Philip Lymbery | Another shocking live shipment story, but hope for an end to exports
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Another shocking live shipment story, but hope for an end to exports

Live Transport of Cattle, Turkey-Bulgaria 2017 | Credit: Compassion in World Farming

Last Sunday (14th June), was the fifth annual Ban Live Exports : International Awareness Day, initiated by Compassion in World Farming to signal global support for an end to the cruelty of long distance transport.

It is tragic that shortly prior to the event, there was yet another dreadful incident with a cattle shipment from Colombia.

The Horror of Long Distance Journeys

On May 4th, a routine shipment of 4,000 cattle on a ship called the Neameh, sailed out of Colombia on the way to Egypt. Ten days later, as it entered the waters of the Mediterranean, there was a raid by Spanish customs agents and the Spanish navy, midst accusations of cocaine smuggling.

Media reports of the incident told of extremely poor welfare conditions. The Algeciras-based news outlet Europa Sur advised “many of the animals lay dead on the ground for several days among urine, faeces and feed, decomposing.  Many others were in agonising pain with no remedy”.

The Guardian reported that Spanish authorities did not allow the offloading [of] any carcasses, while customs and police searching the ship were unable to use sniffer dogs because of the over-powering stench. The Spanish news agency Efe advised that “agents required breathing apparatus to search the bowels of the ship”.

Without any public explanation, the ship was permitted to continue its journey.

I am appalled that the Spanish authorities took no action to address the suffering of the animals, but simply let the vessel continue on to Egypt.

Nor did they take any action to penalise the serious breaches of EU legislation on the welfare of animals during transport. Non-EU livestock vessels must, while in EU ports or passing through EU seas, respect the requirements of Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport.

Compassion in World Farming has written to Commissioner Stella Kyriakides at the European Commission in Brussels and will also contact the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) calling for urgent investigations. 

Tragically, this incident is just one of many highlighting the very poor conditions that can be found on livestock vessels and why campaigns to bring an end to long distance transport of animals are so vital.

Ban Live Exports Awareness Day

This year’s International Awareness Day took place entirely online because of the pandemic. Nevertheless, it was a huge success involving the participation of a staggering 100 NGOs from 36 countries! 

The social media impact has been exceptional: the total number of views of tweets containing our #BanLiveExports hashtag is 31.1 million to date.

I would like to thank everyone involved in making the event such a success and for spreading our call for an end to animal suffering around the world. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Demanding Justice for Calves

In closing, may I draw your attention to a judicial review proceeding that Compassion in World Farming UK is bringing against the Scottish Government aimed at ending the live export of unweaned calves. 

Compassion in World Farming is taking legal action over the live export of unweaned calves on journeys longer than eight hours.

 

Please urge the Scottish Government to drop its defence of this trade.

EU citizens can also take action here.

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