Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Animal welfare in Chania

A new Animal Welfare and Cultural Association called “Animal Protection” (“Prostasia ton Zoon”) has been established in Chania by citizens wanting to promote the cause of animal welfare in the town. The Association has issued the following announcement:

"They say that hope always dies last. That is why we, a group of friends who love animals, hope that things will change. We have decided to unite hearts, minds and forces to do something for the cause of animal welfare in Chania, where local attitudes do little credit to the history and culture of our city.

The aim of our Association is the protection of animals by the following means:

a) Constant and insistent efforts for public information and awareness, starting at an early age, in order to educate children and adults. We will pay particular attention to this aim, as we believe that the cultivation of love for animals is the alpha and omega of animal welfare. We must learn
- Not to abandon animals in the street.
- Not to poison them.
- To love them.
- To neuter them.

b) Constant and insistent efforts to pressure city municipal and political authorities to assume their responsibilities under Law 3170/03 and implement an animal sterilisation programme, in order to limit the problem of desperate strays. Note that scientists say that sterilisation is also very good for the animal’s health. The authorities are also required to create an animal housing and adoption park according to EU regulations, with funding provided by the EU for the purpose, where animals can be happy until they are adopted.

c) Efforts to feed strays at specific points of our city and in the villages. We have already taken the first steps. Soon, in collaboration with the Directorate of Primary Education, to which we have written, we will start a series of presentations in schools, putting up posters and handing out leaflets about animals. Our members and volunteers are putting out food for strays at specific feeding points. Please do not put down poison there or anywhere else. It is a crime against life. It is also a criminal act and we will take any provable case of attempted or actual animal poisoning or ill-treatment to court.

We have already contacted the Municipality of Chania and other nearby Municipalities. We have sent an official letter to the Prefecture of Chania and the Municipalities of Chania, Platanias, Akrotiri, Nea Kydonia, with others to follow soon, as well as to the Local Union of Municipalities and Communities, local political authorities including Chania MP Mr Nikiforakis, and the Church. We ask that they assume their lawful responsibilities regarding stray animals. This is not a vague theoretical proposal. We have done extensive research on the subject and found municipalities with a very good record on animal welfare. The main argument of local municipalities, that there are no funds available, is false. Both the Ministry of Agricultural Development and the Ministry of the Interior have huge funds, mainly from the European Union, available to hand out to municipalities to use on stray animal sterilisation programmes and animal parks with ultra-modern facilities. All it takes is guts - otherwise known as political will.

Our local municipalities have shown absolutely no interest so far. We hope to rock the boat. We are ready and willing to help them in every way possible, but we are also prepared to take any legal action at both national and international level if they continue to ignore the issue.

Two other animal welfare associations, previously or currently run by German citizens, are active in Chania. We are not trying to supplant them in their work, which is mainly focussed on gathering strays and getting them adopted, mainly abroad. We will act in areas where these associations cannot.

We are open to offers of help from everyone working for the good of animals. Our hopes are many, our dreams wide, our needs enormous. If you can help us in any way, please contact us. We need material aid, voluntary contributions and, above all, moral support. We must stress, however, that we are not in a position to set up an animal treatment and adoption programme. This must be done through the municipalities and in collaboration with local vets.