Project management

Our project: Animal markets, horse shows and animal transports in Romania

Raising animals for own consumption is a traditional activity in Romania due to high percentage of rural population, to traditions, to the low economic level and to historical reasons, to the dissolution of the cooperatives, funded by the state, after socialism and a fragmented farmland.

Consequently, Romania has still a strong tradition of animal markets too, where cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, poultry, rabbits and fish are traded on a weekly basis. According to the central veterinary authority, there are 153 authorized animal markets all over the country.

National law defines the conditions at which animals can be transported and kept to be displayed and sold at markets. At EU level, Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations applies and is quoted by the national text. On the one hand, Romania has a legal text that demands traders to provide water, food and shelter to animals as well as not to use violence or frighten them by rough handling. On the other hand, those rules remain theory as no resources are dedicated to implement them. Reality is that the conditions for the animals at these markets are unbearable.

The majority of animals are transported from households to and from markets in all kind of means of transports, ranging from wheelbarrow to carriages dragged by horses, to car-trunks or to passenger vans. This means that the animals are often shackled and tied to prevent them from escaping or even to gain space inside the vehicle.

The handling is rough and brutal; animals are manipulated as if they were inanimate. They are lifted by their limbs and as if ears, legs, fleece and tails were handholds. They are put in sacks like whatever goods; their legs are trussed and they are exposed on the ground. They are left without any shelter from sun during summer and cold snow in winter. They are not given water even when visibly thirsty. While forced to lie down on the ground, they inhale the dust whirled up by the crowd and passing vehicles and prone to be stepped on.

A particular tradition at markets is to organize shows beating horses and forcing them to drag big heavy stones or carts with the tires blocked by ropes and chains and many people on board, to exhibit their strength and resistance in a ‘macho-man festival’ in which children are taking part too with their fathers.

Needless to say that the EU legislation, since it exists and has to be enforced, is not even remotely complied with at these markets.

After Animals’ Angels had found that during the last ten years and since Romania joined the EU, not even little attention has ever been given to the thousands of so called ‘farm’ animals traded, Animals’ Angels decided to start a new and intensive project at Romanian markets.

What Animals‘ Angels aims to achieve:

  • Reminding on the concept of ‘sentient individuals’ for so called ‘farm’ animals among Romanian central and local authorities
  • Bringing a different point of view to Romanian villagers against violent traditions
  • The closure of animal markets taking place without respecting the existing laws

What Animals´ Angels has done in the last years:

Animals´ Angels investigated into 14 animal markets in 12 different counties of Romania, sent the findings to the Romanian central and local authorities and started to bring attention to ‘farm’ animals at markets.

Animals’ Angels sent a general report summarizing one year of findings to the European Commission to show the systematic failure by Romanian authorities to secure compliance with European laws of protection of animals at traditional markets, calling on adopting measures to implement those laws.

Animals´ Angels and the central veterinary authorities of Romania started to discuss an educational project to inform market users and prevent violent habits towards animals, at least complying with the European laws. The central veterinary authority modified the national legislation regulating the functioning of animal markets, introducing more stringent provisions focused on a better treatment of the animals.

End of 2015, the European Commission replied to Animals´ Angels complaint. The outcome of their investigations revealed that the Romanian authorities drafted an action plan to implement EU laws for the protection for ‘farm’ animals. Unfortunately, details on the deadlines to verify if any activity followed the plan were not disclosed to Animals´ Angels.

What Animals´ Angels knows is that, between August 2015 and July 2016, the teams collected more evidence of animals being still brutally handled and killed at Romanian markets. Romania issued a good theoretical base, such as a new law on animal markets containing also provisions to protect the so called ‘farm’ animals. The sad reality is that those in charge to enforce the law are not doing it. The reason is a deep lack of training into the concept of the protection farm animals. Animals´ Angels conclusion is that there is no figure who puts theory into effect.

The negotiations for an educational project at animal markets in Romania failed. The central veterinary authority of Romania literally made the project disappear. After sending the latest findings on maltreatment of animals at local markets and illegal slaughter in Romania to the European Commission, Animals´ Angels has been waiting for the answer to its questions. Those answers concern the deadlines for the implementation of the protection of animals during transport at markets promised by the Romanian Government.

Picture gallery project Romania

Animal market in Romania
Cart trial for horses
Cart trial for horses
Inadequate transport vehicle
Constricted sheep
Also domestic animals are for sale
Pig put into sack for transport
Inadequate transport vehicle
Inadequate transport vehicle