These animals were destined for the Middle East, where they would be slaughtered while fully conscious, but their nightmare started minutes into their journey. Only moments after departing Romania, the ship began to sink, drowning many who were trapped under water, and crushing thousands more as the vessel lay stricken on its side in the water.
While the crew all escaped unharmed, the sheep were left stranded on board. The fear and panic these animals would have experienced is unimaginable.
After international outcry, welfare groups were finally allowed to return. A dedicated and painstaking rescue effort saw 254 survivors rescued from the wreckage.
But as the rescue mission wraps up, the future of these sheep remains uncertain.
The live export trade is cruel, unnecessary and inherently risk-laden – as this appalling disaster has once again revealed.
For an industry who sees animals as nothing more than 'cargo', it is a tragic but familiar scene. Left to sink with the ship, these gentle animals didn't stand a chance from the moment they were sold into the live export trade.
With your help, we will call for justice for these animals, and hold those responsible to account.
This tragedy occurred only a few months after the Romanian government approved a shipment of thousands of sheep to the Middle East – despite searing summer temperatures that put these animals at risk of cooking alive.
Every one of the animals who has suffered and died on board this ship, deserves a voice. Because unless this industry is stopped, these 'ships of death' will continue to sail, and animals will continue to suffer in the very worst ways imaginable.
For now, we must ensure the surviving sheep are given a life of safety – they've endured too much suffering already. Beyond this disaster, our work remains to prevent more animals suffering this cruel fate, or worse, in the live export trade.
SAVE THE SHEEP: Please, take action now on their behalf, and urge the Romanian Prime Minister and Romanian Veterinary Authority to end live animal exports.