On 11 June, Chief Veterinary Officers and experts from the Republic of Moldova and Georgia will join their counterparts from some of the EU’s other Neighbourhood countries at a seminar in Bucharest, Romania, to discuss animal welfare during transportation by sea.
This multi-country workshop aims to identify good practices and facilitate exchanges of experience between experts in the field of animal welfare during transportation by sea of live animals from the EU to third countries.
The workshop is being organised by the European Commission’s Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX), in cooperation with the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority in Romania.
According to TAIEX, the communication of standards on animal welfare during transportation are relevant to international trade and cooperation with partners across the world, who play a significant role in promoting and implementing them. Such standards are included in the provisions of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
In 2004, the EU adopted a regulation through which harmonised rules were set for animal welfare during transport in and between the Member States. Moreover, in 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that, for the transportation of animals involving a long journey starting from EU territory and continuing outside of it, the organiser of the transport from the EU is responsible for the welfare of animals for the entire journey, up to the final point in the third country.
What does 13 June mean for the citizens of Tbilisi, for the citizens of Georgia? This is a day of tragedy, sorrow. A significant flood occurred in the Vere River valley in Tbilisi, in 2015. It resulted in at least 21 human deaths and struck the Tbilisi Zoo, leaving half of its animal inhabitants either dead or on the loose.
The Vere, a right tributary of the Mtkvari (Kura), runs through Tbilisi's Vake and Saburtalo neighborhoods. It is characterized by periodic flash floods, which had turned this normally small stream into a surging river, causing significant flooding in 1960, 1963, 1972, and 1995. The landslide, carrying 1 million m3 of land, mud, and trees, moved down into Tbilisi and dammed up the Vere river at two points, first at a 10m wide channel at Tamarashvili Street and then at a channel under Heroes's Square, a major traffic hub, connected with Tamarashvili Street through the Vere Valley Highway.[
The resulting flood inflicted severe damage on the Tbilisi Zoo, Heroes' Square, Mziuri Park, and nearby streets and houses, resulting in at least 20 deaths, including three zoo workers.
About 36 people were admitted for mild-to-moderate injuries; most of them were discharged from hospitals on the same day. Of the 24 people reported as missing as of late 14 June, 6 remained unaccountable for on 16 June. More than 40 families were left homeless and 22,000 people were left without electricity. The Georgian government reported a preliminary estimated flood damage cost from GEL 40 million] to 100 million.
The Tbilisi Zoo lost more than 300 animals, nearly half of its inhabitants: the majority was killed by flooding. Several surviving inhabitants of the zoo—a hippopotamus, big cats, wolves, bears, and hyenas—escaped from destroyed pens and cages to the streets of Tbilisi and a police unit was employed to round them up. Some were killed, others were recaptured and brought back to the zoo. The media ran footage showing the hippopotamus making its way to flooded Heroes' Square, one of Tbilisi's major roadway hubs, where it was subdued with a tranquilizer dart. On 17 June a white tiger remaining on the loose attacked and mortally wounded a man in a storehouse near the zoo. The animal was eventually shot dead by the police. An African penguin was found at the Red Bridge border crossing with Azerbaijan, having swum some 60 km south from Tbilisi.