WASHINGTON – Animal welfare groups are demanding a suspension in livestock trade between the United States and Russia after cattle died during shipment by sea, or had to be euthanized after arriving in Russia.

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and Compassion in World Farming (CWF) urged the Russian Federation to suspend cattle imports by sea. The groups said more than 1,000 out of 3,400 breeding dairy cattle from a US shipment died en route to Russia or had to be euthanized because they were in extremely poor condition upon arrival.

Out of 3,314 animals that arrived on board of Pearl of Para vessel, 59 animals died during transportation from Novorossiysk, 160 animals died during the quarantine period on the farms of destination, 180 animals were immediately slaughtered and 665 animals are planned for emergency slaughter due to extreme cachexia, according to a report by Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor).

The animal welfare groups said that another 195 cows were refused at port and remained on the vessel to be returned to the US.

The organizations said that another shipment of US cattle left in early September and is due to arrive in the Russian Federation soon.

"How the United States could send yet another shipment of pregnant cattle, when they haven't even answered for the deaths of over a 1,000 animals from the last shipment, is unfathomable. This is a cruel and unnecessary trade and we are calling on the Russian Federation to suspend all trade of cattle by sea with the United States," said Leah Garces, USA director for CWF.