TO: The Ministry of Rural Development and Food
Ministry of Interiors
Chief of the Hellenic Police
Even though hobbling is a forbidden unacceptable practice, it exists all around the country and especially in many islands, leading a lot of animals to death. Photos from burned and flooded areas show dead animals with their legs tied up, without any chance to run away and save their life.
We call for your immediate action to eliminate the appalling practice of hobbling which constitutes a severe form of abuse for thousands of equines and farm animals in the Greek territory.
Hobbling (or basturoma or perducloma or perdoukli) is the practice when usually the animal’s front and back leg of the same side or legs by two are tied up (double hobbling). A more vicious practice is common to bovines: legs and head are tied up. Just after their weaning, many farm animals have their legs tied up which is followed by restricted movement in their entire life.
Quite often they are not even able to walk, so they fall down. Especially the goats have their legs broken as they jump or run away. This results to frequent dislocations and bone fractures. If hobbled horses and donkeys fall down, it is quite difficult to stand up and they die of colic because of the lack of mobility.
But the restricted movement is not the only problem. Animals are not able to lay down or relax while sleeping. Especially those animals that have legs and heads tied up, they have no opportunity to stretch their body and lift up their head toward heaven. In addition to the above, hobbling causes: tendonitis, tendon to be severed. Also, deep wounds on the skin, which can result in mutilation with significant consequences for later life.
Hobbled animals can be found in the Cyclades, Rhodes, Crete, Corfu, etc. and also in mainland Greece, as hobbled goats, sheep, etc. were found dead in recently flooded areas.
For intelligent people hobbling seems to be illogical and inhuman. However, it is a usual practice in order that animals do not jump the incomplete fencing in case there is one, step away from the grazing point, or put on weight due to restrictions on their movement.
Actually, animals suffer their whole life for easy money and farmers are opposed to the construction of fences or surveillance of livestock. In most cases, animals are exposed to extreme weather conditions without providing fresh and clean water even during summer.
This vicious practice has an impact on the animal welfare. But also, it has economic consequences because many tourists detainee the worst impression for the countryside’s citizens.
Such a practice is unacceptable for a European country and dark stain as regards the behavior of Greeks towards animals.
In 2015, the PFPO started its continuous struggle against the barbaric practice of hobbling. As a result of this, many circulars have been issued by the Hellenic Police.
Even though hobbling constitutes a form of animal abuse according to the law N. 4830 (Article 24, Paragraph 1), many cases come into light revealing a life of suffering for these animals.
There are plenty of recent incidents: a hobbled horse dying slowly on a cliff in Tzia, a hobbled horse untended for months on the island of Lesvos, hobbled goats and cows in Mykonos and Paros (both of them full of tourists), hobbled goats in Kythnos, a hobbled sheep in Thessalia, a hobbled cow which someone tries to save from the disastrous fir in Magnesia, some animals that found burned or drawn without any chance to save their life because of hobbling. All these cases are shameful for our country.
Unfortunately, quite often hobbled animals cannot be found by policemen who show indifference to discover the place where the animals had been transported by the owner.
We wonder how it comes that on a daily basis, our Federation receives dozens of complaints by tourists concerning hobbled animals while policemen ignore their existence, so they initiate the corresponding procedures itself.
It is obvious that care should be taken to more proper and thorough controls and the principle of legality.
As it is of great importance, we request to raise awareness of policemen on this topic providing continuous information. Also, more intensive controls must be conducted. Penal and administration sanctions must be imposed in every case of hobbling with zero tolerance in order that this vicious practice is abandoned, as it is an outcry against our country and imposes a life of suffering on thousands of animals leading many of them to death.