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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

180 sheep gets saved from sinking ship and lives on !

There are ships which carry general cargo, bulk cargo, liquid cargo, cars and there are so many varieties of ships, making marine more and more enchanting.  There is not so frequently heard or seen (in our part of the world) – the livestock carriers – which as the name suggests are large ships used exclusively for transportation of animals – mostly sheep, cattle and goats.  These would be purpose built new ships or vessels converted from container ships.  Imagine tens of thousands of sheeps in a single place -  the transportation across continents for days together would present with multiple problems of restricting their movement, providing them water, fodder and ensuring that they have enough air and do not suffer asphyxiation.

Animals most often are transported in inhumane conditions especially when they are transported in large numbers and when meant for consumption.  The carriage is often unhealthy, unethical and barbaric.  You could see many trucks transporting chicken – huddled together in very small cages where they cannot move or even breathe. In retail often they are tied in cycles, mopeds and other two wheelers hanging upside down.  Perhaps they undergo severe stress and die much before they are put down for consumption. .. .. .. and there have been accidents to carriers which had resulted in death or severe injuries to the live cargo.  They could undergo severe trouble even when a breakdown occurs was brought out in one of my  about the  vessel  ‘Al Messilah”  with carriage of 67000 sheeps from Australia.  A reference to Australia automatically leads to the bushfires and the loss of life. It is reported that upto  100,000 sheep were killed in bushfires on Kangaroo Island and at least 25,000 more livestock perished in fires on mainland Australia, farming groups have said. It is more shocking to read that Kangaroo Island farmers ordered thousands of rounds of ammunition to shoot animals that were critically injured in the catastrophic bushfire that has burned through half of the island’s landmass, devastating a significant koala population and thousands of other wildlife and killing up to one-sixth of the sheep population.

This is no post on the killing ! ~ but sheep surviving and cheating death twice !  - 180 sheep saved from drowning on capsized cargo ship are spared from slaughter as they arrive at their new home in Romania.   In Nov 2019, ship ‘Queen Hind’ capsized  shortly after leaving the Black Sea port of Midia with 14,600 sheep on board.  Some reports stated that many animals had fallen into water when the ship listed and died. The crew of 20 Syrians and one Lebanese were rescued after the ship capsized a short way into its journey to Saudi Arabia.  Though not significant in terms of numbers, Charity workers rescued 254 of the sheep, but dozens later died of illness – the survivors were  temporarily housed in former horse farm near Bucharest.

MailOnline reports that Animal rescuers saved 254 sheep from the ship after it capsized off Romania with 14,600 sheep on board, however dozens later died of illness and exhaustion, leaving just 180 left. Workers from animal charity Four Paws boarded the sinking ship in October to find the animals were kept in grim conditions. The animals however were travelling their ‘funeral voyage’ being transported from Romania to Saudi Arabia for slaughter.  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.  Thousands of the sheep were not lucky and  died in the incident  with  footage showing  the surviving sheep clambering over mounds of lifeless bodies.  Some had fallen overboard, some presumably drowned in pools of water. The case has drawn fresh attention to the controversial sea transport of livestock.  The country's main livestock breeders and exporters' association Acebop called for an urgent investigation in the wake of the incident, saying it was 'shocked by the disaster'.  Acebop has previously called for legal changes that would oblige transporters to improve conditions aboard livestock carriers.
Romania joined the EU in 2007 and is the bloc's third-largest sheep breeder and a top exporter, primarily to Middle Eastern markets.   Activists have labelled the livestock transport vessels - about 100 of which leave Midia every year - 'death ships', saying sheep risk being cooked alive on board during the hot summer months. After nearly two months in limbo, the survivors of a cargo ship disaster in the Black Sea — 180 sheep out of more than 14,000   have been spared from being butchered.  The animal welfare organization made a bold statement stating “We didn’t save them to be eaten by somebody,”  - Though they may be referred to as sheep, they are technically rams because they are all males. (Females stay behind to reproduce,   typically only males are shipped away to become meat.)

The rams were living on the farm of the exporter.  Because the exporter received insurance money for his losses, he was willing to turn the rams over to animal welfare organizations, it was stated, yet the survivors needed a home.  A charitable person agreed to host the animals – though he was interested in horses, he was willing to help but was concerned on how long these sheep will remain in his farm.  Given that most seem to be about a year old, that could mean tending to them for nine to 10 more years. There are other problems too – two rams together kept, would fight and kill each other and problems could be aplenty with 180 of them.
Life often is cruel and mankind presents more cruelty to other animals.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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