On 5 August 2019 we read the following statement on the official website of the Eurogroup for Animals:
Photo: © Animals International
“The plight of the 70,000 sheep on the shipment from Romania to the Persian Gulf continues, with the vessel entering Shuwaikh port in Kuwait yesterday in temperatures that were reported to have reached 47°C.
It is day 19 for the remaining animals on board the Al Shuwaikh, owned by the Kuwaiti company Livestock Transport & Trading (KLTT). The ship is now heading to Hamad, Qatar, following previous stops in Jeddah on 21 July and Port Jebel Ali on 29 July. Eurogroup for Animals’ member organisation Animals International, who are following the shipment’s progress, report that each stop adds additional heat stress, because the breeze of the sea is absent when the vessel reduces speed or is moored.
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 reach levels that cause heat stroke, resulting in sheep literally cooking alive in the holds of vessels.
“We are devastated that this hellish journey has been allowed to go ahead, despite our pleas to the Romanian minister and even the intervention of Commissioner Andriukaitis,” said Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals. “Even if these animals survive these horrendous temperatures, a horrible end awaits them, as they will be slaughtered without stunning for the festival.”
“I think that my home country, Romania, has no shame and is deliberately breaking the laws and disregarding all warnings,” stated Gabriel Paun, EU Director of Animals International. “The Government will continue to do so until the EU Commission starts infringement proceedings.”
WAV wants to record the following points in this statement.
After almost three weeks’ drive, it is not yet known how many animals died miserably and painfully on board.
After all, everyone is devastated as the scale of this tragedy escalates.
But that does not help, because animals are saved with actions and deeds, not with sentimentality.
Even less credible is the indignation of the members of the Eurogroup, for one simple reason: we missed their appearance in Midia Harbor!
MEP Anja Hazenkamp was there with all her heart and dedication and more than present.
From the case of “Al Shuwaikh” (the largest in the animal transport history with 70,000 living animals), the Eurogroup should have learned two important lessons:
Animal transports to this extent must be prevented before they take place.
This must be prevented on the spot, not from the desk, not by e-mail, not verbally. This direct help on the spot should be a matter of course for the Members of Eurogrup for animals!
The second lesson for the Eurogroup is even more bitter.
Many EU countries have understood that the EU animal transport law has no binding effect, as violations are not punished.
For this reason, nobody takes the EU seriously, even the responsible Commissioner Andriukaitis is ignored by Romania.
This has fatal consequences for both, the animals and the animal rights activists, who want to achieve a better status for all animals with the help of EU law.
At this year’s Meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Brussels, Commissioner Andiukaitis has officially announced that there are no grounds for an infringement procedure against Romania, even though Romania repeatedly violates the EU Animal Transport Law in the past!
As in the previous year, for example, when the animals were transported across the border with Turkey and were exposed to high temperatures.
At this meeting, Minister Daea’s representative considered that “a tolerance margin of 5 ° C should be maintained at the upper limit of 30 ° C”. In addition, Daea points out that “the animals from the southern countries are better used to high temperatures than those from the northern countries”.
Perhaps the director of Animals International, Gabriel Paun, has not yet heard this view of his countryman, Minister Daea.
In this special transport “Al Shuwaikh” it was shown that this upper limit reaches the deadly temperature of 47 ° C, which is why it can be assumed that thousands of animals have suffered a painful death during transport.
How many, is unknown until today!
Then a logical question arises: why do we still need the EU if every transport company or every minister of agriculture do what they want?
EU laws on animal transport are intentionally very vague and penalties almost unknown.
Even if some commissioners want to do their work conscientiously, the work processes take so long that even important cases quickly become forgotten.
We would like to ask the Director of Animals International, Gabriel Paun, to consider this case as a personal challenge and to inquire about the death toll.
While this will not save the remaining victims, this is the only hope for infringement proceedings against his home country, Romania!
My best regards to all, Venus