08.10.2015 EU Parliament Intergroup session: Stray dogs in Romania

The next session of the Intergroup on the welfare and conservation of animals will focus on Stray Dogs in Romania. VIER PFOTEN and its projects CAROdog and CAROcat will be represented

Date : Thursday 8 October 2015– 10.00-11.00 hrs

Agenda and more information: http://www.animalwelfareintergroup.eu/meetings/


Thousands of sheep died on their last journey from Europe to Asia

FOUR PAWS findings shows animal welfare problems before the sea journey

Vienna, 8 June 2015 – The international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS outcries the deadly suffering of thousands of sheep during long distance transport. Following a road trip, 13.000 sheep have been boarded in the harbour of Midia, Romania on a vessel with destination Jordan. According to Jordanian authorities about 5.200 sheep died on the vessel after eight days without feed and water [1]. The president of one of the Romanian farming associations told FOUR PAWS that real number of dead animals is 11.000.

FOUR PAWS investigations shows that some sheep were ill or dead and missing ear rings while they were still on land in the trucks at the gate of the harbour [2]. The findings shows that the dead sheep belong to Holder Trade, a Romanian based company with a 6 million euro yearly turnover exporting 12.000 sheep and 4.000 cattle each year to Western Europe, Africa and Middle East [3]. The findings also includes video materials that shows dead and ill animals without ear rings inside a Holder Trade vehicle parked at the gate of Midia harbour by the Romanian coast of the Black Sea. According to the law each farm animal must wear an ear ring shortly after birth to prove the origin.

 “We found that this company collects animals from all around the country for export, so they arrive already exhausted in the harbour”, says FOUR PAWS campaigner Gabriel Paun. “At our arrival most of the animals were already boarded on the vessel but those we filmed in the truck seemed to be refused to go to Jordan and left to an unknown destination. Without wearing ear rings those sheep were absolutely illegal”.

The incident occurs few weeks after the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture lifted an eight-month ban on the import of livestock from Romania, where an outbreak of the bluetongue disease was reported during 2014 [4]. Now the Jordanian authorities requested that the vessel dispose of the dead animals before allowing the healthy ones to enter the country. “Throwing dead animals overboard in the sea is a disgusting common practice of transport companies. They can spread diseases and affect marine life. Waves brought many times the corpses on the beach. In April we received information about a dead cow laying on the beach of Tel Aviv after 32 cows died during a transport from Romania to Israel”, added Gabriel Paun.

 According to the EU legislation long distance transport refers to journeys longer than eight hours. Considering the average size of a European state a transport over eight hours means most of the times international transport already. This kind of transport by truck, vessel or airplane was not common practice in the past. It exploded due to the need of various markets for cheap fresh meat. For example Western Europe is producing common breed of cattle such as Charolaise, Black Angus, Red Angus, Blue Belgian or Limousine and sends them by truck to Eastern Europe for further breeding and fattening. Having a strategic geographical position (road hub and sea access), Romania collects farm animals from Eastern Europe and export them to western Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia.

“Many business people do not realise that these are living animals, not products. When they die during long distance transport it becomes crystal clear that it is less than comfortable.  It is the supreme suffering a sentient being can bear. No matter how strict the rules are such mass death occurs more and more often. European states should export meat, not live animals. This extremely suspicious death of thousands of poor animals must be deeper investigated. The truth has to come to light and the criminals must be severely prosecuted” said Gabriel Paun.


FOUR PAWS calls on an end of long distance transport and for European producers to offer consumers the choice to buy meat from animals born, farmed and slaughtered in the same country. Information about the region(s) of birth, farming and slaughter should also be clearly mentioned on the label. This should lead to a significant reduction of duration of the transport for animals.






VIER PFOTEN held an Expert workshop on stray animals in Europe

From left: Andrea Gavinelli (Head of Unit G3 Animal Welfare European Commission), Elisabeth Jeggle (Member of the European Parliament), Christoph Maisack (Deputy Animal Welfare Commissioner State of Baden-Württemberg), Marlene Wartenberg ( Director European Policy Office VIER PFOTEN), Paolo Dalla Villa (Unit 3G Animal Welfare European Commission) 

© Natascha Dolezal


European expert round on companion animals demands better treatment of stray animals

In the frame of an expert workshop on stray animals in Europe, organised by the International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and the Representation of the State Baden-Württemberg to the EU, representatives of the EU institutions, the Member States and relevant stakeholders declared the need for better protection of stray animals in Europe.

The ongoing mistreatments of stray animals in Europe, especially in Romania since September 2013, urge European decision makers to take action. This stands in contradiction to the Treaty of Lisbon where the principle of animal welfare is anchored in the status of animals as sentient beings, giving us humans full responsibility for the animals who are our fellow creatures.

The workshop aimed to bring together relevant decision makers and representatives from the Member States to discuss feasible and sustainable programmes around Europe to control canine and feline population, the respect of the right to live of these animals as well as human and animal health and welfare issues.

The participants agreed that the protection of the weakest members of our society is a characteristic European value and that the killing of unwanted healthy dogs and cats in Europe does not correspondend with our understanding of the human-animal relationship in Europe of the 21st century.

The happenings in Romania have been criticised heavily by all participants. The way how stray dogs are treated like at the moment in Romania stands in clear conflict to the Rule of Law and is infringing our European values.


That, in fact, there are effective, humane and sustainable ways to deal with the problem of unwanted stray animals, has been proven through several examples of other Member States  like Belgium, Bulgaria and Italy. Thanks to the political will of these countries governments, they have national structured stray dog and stray cat programmes to reach a balanced number of animals. These programmes are always based on a multiannual plan inlcuding systematic birth control, veterinary care inlcuding vaccinations, mandatory identification and registration for all dogs and cats and close coopration with NGOs. This ‘responsible ownership’ package was the only accepted succesful strategy throughout all presentations.  



The result of the workshop is a common declaration of all participants, asking the responsible actors of the EU institutions and the Member States to improve the protection and welfare of stray animals in Europe and public safety, and to fulfil their duties within the frame of their work.




Press Conference in the EU Parliament on Stray Dog situation in Romania

Yesterday, the Members of the European Parliament, Andrea Zanoni and Janusz Wojciechowski, held a press conference in the European Parliament to discuss the result of their delegation visit to Romania, following the adoption of the new law on dog population management.

Continue reading Press Conference in the EU Parliament on Stray Dog situation in Romania