Problems with the equine welfare in Romania
Traffic, undernourishment, hard labor and neglect
When horses and donkeys share the roads with cars and trucks, they are involved in accidents. The badly wounded animals are often left to die an agonizing death beside the road.
One of the most horrifying cases Save the Dogs experienced was in fall 2010, when a donkey hit by a car was left beside the road with two broken legs. When Save the Dogs was alerted of the situation three days later and arrived at the scene, worms were already eating the poor donkey alive. The most shocking thing about this case was the fact that the police had already been at the scene three days earlier to write a report, but they didn't bother to end the suffering of this poor animal or even make a phone call to Save the Dogs. A vet from Save the Dogs would have come to euthanize the donkey immediately, something they do on a regular basis after accidents like this one.
Because the owners of the equines often are poor, they are also generally speaking uneducated. Especially in the Roma population the level of education is very low. This inevitably leads to suffering for the animals because of the owners lack the knowledge of taking care of the hooves or teeth, and the equipment is often of the wrong size or in bad condition. An example of bad equipment is the steel wires used instead of bits. The equines have several infected wounds and they are often limping.
All this neglectment becomes even more severe due to the fact that the equines are suffering from undernourishment, very hard labor and the hard asphalt on which they walk on with their heavy loads. Many horses and donkeys collapse under the heavy burden and never rise up again.
When the equines aren't even fed enough, it probably comes as no surprise that they receive no deworming or regular medical check ups.
As if all of this wasn't bad enough, the horses and donkeys are also often victims of deliberate abuse and violence. Save the Dogs has rescued several horses that were severely beaten because they could not drag the heavy cart anymore. Horses and donkeys that have collapsed due to the hard labor is a common sight on the Romanian roads.
The problems with death and slaughter
The suffering life of an equine often ends with abandonment or slaughter. There are many small, illegal slaughterhouses in Romania, where no form of animal welfare laws apply. The death is often slow and painful. There are also a lot of Italian intermediators who buy horses and donkeys and send them on a long trip to Italy.
A normal price for a donkey or horse sold for slaughter is 50 euros and for this amount one can buy a new one. This makes it very tempting not to care for the welfare of the animal, because the owner doesn't loose anything by selling it for slaughter and buying a new one.