10.01.2020 – After weeks of extensive negotiations with the responsible authorities, global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and its Romanian partner, animal welfare organisation ARCA, have finally received custody of the surviving 180 sheep rescued from a ship that had capsized in Romania at end of November 2019. On 10th January 2020, FOUR PAWS and ARCA brought the sheep to a farm north of Bucharest, where they will stay until a final decision has been made on their fate. In the meantime, FOUR PAWS is calling on the EU Commission to put an end to live animal transport.
On 24th November, the vessel loaded with 14,000 sheep was on its way from Romania to Saudi Arabia when it capsized. After searching day and night for signs of life in a race against time, the team from ARCA managed to rescue a total of 254 sheep from the sinking ship. Sadly, dozens of the surviving sheep died shortly after due to exhaustion and lethal injuries. Now, over a month after the tragic accident, FOUR PAWS and ARCA got the green light to take over custody of the remaining 180 sheep. The animal welfare team brought the sheep from the quarantine facility near Midia Novodari to their new temporary home north of Bucharest. There, a former horse farm was adjusted to meet the needs of sheep.
“We are happy that the Romanian authorities placed the sheep in our care and will continue cooperating with them closely. Shortly after arrival, our team on-site began to examine them and determine their future care. So far, they are mostly in good condition. Now they can rest and recover from all the suffering they’ve had to endure recently,”
says Jackson Zee, who leads the Disaster Relief Unit at FOUR PAWS.
EU transport regulations must consider animal welfare
The recent ship tragedy in Romania is a reminder that again and again, massive animal welfare problems occur during live animal transports. “Clearly, animals cannot be protected on such journeys. Live animal transport must therefore be banned. Every year more than three million live animals are transported from the EU to third countries. No matter how strict the rules may be and how tragic this accident is, mass deaths like this are becoming more common, be it on the road or on ships. FOUR PAWS calls upon Romania to stick to its announcement to work towards a transport of meat instead of animals. All other European member states and the European Institutions should follow suit,” says Martina Stephany, Director of the Farm Animals and Nutrition department at FOUR PAWS. In addition to a complete investigation and clarification of this terrible incident, FOUR PAWS calls on the EU Commission and all member states to work towards an end to live animal transport. In the meantime they need to invest in sustainable solutions that reduce the suffering of animals during live transports, such as a limitation of the transport duration of live animals to a maximum of eight hours, more unannounced checks and tougher sanctions for infringements.