Thousands of turtles were sent to an emergency shelter because KLM had crammed them together for transportation. Now the airline has to pay for the rescue.
This summer 11 000 turtles should have traveled halfway around the world. KLM was supposed to fly the reptiles from South America via Africa to Asia. During the stopover at its home hub in Amsterdam, the plane was subject to inspections by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority – fortunately for the animals, as the inspectors immediately raised concerns.
According to the authority, the turtles were stuffed into containers that were too cramped. Some of the animals had already died and the condition of the remaining turtles was critical. The government acted quickly and took the animals to an emergency shelter. Now a Dutch court ruled that the national airline has to cover the costs.
KLM animal shelter equipped inadequately
As the court writes in a statement, KLM now has to pay 470,000 euros to the authorities, which had paid for the rescue operation beforehand. The airline and the authorities both had agreed to release the turtles from the plane. But so far there has been disagreement on where to accommodate the animals.
KLM wanted to put the turtles in their own animal station. For the Dutch authorities, however, it was unclear whether it was suitable as an emergency shelter. In addition, the required water basins, which were already available in another station, would have had to be re-installed. Now the court of last instance has ruled that the government had reacted appropriately and the state airline has to pay the costs.