Video: Sheep Dying on Capsized Livestock Carrier

Imagery courtesy of Animals International
Imagery courtesy of Animals International

Published Nov 26, 2019 5:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Palau-registered Queen Hind capsized shortly after leaving Romania’s Midia port en route to Saudi Arabia on Sunday. The crew were rescued, along with around 30 sheep found swimming near the vessel, and rescue efforts continue to save some of the 14,600 sheep trapped on board. So far, about 20 more have been rescued, and authorities believe more are alive as they have heard sounds from within the vessel.

The Queen Hind, bound for Saudi Arabia, was built in 1980. In December 2018, she was involved in another incident on Marmara Sea when she suffered engine failure and was adrift for several days.

Eurogroup for Animals says Romania's Agriculture Minister took 24 hours to react to Sunday's capsize only to deny responsibility and defer the case to the transport ministry, veterinary authority and water ministry.

“Infringement proceedings are needed to ensure a proper application on the E.U. law on transport and the effective protection of the animals,” said Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals. “It is high time the Commission intervened, both by tackling maladministration by Romania and, for the longer term, puts forward a concrete strategy to replace live transport with a meat and carcasses only trade.” 

Romania exports around 2.4 million sheep each year. Another three vessels were loading animals when the Queen Hind capsized.

Eurogroup for Animals says that there is a growing consensus among Member States on the need to shift to a meat and carcasses only trade, and the example of New Zealand shows that banning live export and favoring another way of trading is already possible.

The group says a shift away from live export is justified not only by animal health and welfare reasons, but also by environmental and economic considerations. On November 18, the group launched a report: A strategy to reduce and replace live animal transport: Towards a meat and carcasses only trade.

Many European citizens have shown disapproval of live animal transport: in 2016-2017, Eurogroup for Animals’ #StopTheTrucks campaign, which called on E.U. decision makers to reduce and ultimately end long distance live animal transportation, exceeded its target of one million signatures and reflected the findings of a Eurobarometer survey showing that 94 percent of European citizens believe that protecting the welfare of farm animals is important.

Animals International has documented the transport, handling and slaughter of live animals from Romania exported to the Middle East this year, saying evidence gathered is in violation of European regulations and the standards of the World Organization for Animal Health. Filming locations: Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai and Jordan.