Animals on a Ship – level 3

05-03-2021 07:00

More than 854 cattle have spent two months adrift in the Mediterranean after being rejected by several countries.

The reason why the animals were stranded at sea were fears that they had bovine bluetongue virus. The vessel is owned and managed by two Lebanese companies while the cattle are owned by a third party. The ship took the male calves, who were about seven to eight months old, on board at the Spanish port of Cartagena in mid-December, and the ship sailed for Turkey. However, a mistake on the Spanish government´s animal health paperwork led Turkey to reject the cattle, fearing that they could be infected with bluetongue.

According to a report by Spanish government veterinarians, the animals were no longer fit for transport and they should be killed. The animals have been kept in very poor conditions and they have suffered from the lengthy journey. The report concluded that euthanasia would be the best solution for the animals´ health and welfare.

Difficult words: adrift (floating without engine power and without ties), bovine (relating to cattle), euthanasia (the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering).

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