Update: Status of Animals aboard Suez Canal Cargo Ships

The worst maritime animal welfare tragedy in history could by now, be unavoidable, says Gabrile Păun, the EU director for Animals International, an NGO. There are 16 ships taking live animals from the EU to the Persian Gulf which have been stuck for several days behind the stranded ‘Ever Given’ cargo vessel in the Suez Canal.

My greatest fear is that animals run out of food and water and they get stuck on the ships because they cannot be unloaded somewhere else for paperwork reasons. … Getting stuck on board means there is a risk [for the animals] of starvation, dehydration, injuries, waste buildup so they can’t lie down, and nor can the crew get rid of dead animal bodies in the [Suez] canal. It’s basically a ticking biohazard timebomb for animals and the crew and any person involved.

Gerit Weidinger, the EU coordinator for Animals International, to the Guardian

The container ship’s manager confirmed that the ship has been set afloat at 3 pm local time on Monday and was heading to the Great Bitter Lake where it would undergo a full inspection. Meanwhile, the livestock on many vessels caught in the traffic jam appear likely to die.

Even with the Ever Given now slowly moving again, the live animals inside the blistering cargo containers, which are quickly running out of feed and water, are now nearing an even more tragic end than that which awaits them in the slaughterhouses at their destination. Even if the ships were to resume full course today, the water and food would not last until their sea journey is over.

Romania is the source for the 130,000 of the 200,000 live animals now caught in the Suez bottleneck. Some six of the 11 ships full to the brim with the live animals from the South-Eastern European nation are in a particularly critical situation. They were supposed to reach harbors in the Persian Gulf over four days ago but still have not left the Canal. According to EU law, ships carrying live animals need to load 25 percent more food than planned for their trip in case of delays, but animal welfare organizations warned that this rarely happens.

The euobserver

Romanian veterinary authorities said they had assurances from transport firms that their livestock ships had enough fodder and water “for the coming days.” Egypt’s Agriculture Ministry was quoted by the state-run Al-Ahram website as reporting that veterinary teams had been sent to livestock stuck offshore. Officials have made no statements regarding the health of livestock so far.

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Source: euobserver The BBC The NYMag Supplemental: Mid-Day (Mumbai)

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