|BERLIN - German customs officials in the port of Hamburg confiscated 26,000 live fish hidden in the back of a truck in sealed glass vases without food or fresh oxygen, a customs spokesman said.|
The cargo of White Cloud Mountain Minnow fish, native to South-East Asia, traveled for around four weeks imprisoned in thousands of water-filled vases that each contained a plastic flower and two fish.
\"I have never seen such a case like this before,\" said Hartmut Stienen, spokesman for the Authority for Science and Health in Hamburg in northern Germany.
\"I don\'t know why someone would transport so many fish in such terrible conditions that flout every animal welfare regulation,\" he said.
Stienen said the customs authority suspected the lorry, under the guise of a consolidated cargo of artificial glass, was transporting the fish to Hungary for a Chinese firm.
The Hamburg Zoological Institute has assumed responsibility for caring for the 26,000 surviving fish, providing them with food and clean water.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE