Animal Markets in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, there are only a few animal markets left. However, the conditions for the animals are unacceptable and far from meeting EU standards. Lack of infrastructure, completely unsuitable transport vehicles, very rough and often brutal handling, as well as a lack of official inspections regularly lead to serious animal welfare violations. Since 2013, Animals' Angels has been working towards an improvement of the situation for the animals, and is calling for a shutdown of the markets.

What are the Animals Suffering From?

At approximately ten markets in Bulgaria, animals are sold on a weekly basis. Mainly small farmers, but also traders from the surrounding region, use these rather small markets which are particularly important for the local economy. They sell cattle, sheep, goats, equidae, rabbits and birds. At illegal markets, also young pigs and piglets are offered for sale.

At these markets, animal welfare does not play any role. Again and again, we find the same serious violations of EU Animal Welfare Transport Regulation No. 1/2005:

  • Sale and transport of far too young, sick or injured animals.
  • Sheep are offered for sale with their legs tied together.
  • Goat kids, lambs and piglets are lifted and pulled up on one leg, chickens are carried at their wings or legs, hanging over their heads.
  • Cattle are beaten, kicked, and their tails twisted while they are forced on completely unsuitable transport vehicles without ramps.
  • Piglets are sold in plastic bags.
  • Calves and sheep are transported in car trunks.
  • Animals are sold despite being malnourished, neglected, completely exhausted or unable to stand up.
  • Injured or sick animals are not given veterinary care.
  • No food and water.
  • No inspections by the responsible authorities.

Photo Gallery

What Animals' Angels Does Against it

In March 2013, Animals' Angels inspected the Bulgarian animal markets for the first time and reported its findings to the competent authorities at national and EU level. But in 2017, we unfortunately had to find the same problems still in place. With another series of complaint reports and in personal meetings, we informed the Bulgarian authorities. Eventually, in November 2017, they presented a comprehensive plan to improve the situation.

In March 2018, we reviewed the situation on-site, but unfortunately without seeing any significant improvement. We therefore turned to the Bulgarian media to increase pressure on the authorities. Since September 2018, a new plan from the Bulgarian authorities has been on the table and we will continue to call for its implementation.

Our Goals:

  • More awareness and respect for 'farm' animals in Bulgaria.
  • Compliance with existing EU animal welfare laws.
  • To urge Bulgarian supervisory authorities to act.
  • Permanent shutdown of illegal animal markets.

Project Leader:
Julia Havenstein


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