Cyprus urged to rescue stranded cattle on ship

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Cyprus’ Animal Party has urged the government to intervene and rescue hundreds of sick cattle on a ship anchored off the island’s northern coast.

The party said the shipment of animals loaded in Spain in December had ended up off the Turkish-held north of the island because no country would receive them.

It called on the Republic of Cyprus government to use “all appropriate means” to rescue the sick animals that have been in limbo for two months without a destination.

Nicosia was called upon to seek support from EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides on the matter.

Thousands of cattle remain stranded at sea on two livestock ships that left Spain in mid-December, the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported.

The two vessels were bound for Libya, but due to an onboard outbreak of the bovine disease bluetongue, they were refused entry at multiple ports.

One of those ships, the Elbeik, anchored off Cyprus’s northern coast at Famagusta, is said to have around 1,700 cattle on board.

Cypriot daily Phileleftheros said the authorities are aware of the situation and monitoring the ship if it sails into the Republic of Cyprus’ territorial waters.

It said animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming has asked for the Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture to send vets aboard the ship and examine the animals when possible.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island that was backed by the Greek military.

The Animal Party said it had joined a campaign with other European animal welfare organisations against live animal transports.

It said due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of borders, hundreds of thousands of animals were “trapped” for longer than necessary in unsuitable transport conditions. (source AFP)