The Elbeik arrived in Cartagena (Spain): we urge the Spanish Authorities to relieve the 1,610 bovines still alive from their suffering.


The Elbeik arrived in Cartagena (Spain): we urge the Spanish Authorities to relieve the 1,610 bovines still alive from their suffering.

18 March 2021
Press Release
The Elbeik vessel, after three months at sea, was requested by the Spanish authorities to go to Cartagena. The same authorities knew that the animals were going to be rejected already back in December.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Brussels, 19 March 2021 

Exactly three months ago 1,776 bovines left Tarragona (Spain) to be exported to the Middle East. After having been refused upon arrival for suspected bluetongue disease, they have been crossing the Mediterranean without a clear destination. 

The Elbeik’s fate is linked to the Karim Allah’s one, since all the animals transported were coming from the same region and shipped at the same time. The Spanish authorities learned that the animals transported on the Karim Allah were going to be rejected on December 21.

However, they didn’t inform the European Commission (EC) of what was happening. Indeed the EC was only informed by the Italian veterinary services, reporting the situation near Cagliari (Italy), on February 18. At that time the two ships had already been wandering around the Mediterranean for two months.

Despite the fact that the Greek authorities in Crete provided the Elbeik with food for the crew and feed for the animals, there are concerns over the conditions of both after three months at sea. 

The Elbeik has recently spent several days near the island of Menorca while the owner tried to find a buyer in a third country. Sources from the vessel assure that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has not responded to their repeated requests to issue new health certificates, needed for the re-sale.  

On March 16 the Spanish authorities issued an order requesting the vessel to dock at Cartagena to proceed with an inspection on the health and welfare status of the animals. 

Only a few weeks ago the animals on board the Karim Allah, after veterinary inspection, were declared unfit for transport and therefore they were all killed. The mobile slaughter unit is still up in Cartagena. 

The Transport Regulation requires that animals, before being transported, must be declared “fit for the journey” (Art 3(b)) and after so many months confined in a vessel without veterinary care and with feed shortage, it is very likely that the welfare of these animals is seriously compromised. Already 160 bovines died on board the Elbeik.

Eurogroup for Animals believes that these animals must not be re-exported, and calls on the Spanish Authorities to humanely relieve them from their sufferings as soon as possible.

This saga proves once more that animals should not be transported, especially over long-distances. Now there is the risk that these animals will be re-exported: this would not be compatible with the EU principle that animals are sentient beings and should not be transported in a way that would cause  them even more suffering”

Commented Reineke Hameleers, CEO,  Eurogroup for Animals. 



Press contact
Agnese Marcon, Interim Communications Manager, Eurogroup for Animals
+32 (0) 456 078 038  

Eurogroup for Animals represents 70 animal advocacy organisations in 26 EU Member States, Switzerland, Serbia, Norway, Australia and the USA. Since its inception in 1980, the organisation has succeeded in encouraging the EU to adopt higher legal standards for animal protection. Eurogroup for Animals reflects public opinion through its membership organisations’ affiliations across the Union, and has both the scientific and technical expertise to provide authoritative advice on issues relating to animal welfare.