Following a tragic ship accident with over 14,000 live sheep on board, an exhaustive rescue operation by FOUR PAWS and our partners, and global outrage over the incident, the Romanian government is taking the first appropriate actions.
After a meeting with Romanian FOUR PAWS partner organization ARCA and Animals International, the Romanian Minister of Agriculture, Adrian Oros, spoke out in favor of suspending live exports to countries outside the European Union. In the medium term, frozen meat is to be exported instead. FOUR PAWS sees this decision as the right step for Romania as well as other EU countries.
“This decision by Romania, one of the largest exporters in the EU, is an important signal in terms of animal welfare. Other EU member states must follow this example. Thousands of animals suffer every day from horrendous transport conditions over extremely long distances. It is about time to, if at all, export meat instead of animals ready for slaughter,” says Dr Martina Stephany, Director of the Farm Animals and Nutrition department at FOUR PAWS.
The announcement by the Romanian Minister of Agriculture followed peaceful protests by local and international organizations such as FOUR PAWS, ARCA, Animals International, Animal Society, Ethics and Future, FREE, Nima Sanctuary, Romanian Vegan Association and Agent Green against live animal exports in Bucharest on Monday December 2nd.
Additionally, FOUR PAWS calls on all EU member states to end all existing agreements on the export of live animals to non-EU countries and to introduce a maximum transport time of eight hours. “The European Commission is urgently called upon here to act quickly – also regarding the complete elucidation and consequences of this latest catastrophe,” demands Stephany.
In cooperation with local authorities and FOUR PAWS, ARCA was able to recover 254 of the 14,600 sheep involved in the accident. Over 70 of the rescued sheep have now died of their serious injuries. Veterinarians from the Romanian Veterinary Office are currently treating the remaining sheep on a farm. Their future remains uncertain. FOUR PAWS keeps fighting for the safe housing and protection of the animals.
With 12 million animals, Romania is the largest sheep and goat producer in the EU after Great Britain and Spain. Every year, around 2.4 million of these animals get exported. Many of them to the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region. Time and time again countless animals die in agony on these transports.
On December 4th, our onsite vets in Romania were able to check the rescued survivors, who are currently being held on a farm. Our team are still in negotiations, fighting to ensure a safe and humane future for these sheep.
Featured image: sheep at a sale yard. Image credit Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals.