. The president of Animal Equality adds that it is not understood “why the official veterinary inspection has not carried out analyzes on the animals to verify if they were sick. The Government of Spain has acted with very little transparency in this case and many doubts remain to be resolved ”.
In the case of the calves of the Karim Allah, the applicable regulation is that of emptying for animal health reasons, which is based on European regulations and establishes different slaughter methods, all with stunning. Although the method that was finally used is not confirmed, Alfonso Senovilla, Public Health veterinarian at the Castilla-La Mancha Health Council and for years a veterinarian at the Talavera slaughterhouse, explains that the only viable method in this case was by injection. intravenous.
The usual practice in slaughterhouses is to do it with a penetrating captive bolt pistol, which introduces a metal piece into the skull and causes brain damage. But this method requires subsequent bleeding. “That blood would have to be collected in buckets and taken together with the bodies to the processing plant, and that is not feasible,” Senovilla points out.
To administer the lethal injection, the animals are led in a file through corridors called sleeves to go sacrificing them one by one. “The animal is grasped or the horns are tied and the injection is administered”, describes the veterinarian, who believes that “after what the calves have gone through, the only decent thing that can be done is to euthanize them with a lethal injection”.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.