Photo: ©Animals Australia
Today Commissioner Andriukaitis has called on Petre Daea, the Romanian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, to stop the cruel shipment of 70,000 sheep from Romania to the Persian Gulf. This is welcomed by Eurogroup for Animals and its member organisation Animals Australia, which carried out investigations of this terrible practice in previous summers and has been campaigning against it ever since.
The EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety’s request follows outcry from civil society and is based on the impossibility of guaranteeing the welfare of the animals transported under extreme temperatures.
70,000 sheep are expected to be loaded into the vessel Al Shuwaikh, owned by the Kuwaiti company Livestock Transport & Trading (KLTT), also known as Al Mawashi, and sent to Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE for the “Festival of Sacrifice” which takes place in August.
KLTT, a major exporter of Australian sheep, was the subject of a major scandal brought to the attention of the media by Animals Australia last year. This company has a long record of violations and is responsible for the onboard deaths of more than a million sheep in the past decades. In 2018 animals on KLTT vessels were found baking in their own skins, gasping for air, smothered in faeces and unable to lie down to rest or even reach food or water. During such voyages, heat and humidity combinations reached levels that caused heat stroke, resulting in sheep literally cooking alive in the holds of vessels.
Such visions of Australian sheep suffering and dying of heat stress created outrage across the country last year and led to major regulatory reforms – including the banning of the trade of live sheep from Australia during the Middle East’s summer months.
Today I sent a letter👇to Minister Daea and asked to stop the shipment of 70.000 Romanian sheep to Persian Gulf since appropriate #animalwelfare conditions cannot be guaranteed.
— Vytenis Andriukaitis (@V_Andriukaitis) July 10, 2019
“Taking into account the weather forecast in the Persian Gulf area during July” – said the Commissioner in his letter to Minister Daea – “I urge you as a gesture of responsibility to stop the imminent export of sheep to the Persian Gulf”. He stressed the impossibility of complying with EU animal welfare legal provisions under extreme temperatures.
“We are pleased with the intervention of Commissioner Andriukaitis, and we urge the Romanian Ministry to respond positively to his call. Indeed, this shipment is likely to breach Art 3 of the EU Regulation (EC) 1/2005 stating that animals shall not be transported in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering,” says Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals. “At their destination, these animals will be slaughtered without stunning. To go through this after enduring terrible conditions throughout the voyage – if they survive at all – is barbaric. We cannot let this happen yet again.”
Francesca Porta | Farm Animals Programme Officer