Live animal exports are being used as cover by smugglers, say NGOs

Live animal exports are being used as cover by smugglers, say NGOs

Huge vessels used to transport farm animals are an attractive option for criminals smuggling drugs, arms and people

  • Warning: this article contains photographs that readers may find upsetting

Wearing self-contained breathing equipment, Spanish police waded through rotting animal corpses, urine and faeces, at risk of inhaling pathogens and methane. They had been searching for smuggled drugs on two livestock ships that reeked of decomposition.

On the first ship, Neameh, detained last year in the southern Spanish port of Algeciras on suspicion of smuggling cocaine from Colombia, many of the 4,000 or so cattle on board were found dead and dying as they lay in their own excrement. The stench was so strong drug sniffer dogs could not be used.

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