The ship carrying the cattle, called Karim Allah, had struggled to find a buyer for the cattle for the past two months. It finally docked in the southeastern Spanish port of Cartagena on Thursday.
Several countries rejected the animals for fear they had bovine bluetongue virus, which causes lameness and haemorrhaging among cattle, but does not affect humans.
The veterinarians’ report, seen by Reuters, said the animals had suffered from the journey, and were unwell and not fit for transport outside the EU.
It did not say if the cattle had bluetongue disease, but recommended euthanasia as the best solution for their health and welfare.
The cattle likely have severe health problems after their “hellish” crossing, animal rights activist Silvia Barquero, director of the Igualdad Animal NGO, told Reuters.
The NGO is calling for Spain to end the transport of animals outside the EU.
— Igualdad Animal (@IgualdadAnimal) February 25, 2021
The Agriculture Ministry told Reuters it will make appropriate decisions after analysing information from the inspection.
The ship left Cartagena to deliver the cattle to Turkey, but authorities there blocked the shipment fearing bluetongue infection.
This led to several other countries refusing entry even to replenish animal feed, forcing the cows to go several days with just water.
The Agriculture Ministry’s experts said 864 animals were alive on board. Twenty-two cows died at sea, with two corpses still aboard. The remains of others were chopped up and thrown overboard during the journey, the report said.
Ownership of the cattle is unclear.