Turkey and Libya have rejected the disembarkation of two boats that carried about 2,700 calves from Spain due to reluctance about the possibility that they were infected by the bluetongue disease, an extreme that the producers association (Asoprovac) and the Government deny.
It is expected that in the next few hours the first ship will dock in the port of Cartagena (Murcia) with about 900 calves and, in the near future, another with 1,800 animals would arrive, according to the figures presented by the manager of the association of beef producers meat (Asoprovac), Matilde Moro.
The two ships left Spain in mid-December for Turkey after a meeting between the two countries to see if it was necessary to change the health certificate since “a few weeks before” that departure, several outbreaks of bluetongue were detected in the north of Spain, according to Matilde Moro.
After verifying that the animals came from bluetongue “free zones” and were not affected, Turkey guaranteed the reception of the calves without the need for changes to the certificates, as stated by Moro.
The “surprise” occurred when they arrived at the Turkish port and were rejected because the Turkish authorities “understood that they could be” infected by this non-communicable disease to humans.
As a result, there were “diplomatic efforts” to attempt the discharge, not only in Turkey, but later in Libya, but it was in vain because the refusal continued “despite the fact that Spain even proposed testing” the animals to “demonstrate they were free of bluetongue. ”
The situation, with the animals shipped for more than two months, “could not last forever” and that is why it has been decided that they return to Spain although they will have to be slaughtered and not intended for human consumption, according to the current regulations for these situations.
Asoprovac, in coordination with the association that represents them at the community level, will probably ask the European Commission to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization because “such a situation should not be allowed” since the animals “were well certified and not infected “.
They have also asked the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) to close the beef trade transactions with Turkey: “We are not willing to work with a country that can carry out this type of decision without any technical or scientific criteria” .
The economic damage will be “high”, although Matilde Moro did not specify how much to Efeagro. However, the “most serious” consequence may be the closure of exports – in fact “right now they do not even allow sheep to be exported to Libya” – so the shipment of lambs has also been collaterally affected.
Sources from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) have indicated that the Government is “aware” and concerned about this situation, which it “regrets.”
In line with what was expressed by Asoprovac, the Ministry has indicated that the ship that “now arrives in Cartagena” sailed from Spain with the “animals provided with the corresponding health certificates and from areas free of blue tongue” so they “came out healthy ” from the country.
The Department is in “permanent” contact with the International Organization of Epizootics (OIE), as well as with the European Commission (EC), to find a solution to the situation of this ship which, when it docks, “will be inspected. and appropriate decisions will be made. “
The Port Authority of Cartagena has indicated for its part that the cattle ship ‘Kharim Allah’, with the Lebanese flag, is the one that is arriving in Spain and left with 895 bovine animals fulfilling “all” the inspections required by the inspection of the Service of Animal Health, where the “good health status of the cattle” was determined and following the Animal Welfare regulations in force in the European Community.
He added that “all” livestock exports are carried out in compliance with the Animal Welfare regulations in force in the European Community, and through the joint work of the different official bodies and companies that provide their services in the live cattle terminal.
The animals arrive in trucks coming mainly from the Region of Murcia, but also from other communities such as Andalusia, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla-León.