Live animal transport at sea

Tragedies at sea – Cartagena and Suez Canal

The suffering of the thousands of animals trapped onboard of livestock vessels


In December 2020, the vessels Elbeik and Karim Allah left the ports of Tarragona and of Cartagena, Spain, with 2,600 young bulls on board. Because of a suspected bluetongue infection, the animals were stranded at sea for three months – they suffered in cruel conditions before they were finally killed in March 2021 upon their arrival back in Spain. 

While the young bulls were killed, in the Port of Cartagena and in other ports across the EU, other animals were already being boarded on vessels and shipped to third countries, as usual.  

FOUR PAWS was on-site, in the Port of Cartagena, when the ordeal of the young bulls on the Elbeik ended in their killing. The team documented the newly departing transports with cattle and sheep. 

When the ship Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal in March 2021, thousands of sheep and hundreds of cattle had to wait and suffer at sea, on board of livestock vessels. 

When farm animals were trapped again at sea during the Suez Canal blockade, FOUR PAWS was present in Port Said, Egypt, and Port Aqaba, Jordan to gather information on the condition of the sheep and cattle upon their arrival. 

The FOUR PAWS team documented the voyage of thousands of sheep on board of Omega Star, which departed from Cartagena, on March 16th and was caught in the Suez Canal blockade before it could finally arrive in the Port of Aqaba, Jordan on March 30th.

All the evidence gathered points to one thing: at sea, animals suffer greatly, and when accidents happen these animals are trapped without escape. 

There is no reason for perpetuating this sick, outdated system. The countries that import live animals from EU countries, already import meat from these same countries. It is possible to export meat instead of animals. It’s already happening. It is time for the European Commission to put an end to all live animal transports over long-distances and to third countries! 

Live animal transport

The long distance transport of live animals must be stopped 

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