Constanta/Vienna, 28th November 2019 –The Romanian animal welfare organisation ARCA, which was trained by global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS for such missions, continues to work tirelessly to rescue as many as possible of the 14,000 sheep trapped in a capsized ship. The vessel was on its way from Romania to Saudi Arabia when it capsized on 24th November. Yesterday, the team managed to rescue another 109 sheep alive from the ship. A total of 228 animals have already been saved from a slow death. The rescued sheep are in quarantine about 25 kilometres from Midia Novodari, where Romanian official veterinarians look after them. Today, the emergency operation coordinated by FOUR PAWS is being continued – even though the chances of rescuing more sheep are now low at this point.
Video footage published yesterday by FOUR PAWS shows the team's desperate attempts and the misery of the horrific situation.
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Veterinarian Dr Ovidiu Rosu from ARCA explains: “We drilled two holes in the ship's side to have better access to the animals. The situation is very difficult due to smoke and toxic fumes, but we managed to install a fan inside the ship, so we could at least enter the ship with face masks.” It is a race against time, says Rosu: “Of course the health of the animals is getting worse and worse. They already have big breathing problems but every life count, that's why we continue.”
The team works together with emergency trained special forces of the ISU, the Romanian Inspectorate for Emergency Situations. FOUR PAWS is in contact with the responsible authorities to take over the animals and find a sustainable and animal-friendly solution for them.
FOUR PAWS demands a complete investigation and clarification of this terrible incident. “Again and again, massive animal welfare problems occur during animal transports,” says Dr Martina Stephany, Director of the Farm Animals and Nutrition department at FOUR PAWS.
“Tragedies like these are a sign that animal welfare is simply not guaranteed during long-distance transports to third countries. In fact, European animal welfare standards must be guaranteed from the point of departure to the destination – even outside the EU. Although this is often not the case, the authorities approve illegal transports. If animal welfare rules are simply ignored, the EU must initiate infringement proceedings and urgently reconsider its transport regulations. Long-distance transports to third countries should be banned.”
Dr Martina Stephany
FOUR PAWS is an international animal welfare organisation with headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Founded by Heli Dungler in 1988, the organisation strives to help animals in need with sustainable campaigns and projects. The work is based on substantiated research and scientific expertise as well as intensive national and international lobbying. FOUR PAWS focuses on animals that are directly under human influence: stray dogs and stray cats, farm animals, companion animals and wild animals including bears, big cats and orang-utans kept in inappropriate conditions. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Kosovo, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam, FOUR PAWS aims to help animals in need directly and quickly. www.four-paws.org.uk