25th November 2019 - Heartbreaking news as a cargo ship carrying over 14,000 sheep overturns. Yesterday, shortly after leaving the port of Capu Midia on the Romanian Black Sea coast, the animal transport ship 'Queen Hind' overturned, trapping approximately 4, 600 terrified sheep on board, of which, due to being trapped in the submerging compartments, many are presumed to have already drowned. The team were safely evacuated, but as thousands of sheep were expected to be alive and suffering, our partner organisation ARCA / Letea Wild Horses in Romania made the rapid decided to go on board the vessel to try to save as many sheep as possible, before it was too late.
The animals were destined to be transported from Europe to Saudi Arabia. Every year more than one billion poultry and 37 million live cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and horses are transported across borders. Just a couple of years ago in 2017, mass suffering was seen when 2,400 sheep were found to have died a hideous death from stress, hear and suffocation aboard a live transport ship travelling from Australia to the Middle East.
Live transport comes to massive animal welfare issue, due to travel time and transport conditions, it is almost impossible to transport animals long distances humanely. Your personal shopping and eating habits decide day after day how animals are kept and treated. Make a stand today against animal transport by replacing meat and products of animal origin as often as possible with plant-based alternatives.
Watch their journey
These are the lucky ones, the 180 lives saved from a tragic accident which left over 14,000 sheep stranded for dead off the Romanian coast. They get a second chance and will be ambassadors for the millions of farm animals who suffer tremendously from long distance live transport every year. You can support their new life here.
Friday: We have custody of the surviving sheep!
Today we can announce a huge success. We have finally gained the custody of the rescued sheep from the capsized ship in Romania. Endless negotiations have taken place since the accident in order to gain custody of the sheep, but we have finally received the green light. With the help of you, our generous and determined supports, we have custody of the sheep.
The 180 survivors were today taken from where they have been being held with the Romanian authorities and have arrived at their new home! Our vets will now do thorough health checks on the sheep, they will receive everything they need for their recovery ahead.
For us, it remains clear: When animals cannot be protected such transports should be banned. FOUR PAWS is calling on the EU to end of live animal transport.
Thursday: Discussion of transport reaching European Parliament
Our team and local partners ARCA / Letea Wild Horses are still in constant negotiations with the Romanian authorities, fighting to gain official custody of the sheep rescued from the capsized cargo ship.
The deaths of thousands of animals can be avoided, these sheep will remain a reminder of the cruelty that can be tied to live transport. Finally, the discussion has reached European Level, both the European Council and the European Parliament are in discussion about stricter rules for live animal transport. Help us to raise the voice of the public to end this cruelty and sign our petition at the bottom of the page.
Tuesday: Negotiations are ongoing
Together with our local partners ARCA / Letea Wild Horses, our team are still in negotiations with the authorities in Romania on the ownership of the rescued sheep.
We strive to make sure that these thousands of sheep did not die in vain. Something has to change with the laws and regulations on live animal transport. We want to make sure that instead of transporting live animals on long, torturous journeys, that only meat and genetic material can be transported.
We are calling on the European Institutions and EU member states to work for a total ban on the export of live animals. Please help us end this torture #EndLiveTransport
Wednesday: Vet check of survivors
Our onsite vets in Romania were able to check the rescued survivors following last week's tragic cargo accident, which claimed the lives of over 14,000 sheep. Along with our local partners ARCA / Letea Wild Horses and other NGOs, 254 alive sheep were able to be pulled from the wreckage️. Sadly, since then, 60 of these sheep have died, and a further 11 were euthanised due to their injuries . Most of the remaining animals are in good condition, some worse than others but all are receiving adequate care and treatment. Sadly, we were not able to take more photos on the farm premises.
Until now, what will happen to the sheep still remains uncertain, and our team are still in negotiations, fighting to ensure these sheep a safe future they deserve.
Monday: We keep on fighting
Many of you are wondering what is going to happen to the surviving sheep currently receiving medical care on a farm. We are working at full speed to give the sheep a chance to live, so please understand that we can't say more at the moment. Together with other NGOs, our team of ARCA / Letea Wild Horses will attend a demonstration in Romania tomorrow, so that an accident like this can not happen anymore. We'll keep you updated!
Saturday: It’s time to say thank you
The last few days have been very emotional for all of us. We were angry, sad, determined, motivated, exhausted, but above all grateful. Grateful for these people in the picture, especially our team Dr. Ovidiu Rosu, Kuki Barbuceanu and Dr. Florin Mlagiu from ARCA Letea Wild Horses – THANK YOU for your courage, commitment and motivation. Also a big thank you to ISU, ARSVOM and ANR, with whom our team searched side by side for survivors. You are the true heroes of this mission! We, who sit behind the PCs and write these updates, are just thankful to be able to report on your great work. And of course, a big thank you to our FOUR PAWS community. Not only did you support us with countless donations, but you also shared our posts on social media and left your encouraging support in the comments. Now, we hope that all rescued sheep will get the chance to live a quiet and peaceful life. We will continue to fight for the survivors of this shipwreck.
Thursday: Still a race against time
It is amazing that after 3 days, our team and partners from ARCA / Letea Wild Horses are still pulling out survivors from the wreckage️. The team are exhausted, but they will not stop until each and every possible life has been saved. Today our team will be at the side of ISU who will cut into one more compartment of the ship. The 254 rescued sheep, for now are safe and receiving the much needed medical attention they need.
Wednesday: 119 sheep brought ashore!
Our ARCA / Letea Wild Horses team worked tirelessly with Romanian firefighters until late into the night to search for survivors. The knowledge that there are still conscious animals on board drives us back into the partially flooded corridors of the freighter against all fatigue and exhaustion. We have no time to think about the unbelievable sight of this ship loaded with the bodies of thousands of animal carcasses. Every time we have almost given up hope, the leg of a sheep suddenly twitches in front of us. From nowhere we hear again and again a quiet "Baa", which steers us in the direction of a still breathing animal. Together we pull the frightened creatures out from the mass grave and into the daylight.
According to the code of honour of a captain, we will only leave this ship when every living sheep is outside.
Even though we have been severely hit in view of the many thousands of dead, we can inform you that to this point, we have been able to rescue 119 sheep alive from the ship. Many of you have been wondering what would happen to the animals, and we have good news: all 119 of them have already been brought to safety and are currently being treated and cared for on a farm. Once the rescue mission is over, we will consider what will happen to them and how we can make sure they are well. However, the next mission is already underway, and it is even more difficult than the previous ones: some areas of the ship have been rendered inaccessible by the incident, our team now has to drill openings in the locked holds. No one knows what awaits us behind these walls, but we hope to find sheep alive inside.
Tuesday: Our team is on board!
Breaking news from the sinking cargo ship off the Romanian coast: since yesterday we have been trying to make it clear to the local authorities that live sheep are still trapped in the capsized ship. Our partner organisation ARCA / Letea Wild Horses in Romania has decided to go on board to try and get the animals out of the water. It is a race against time to get as many animals can get to safety!
Monday: Breaking news
Heartbreaking news as a cargo ship carrying 14,600 sheep overturns! Yesterday, shortly after leaving the port of Capu Midia on the Romanian Black Sea coast, the animal transport ship "Queen Hind" overturned, trapping more than 14,600 terrified sheep onboard, of which most are presumed to have drowned.