Campaigners in Spain

After the tragedy of the "Karim Allah", the shipments from Spain are continuing

FOUR PAWS is on site in Cartagena and documents the cruel machinery


16 March 2021 - A week after the killing of 895 cattle of the Karim Allah, live animal shipments from Spain continue unabated. Over the next five weeks, officials say another 40,000 lambs and 3,000 calves will leave Spanish shores and taken across the Mediterranean to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Algeria. The global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS is close to the port of Cartagena, documenting the newly arriving trucks with young cattle and sheep and has described it as an unprecedented cruelty. FOUR PAWS demands a ban on the export of live animals outside the EU, a ban on long-distance transports over eight hours and a ban on the transport of live animals on ships.

"In the broken system of animal transport, animals always get the short end of the stick and are treated more as objects than as sentient beings. This is especially evident for sheep, goats and young male cattle from the dairy industry, which are sold as animals for slaughter by ship to foreign countries by unscrupulous companies." 

says Dr Martina Stephany, Director of Farm Animals and Nutrition at FOUR PAWS.

According to Stephany, the profit from the sale of the animals is not exclusively at the expense of the animals themselves. Humans and the environment also suffer as both climate change and the rapid spread of pandemics are directly linked to factory farming.

After the terrible events of a week ago, it is already the second day that live cargo has left the Spanish coastal area by transport ships. A few hours after their departure, the ships are no longer in the EU area. According to the legal provisions, the EU regulation must be observed until the final destination, but there are no controls. This means that the animals are de facto in a legal vacuum for days, weeks or even months. The consequences are animals transported in excessive temperatures in the cargo hold, too little space below deck and no medical care in case of illness or injury. If an animal dies on board, it is thrown overboard. In the best case, an animal has completed the transport after a few days. In the case of the Karim Allah, the transport took almost three months. Another tragic case was the Queen Hind in 2019, when the ship capsized and more than 14,000 young sheep drowned off the coast of Romania. Meanwhile, the Elbeik, which has been underway since mid-December last year, continues to sail aimlessly through Spanish waters. It is not yet known when and where the transport ship under the Togo flag will dock.

Live animal transport in Europe

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Michael Kellner

Michael Kellner

PR International Officer

+43 (1) 89 50 20 20

+43 (0) 664 504 38 97

VIER PFOTEN International 
Linke Wienzeile 236
1150 Vienna, Austria

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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