Spain: Shipload of cattle to be killed after 2 months at sea

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Eine Kuh steht am Dienstag, 13. Oktober 2009, in einem Kuhstall in Hergolding, Bayern. (AP Photo/Christof Stache) —A cow stands in a cow barn in Hergolding near Munich, southern Germany, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)

MADRID (AP) — Nearly 900 cattle that have been on a ship traveling the Mediterranean Sea for two months will be sacrificed after veterinarians deemed them no longer fit for export, Spanish authorities said.

A total of 895 cattle set sail from the Spanish port of Cartagena on Dec. 18 in the cargo ship named Karim Allah destined for export to Turkey. Turkish port authorities, however, refused to let them disembark, reportedly due to suspicions about their health.

After a second failed attempt to unload the cattle in Libya, the boat returned to Cartagena, where Spanish authorities ordered it to dock on Thursday.

After an official inspection by government veterinarians, Spain’s minister of agriculture said animals were to be sacrificed. Veterinarians judged them to be both unfit either for transport to another country of for their return to Spain.

The ministry said the cattle originally left Spain with the proper health authorizations.

Animal rights groups have denounced the slaughter of the livestock.

“This is yet another wake-up call to urgently end live export,” the Eurogroup for Animals said.

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