4,000 Romanians wearing full-length sheepskin and armed with pictures of adorable puppies go to the Palace of the Parliament… No, this isn’t the start to a hilarious joke, but an actual protest that took place in Bucharest earlier this week. And for a protest involving pictures of adorable puppies, it got pretty intense.
The reason behind the (attempted) storming of the Parliament building: a law that prohibits sheep grazing in the winter and restricts the number of sheepdogs a shepherd can use to one to three, depending on how mountainous the terrain. Any extra dogs, the law says, will be shot.
The sheepskin-wearing, horn-blowing, puppy-picture-wielding shepherds were met by hundreds of police officers firing tear gas. The shepherds—some of whom traveled 300 miles for the protest—held their ground. As the AP AP reports, 68-year-old shepherd Grigore Popa shouted, “I was born among the sheep and we will cut lawmakers’ heads off.”
The new law has the support of hunters, who contend that the Carpathian Shepherd Dogs kill wild animals like deer and wild boar. The no-grazing law was put forth for environmental reasons.
“We can’t live without sheepdogs, which scare off the wild animals,” said one shepherd, Traian Nica. ”We want our rights back.”
After this protest, many government officials are more than willing to give the shepherds their rights back. Agriculture Minister Achim Irimescu declared his support of the protestors, and the Senate chairman asked Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos to change the law in an emergency ordinance, which was granted after a parliamentary committee agreed.
With 10 million sheep and 1.5 million goats, Romania boasts a major shepherding industry. And, man, those sheep herders do not mess around.
If you want to know more about some of the adorable sheepdog breeds out there, check out some of ourFarm Animal features!
Feature Photo Credit: AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda