Romania: The Live Export Sheep Trade Is Killing Farmers -Romania Needs Meat Processing; and Fast !

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‘A whole sheep for £18’: how live exports are hurting farmers in Romania

 

Country’s lack of meat processing facilities means livestock must be shipped to international markets – at a high cost to both shepherds and welfare

Gheorghe Dănulețiu, also known as Ghiță Ciobanul (Ghiță the shepherd), has more than 500,000 followers on Facebook after he featured in an advertising campaign that went viral, but he leads the modest life of a traditional shepherd.

Looking after 1,500 sheep in western Romania, Dănulețiu’s life changes with the seasons. During lambing in spring, he barely sleeps four hours a night while in winter he leads his sheep in a three- to four-week journey from the mountains down to graze in the valley

Even when the temperature drops below -30C(-22F), Dănulețiu sleeps next to his animals, wrapped in his sheepskin under the starry sky and ready to protect his flock in case of a wolf attack.

“I inherited this [role] from my father – who had a few hundred sheep – but I also love it, I love animals,” Dănulețiu says.

However, like all Romanian shepherds with small and medium-sized flocks, Dănulețiu is struggling in a market dominated by a few live animal exporters, big farmers and hypermarkets.

“The sheep trade has become a mockery,” he says. “We sell a sheep for 100 Romanian leu (about £18). I can’t afford to pay good salaries and I can’t find workers any more – young people see that it’s all going downhill. I have the impression that this is political, that they’re trying to destroy the sector.”

 

ROMANIA-SAUDI-ARABIA-SHEEPS

ROMANIA-SAUDI-ARABIA-SHEEPS

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