An airline has been forced to pay more than £142,000 in damages after a dozen capybara died after being kept on a flight for 54 hours without water or proper ventilation.
Iberia Airways were made to pay the fine after the mammals were discovered during a stop-off in Madrid on October 28 last year.
A total of 20 capybara were squashed into crates which were not ventilated properly, as they made their way from Lima, Peru to China on board the flight.
On arrival, two of the animals had already died while a third passed away before it was offloaded from the aircraft.
Another was in such a poor state from dehydration it had to be euthanised shortly after a vet arrived at the scene.
Of the original cargo of 20 animals, only eight survived the flight, which had lasted around 54 hours.
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The fine also included the transportation of a dog on a flight from Palma Majorca, via Madrid, on January 11 which was in a container too small for it.
At Uxbridge Magistrates Court, District Judge Deborah Wright said there was nothing to suggest the offences were committed for financial gain.
But judge Wright said the deaths appeared to be due to "sloppiness on the part of individual employees who have not followed procedures.”
Iberia Airways was ordered to pay a total of £142,397 which included £6,227 costs and a £170 surcharge, payable within 28 days.
The capybara is a mammal native to South America and is considered to be the largest living rodent in the world.