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TO: CANDIDATES OF THE LOCAL SELF-GOVERNEMT ELECTIONS 2014

Athens, 15/3/2014

 

Four years ago, the Pan-Hellenic Coordination Committee of Animal Welfare Unions, through its local associations, asked the candidates of the local self-government elections to take a position before the elections and state which measures they intend to take to solve the long-term and serious problems regarding animal protection in their area.

During these four years, the lives of the Greek people changed completely. Many people lost their jobs, some pet owners could not cover the expenses of their animals as they were deep in debt, the budgets of the Municipalities and Regional Governments have shrank and  the financial situation of animal welfare organizations is really bad. However, the municipalities that wanted to do good work did it perfectly.

Some municipalities managed the problem of stray animals in there are in an effective, clever and sensitive way. Others, however, showed indifference to their obligations using the economic crisis as an excuse, or took thoughtless and illegal actions against stray animals (e.g. throwing the animals in illegal shelters etc). The Regional Governments, using their staff reduction as an excuse, as well as the unclear division of responsibilities between municipalities and regional governments, because of the “Kallikratis” law, were not able to protect the environment and the fauna (continental and marine). During these four years we have reached the conclusion that no huge sums of money are needed to apply the legislation and effectively protect stray animals. 

All what is needed is…will! 

The Pan-Hellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation, representing thousands of people who are concerned about animal rights all over Greece is addressing you again. The questions asked are the result of a co-operation between the unions. They give you the opportunity to change your already existing work or develop your positions and be informed on the issues of fauna protection.

Now, the choices of the local self-government regarding the treatment of animals will influence the citizens’ vote more than ever before. Thousands of citizens, regardless of the degree to which they love animals, are concerned about animal rights and environmental protection in general.

The answers of the local parties will be published in the internet, all the local media and eventually elsewhere. The PFPO has submitted well-documented proposals to the Ministries of: Agricultural Development and Foods, Education and Religion, Citizens’ Protection, Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Transports and Networks and National Defence. It has a close co-operation with the Greek Public Prosecutors’ Union. It has played an important role in the establishment of the new law 4039/2012, and other laws concerning pets, stray animal, circus animals, hunting, fur productions, animal testing etc.

If the local self-government works with the volunteers of animal welfare and environmental unions, this crisis will be ONLY economic.

     And values like solidarity, compassion and respect to life will survive. 

     LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

          MUNICIPAL AND REGIONAL

Issue 1Stray animals management

  1. 1.     The management of stray animals is a responsibility of the Municipalities. The Municipalities are obliged, according to the law, to care both for the welfare of stray animals and the protection of public health.

The municipalities have limited financial capacities, as we know. However, the issue of stray animals is one with moral, social, cultural dimension – also affecting tourism – and the number of stray animals in your municipality is too high and constantly increasing. 

Are you going to spend enough money (how much) from the budget of the Municipality to sterilize, feed and care for stray animals, inform the citizens and educate pupils?

Are you aware of how many stray animals there are in your Municipality and how this problem affects citizens?

Are you going to co-operate with the local animal welfare unions, in order to manage the problem as effectively as possible?

  1. 2.     In our country there is a humanitarian crisis.

Do you think that spending money for animals is a provocation, taking into account that humans are also suffering? Why?

  1. We have evidence that in your area many stray animals are killed by poisoning.

What are the measures you intend to take against this, as Municipal Authority?

If you have already been a Municipal Authority, have you taken measures against poisoning?

  1. The obligations of the Municipalities include care of the animals after their reintegration into their national environment. In this framework, the Law provides for the creation of feeding points for stray animals. Already many municipalities have created feeding points for the stray animals.

Are there such points in your Municipality and if not, do you intend to create them?

What is your opinion on the restrictions of the law regarding the re-placement of stray animals?

Do you agree on this and if not, why?

  1. Are you aware of the (very few) rabies cases existing now in our country? 

Do you think that there is a rabies problem in our country or is this a method for veterinary multinational companies to make profit?

What measures have you taken or intend to take, so that your citizens are properly informed, without being panicked?

Issue 2 – Dog Shelters – Municipal Vet Clinics: 

  1. 1.      Your Municipality has no dog shelter or Municipal vet clinic.

According to the law, until 2-2-2014 every Municipality will have stray animal management facilities, that is, a dog shelter or a municipal vet clinic, for TEMPORARY stay of the animals and not as a place of imprisonment. Why have you not applied the law yet?

Do you know that the law prohibits the asylumisation of stray animals and that dog shelters are only for temporary stay of the animals? This means that after they are collected, they should be sterilized, taken care of and then adopted or re-placed in the area they were collected from.

  1. 2.     Your Municipality has a dog shelter.

The existing dog shelters are usually described as the hell, since they do not fulfill the standards, they do not have the necessary staff, they have a very large number of animals exceeding the number for which they have a permit, animals are not sterilized, not treated, and die slowly, imprisoned in a cage for life.

Does the dog shelter of your Municipality fulfill the standards provided for by the law?

1. 3.     Municipal vet clinics

Does the dog shelter of your Municipality have a municipal vet clinic?

Do you know the benefits of a municipal vet clinic for your Municipality? (You save money and promote animal welfare and public health).

