EU-Romania deal on pig slaughter
The EU will let Romania continue slaughtering animals in the traditional way for Christmas and Easter, Romania's agriculture minister says.
Dacian Ciolos told the BBC that for a few more years the EU would not require the stunning of animals in Romania.
Pigs and lambs have their throats slit in Romania for Christmas and Easter celebrations, respectively.
The European Union has banned pork exports from Romania because swine fever has been a recurrent problem.
Mr Ciolos said he had persuaded EU officials by citing other exemptions for animal slaughtering in Europe.
"The issue I raised was why the Spaniards' killing of bulls in an arena should not be considered an infringement of animal welfare rules, while our traditional way of sacrificing animals for Christmas and Easter should be," Mr Ciolos told the BBC Romanian Service.
Most Romanian pig farmers rear only small numbers of animals and slaughter them a few days before Christmas, selling the meat at markets.
EU law stipulates that animals must be killed in a way which avoids unnecessary suffering.
Animal health and food safety standards have been major concerns since Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union on 1 January 2007.
The EU told both countries they would have to eradicate swine fever before they could sell pork in the rest of the EU without restrictions.