A consignment of 1,800 cattle left for Turkey from the shores of Spain, destined to be sacrificed for consumption. But the mercy of a quick death was not destined for the dairy cows. Stuck off the shores of Turkey, where they were to be unloaded, the creatures suffered a horrific death, some starving to death, thrown overboard, while others were put down to empty the ship. The global pandemic was given as the reason for the delay that killed the 1,800 dairy cows.
The contentious cross-border trade in animals had been in the center of attention and the events on board the ship, Elbeik that was carrying the cattle, has further inflamed passions among people.
The sea transportation of animals is a dark area, with no rules followed for the proper storage and movement of dairy cows, sheep, hens, pigs, chickens, goats, and other farm animals. The cut down in inspection due to the pandemic has left millions of animals stuck in transit.
Rising awareness and protests from animal rights advocates have led to many countries banning the system altogether. The dairy cows that survived the return journey to Spain were eventually all killed as they were considered too sick to be sold.
The UK has already set in motion steps that would lead to a total ban on the transportation of slaughter animals. New Zealand has said that it would stop the sea transport of animals by 2023.
Around 39M tons of meat from Dairy cows, bulls, goats, sheep, and a host of other animals are transported annually, most of it slaughtered and then packed and shipped in frozen condition. This is more lucrative and bypasses the hassles of transferring live animals.
Growing Demand For Live Meat Causes Rise In Sea Transport Of Dairy Cows
But with better living standards around the world, the demand for fresh meat has grown. The Muslim countries have their religious requirements for halal meat.
But transporting the animals by sea involves exposing the animals to horrific conditions as cramped enclosure leads to the spread of germs and bacteria. 75% of the total meat exported in the world originates from the European Union, but most of it is slaughtered beforehand.
The tragedy on the Elbeik was not the only incident involving dairy cows. Another consignment of 800 bulls headed from Spain to Turkey had to be put down. European Union veterinary inspectors check consignment of live cattle and birds to see if they are fit to be transported. Australian laws require a veterinary doctor to be on board for voyages that stretch beyond 10 days.
But the pandemic has affected the systems in place and there has been a 30% drop in the inspection of livestock.