Romania possibly crimi­nally prose­cuted by EU after Party for the Animals’ claim about horrible sheep transport

1 October 2019

The European Commission will carry out an inspection in Romania in response to the horrible transport of 70,000 sheep shipped from Romania to the Persian Gulf this summer. The Commission does not exclude the possibility of a criminal procedure and will await the results of the inspection to 'decide on further action'.

This was the European Commission’s response to questions posed by Anja Hazekamp, MEP for the Dutch Party for the Animals, who last July sounded the alarm about the sheep transport that took nearly a month and took place at temperatures up to 46 °C, in breach of EU rules.

Animal rights organisations filmed the arrival of the ship, at which piles of dead animals were removed. "The footage only shows a fraction of the number of animals that did not survive the trip; animals that died on the way, were thrown directly into the sea. The animals that did survive, were subjected to gross cruelty at arrival," says Hazekamp.

"What was done to these animals, is criminal. The Romanian authorities, who have knowingly sent 70,000 animals into this nightmare, should be punished,” says Hazekamp. The MEP points out that European regulation, prohibiting animal transport above 30 °C, applies to the entirety of the journey, meaning also outside the EU. “Even before departure, the Romanian authorities were informed that transport in extreme heat is illegal. Then there was the animal cruelty, which is also in violation of international rules. This can never happen again," says Hazekamp.

In addition to a criminal procedure against Romania, the European Commission is currently investigating the possibility of drawing up a Red List of transporters who repeatedly break the rules when transporting animals. They should be banned from doing any animal transports in future.

The Romanian parliament has recently tabled a bill to prohibit the shipping of animals during the summer. Nevertheless, the Romanian authorities have indicated that, rather than ending the transport of sheep to the Middle East, they intend to export a total of one million animals to the Middle East this year alone. The Party for the Animals advocates a total ban on live animal export from Europe.

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