Less than three weeks after nearly 900 Spanish cattle stuck on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea began to be culled, Spain on Monday ordered the slaughter of another 1,610 cattle that have been stranded aboard the Elbeik livestock ship since December.
News outlets report that Spain's agriculture ministry deemed the cattle unfit for continued travel and can't be re-imported into the European Union and must be culled within the coming days.
Reuters reports that Turkish authorities rejected the Elbeik's cattle in December, along with 850 other Spanish cattle on a Lebanon-flagged ship over concerns of the bovine bluetongue virus. Both ships failed to find a buyer for their cattle for months before returning to the port of Cartagena, with the Elbeik porting last week.
Reuters also reported that an animal rights group website shows a report by Spanish government veterinarians stating 179 cows on the Elbeik died during the ship's Mediterranean wandering and were thrown overboard, while several others were malnourished and dehydrated and "barely conscious" amid the ship's crammed and unsanitary pens.