Animals’ Angels inspects Tibana animal market, Romania. On our last visit three years ago, we found at the market just two persons selling their pigs. Today, sadly, we are confronted with an increased trade of aimals. Even with the very hostile weather with heavy snowing and cold wind, several people from the vicinities of Tibana made their horses pull old carriages with goods or animals like pigs, calves, sheep, goats or turkeys to the market over curvy and icy roads.
The general market of Tibana takes place in a fenced area. Two men collect money from sellers at the entrance. Some traders of calves and sheep access the general market but the majority just go to the adjacent meadow. In a few days it will be Christmas and people on their carts queue in a long line despite cold and snow.
An hour after we have arrived, the area is crowded with people and animals. From a legal point of view, the trade of animals has not been authorized by the veterinary competent office. From a sanitary point of view, the county of Iasi is on alert due to the outbreak of an animal disease in Moldova (bordering) due to which the trade of pigs is banned since October. And last but not least, Animals´ Angels drew attention to the barbaric handling of animals at this market three years ago.
Nevertheless, today the authorities shine with absence, making this place a hell for all animals. The vast majority of them is transported tied like parcels in wooden carts: They are forced to lie laterally in an unnatural position, the pig’s front and rear legs are shackled and tethered to the slats. Their upper jaws are muzzled tightly with metal wire being tied to the cart so that they cannot move and they are in constant pain.
Snow is falling on them until they get totally wet. They cannot stop shaking. The situation for the other animals is not better. The sheep receive the same treatment, only without being muzzled. Some lie on the snow, incapable to change position, like an inanimated bag. In one of the carts we even find a calf lying belly upwards with his legs shackled, incapable to find a more natural position.
Calf Alin has been travelling to the market under these conditions for 30 km. Next to him are sheep Cara and Natalia, shackled as well. For the owner this is normal as he had no other means of transport and did not consider the option not to come.
Around 150 horses stand all over the market area, they get some alfalfa. Just a few of them have a cover on their back to protect them from the wind, soaked in sweat after the long ride. Some have still ice stuck under their shoes and open injures at their shins.
We find mare Violeta lying on the snow, still wearing a harness and attached to the wooden cart. Her owner is yelling at her and we stop him from hitting her with a stick. We help to free her from the harness and she can finally stand up. Life in some rural areas in Romania is harsh, for both humans and animals, but this can never justify violence, and the government has the duty to take care of its animal and human citizens.
This is why afterwards we again visit the veterinary authority, exposing our findings and showing that nothing has changed despite promises made. The pictures we show impress the director, but we are still far from gaining his attention for the animals, as he is more interested in food safety issues.
Animals´ Angels will keep up the pressure on the authorities to enforce the existing laws on minimum protection for animals, referring to them as sentient beings.