European Commissioner for Healthcare and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis has called on Romanian Agriculture minister Petre Daea to stop the shipment of 70,000 sheep from Romania to the Persian Gulf, claiming the animals’ welfare.
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.
Commissioner Andriukaitis has made the request following complaints of the NGOs fighting for the animals’ rights, such as Eurogroup for Animals, which argued the shipment cannot guarantee the welfare of the animals transported under extreme temperatures.
“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. I’ll also remind MS their obligations in #AGRI Council next Monday,” reads a tweet by the EU Commissioner.
“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”, says the letter.
Eurogroup for Animals and its member organisation Animals Australia welcomed the EC Commissioner’s move.
“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.”
In retort, minister Daea said the transport will not be stopped, as the law is observed in this case and the Romanian sheep farmers had taken numerous efforts to raise the animals as demanded by the foreign markets and that there is no reason to stop the exports.