A flock of 180 sheep rescued from an abandoned capsized ship have arrived safely at their new home in Romania, two months after the accident took place, reports Daily Mail.
They were to be slaughtered in Saudi Arabia but have been spared from being butchered, said Kuki Barbuceanu, president of the animal welfare organisation known as Arca.
“We didn’t save them to be eaten by somebody,” Mr Barbuceanu said on Friday, shortly after dropping them off at a farm in Peris, about 20 miles north of Bucharest.
The sheep – technically rams because they are all males – have had a rough time of it.
Queen Hind capsized
In late November, they were tightly packed into the Queen Hind, a cargo ship headed for Saudi Arabia. Shortly after its departure, the ship overturned.
All of the ship’s crew members were rescued but more than 14,000 sheep died. Most were trapped inside the ship and others were scattered throughout the bay, with their thick soggy fleece weighing them down.
Four Paws in rescue mission
Figuring out what to do with the survivors has been complicated and involved extensive negotiations with authorities, according to Four Paws, an international animal welfare organisation involved in the rescue.
The rams were living on the farm of the exporter, Mr Barbuceanu said. Because the exporter received insurance money for his losses, he was willing to turn the rams over to animal welfare organisations. But they needed a home.
Four Paws and its Romanian partner organisation Arca gained custody of the 180 sheep after refusing to send them to the slaughter house.
The surviving animals are now living in a former horse farm north of Bucharest.
The charity is battling to gain full ownership of the sheep, after which they plan to redistribute them to vegan sanctuaries for rescued farm animals in Romania.
Four Paws said it would ‘fight to ensure that the rescued sheep find a suitable solution and protection, without further exploitation from humans.’
Given that most seem to be about a year old, that could mean tending to them for up to 10 more years.
What if someone wants to adopt the sheep to eat them?
“No way. They cannot adopt,” Mr Barbuceanu said. Future guardians will be vetted for other suitability issues, such as financial stability, he added.
Daniel Rosca, owner of Via Transylvania Tours, said he thought that finding people to adopt the sheep might be a challenge. Mr Rosca said he thought it was “very cute” what the animal welfare groups were trying to do, adding: “But I don’t know. I wouldn’t adopt one.”
He was pessimistic because all the sheep are males. Romanian households and small farms are more likely to keep female sheep because they provide milk, which can be used for cheese, he said.
Nonetheless, the rams appeared to be in good spirits arriving at the farm on Friday, Mr Barbuceanu said. Several were limping, he said, but they will soon get X-rays.
No guarantee of protection
Back in the port city of Constanta, authorities were still working on how to remove thousands of dead sheep from the harbour.
Martina Stephany, director of the Farm Animals and Nutrition department at Four Paws, said that the overturned ship highlighted the cruelties of the animal transportation business.
Around 3 million live animals are moved from European countries to other nations every year, Four Paws said. “Clearly, animals cannot be protected on such journeys,” Ms Stephany said in a statement.
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Source: Daily Mail