The bodies of three animals appeared within the space of 24 hours, leaving visitors “distressed and upset” and environmentalists calling for a full-scale public inquiry. The horrific incidents come hot-on-the-heels of similar cases in the Canary Islands last month, with decaying carcasses landing on the shorelines of tourist locations in the south of Tenerife and La Gomera. All the cases are believed to be linked to so-called “stink boats” which transport live cattle from South America to Europe or North Africa.
The journeys can take up two weeks and the boats are not allowed to visit ports due to the disgusting smell. If an animal dies en route, they are often thrown overboard, even though this is expressly forbidden by law.
“What a shame and how disgusting,” said one shocked tourist.
The three incidents in Menorca happened along different points of the coast.
One was found in the upmarket area of Binisafúa where luxury villas sell for millions. The two others appeared at Punta Prima, in the south-east corner of Menorca, and on the beach of Sant Lluís which is famed for its beautiful coves.
The local councils have started their own investigations, with one theory being they came from Valencia during the storms which hit Spain over Easter. However, the “stink boats” are the most likely culprit as one of the dead cows had a label on its ear, with Uruguay as the destination. Environmentalists say the boat handlers usually cut the animals’ ears off so they cannot be identified.
An authorised company removed the bodies and took them to waste facilities for disposal.
An expert commented: “This practice is totally prohibited by the Marpol agreement over discharges to the sea. The Mediterranean is a specially protected sea. So this ship and its captain must be denounced and sanctioned. This should not be allowed to happen. It is a serious infraction of the agreement and punishable.”
Questions are also being asked about whether the rotting corpses could cause any sort of health hazard to sunbathers and swimmers.