25. June 2022

Investigation in the Spanish Port of Cartagena: Loading of cattle on export vessels from Spain to Egypt

Our team is not allowed to enter the port and works from a distance.

Most of the calves on trucks are constantly mooing. The drinking system are made for pigs and cannot be used by calves. Even if they could, there is no use because there is no water running through the system.

JULIA AK is 46 years old and included in the EU’s Grey List. Deficiencies have been identified in the past, for example in fire safety.

Although younger, JOURI also used to be a cargo ship. Converted cargo ships pose risks of injury to animals.

The port of Cartagena in Spain is one of the most important export ports. From there, European animals are transported to countries outside the EU. In mid-June, our team observes the loading of bovine animals onto export ships. Our partner organisations Animals International and Verein Gegen Tierfabriken are with us.

The vessels JULIA AK (built 1976, 46 years) and JOURI (built 1999, 23 years) are moored in the harbour. Both are former cargo ships that were later converted into animal transport ships. Many of the ships sail under black flags and should have been scrapped long ago.

Last year we found that our complaints had led to minor improvements. All these improvements should have been standard since 2007, according to the EU Animal Transport Regulation.

Some things remain bad: cattle are forced onto the ship faster with electric shocks. Some electric shocks go into the face and are used on young animals, which is forbidden.

At peak times, the animal transporters arrive at the port every minute. Up to ten of them can park in the harbour area. The others need to wait at a nearby petrol station. Some transporters stay there all night. For the animals, this results in longer waiting times. Calves have to wait especially long, because they are the last to get on the ship. Their loud mooing is a sign of hunger and thirst. The drinking facilities on the trucks do not work. The calves will only be fed on the ship.

After several days, JULIA AK and JOURI leave Cartagena. Slaughter is awaiting the approximately 4,000 bovines in Egypt. With our pictures and videos, we go back to our offices to continue the fight for an export ban on live animals.