Why prefer to work with private veterinarians and not establish a municipal vet clinic?

Are you going to establish a municipal vet clinic, which is much more useful than a dog shelter?

How can you help the already existing municipal vet clinic become better?

Are you going to work with Greek and European volunteers veterinarians, so that the largest possible number of animals are sterilized, at the lowest possible cost?

For more information visit the website of the PFPO:

www.pfpo.gr

 Issue 3 – 5 –membercommittee : 

Do you know that the 5-member committee that watches the programme of stray animal management is responsible for the management of the problems arising?

Until now, in some cases, competent vice-mayors have concealed data from the control of the committee and from the animal welfare unions.

Do you think that euthanasia is a proper method for the reduction of stray animal numbers?

Are you aware of the relative legislation and the cases in which it is allowed by the low ?

Issue 4Irresponsible owners:

  1. 1.     It is known that stray animals are increased ALSO because of the irresponsibility of cat and dog owners. Farmers and hunters and also other citizens often abandon their animals if they do not fulfill their “duties” (hunter dogs, shepherd dogs). They also forget to sterilize or electronically mark them.

As a result, the Municipality is full of stray animals. 

What measures will you take?

Are you going to inform pet owners on their obligations and how?

Are you going to work with private veterinarians as well as the veterinary department of the Regional Government, so that the Municipality is aware of the electronic marking of pets?

Are you going to impose a 3 euro payment per marked animal, through a decision of the municipal council, as the law provides? This money will help sustain the stray animal management program.

  1. 2.     Pet owners are usually responsible for the citizens’ complaints against animals. Irresponsible owners ignore the legislation in force and do not follow the rules of animal welfare. Moreover, they do not supervise their pet properly, violating the rights of other citizens.

What measures are you going to take?

Issue 5 – Responsibilities of the Greek Police: 

As you know, the responsibilities of the Municipal Police now have been transferred to the Greek Police.  

Are you going to co-operate close with the Greek Police, so that the Police confirms the illegal situations and then your Municipality sends the ticket, for the benefit of the stray animal program of the Municipality?

Or do you think that you should not impose the punishments because of the economic crisis?

Issue 6Tourist business: 

The Municipality has a considerable income from tourist businesses. These businesses complain about stray animals and are responsible for the mass killing of them before and after the tourist season. Many businesses near the beach ignore the protection of wildlife, by dropping rubbish and sewage in the beach or mountain slopes, or by filling the beach with deck chairs.  As a result, millions of turtle and wild bird nests are destroyed; turtles, dolphins and other sea mammals are killed because of choking from rubbish.  

What measures are you going to take?

Are you going to inform businessmen on their obligations?

Are you going to ask them to participate in the stray animal management programs of the Municipality?

Are you going to impose severe punishments?

Issue 6 – Natura areas: 

In your Municipality there are many protected area, described as Natura areas. Migrant birds often take refuge there

What measures are you going to take to protect wildlife in these areas? (Illegal hunting, garbage, water pollution etc.)

Issue 7 – Educational Programmes in Schools: 

According to Article 18 of Law 4039/2012, the authorities are obliged to inform the citizens and promote animal rights awareness. Therefore, educational programs are often organized by animal welfare organizations and other bodies. 

How do you plan to inform and sensitize your citizens?

Are you going to co-operate with a local animal rights organization to launch animal welfare educational programs for pupils?

Issue 8 – Overfishing .

Are you going to cooperate with the competent port authorities, so the the indirect (pollution, overfishing) and direct abuse of marine fauna? (violence against dolphins, turtles, seals etc by fishermen?)

Are you going to organize information campaigns of the fishermen, with the help of organizations specialized in the protection of marine fauna? (Archelon Tethys, Pelagos, MOM etc.)

Issue 9 – Public spaces and pet dogs. 

In big cities, there are not enough free spaces for animals and people to exercise, which is a huge problem. Pets need to exercise (running – playing – socializing with other dogs) which is prohibited in uncontrolled areas. 

What do you think of the “no animals” signs in parks, squares etc.?

Would you place such signs?

Do you know that the signs prohibiting the entrance of animals in public areas are illegal?

Why have they not been removed yet?

Does your Municipality intend to create exercise areas for pets, knowing that this measure will significantly reduce the existence of uncontrolled dogs, which are free in other public areas?

Issue 10 –  Zoos

Is there a zoological park in your Municipality, either municipal or private?

Are you going to take initiative, so that, with the cooperation of the competent forest and regional authorities, measures are taken for:

a. The welfare of these animals

b. Their re-integration into their natural habitat, if the cases the can be re-integrated?

How are you going to do this?

Are you going to contact organizations specialized in wild animals care and re-integration?

 

Issue 11 – Farminganimals 

In your area there are poultry, pigs, goats and sheep traders who keep animals in squalid conditions. 

Do you intend to co-operate with the competent authorities so that the legislation regarding these animals is applied?

Thank you very much.  We, as an animal welfare movement, wish know the candidates’ views on animal issues.

In anticipation of your answers,

 

Pan-Hellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation

 

Anastasia Mbombolaki, Chairwoman

Maria Houstoulaki, Vice-Chairwoman

Mariza Christodoulou, Secretary