OUR WORK SO FAR
Our reflection on 2003
As we expect from most active web sites, our network expanded in the past year. With this expansion we received broader information on animal abuse which changed our focus. However, bad news from Iceland does not imply that everything is OK in countries where we are not hearing from. The more info we get, the more we realise that we have a very restricted view on the global animal welfare situation and we can only reflect on the received signals and information.
This year for example we got new poisoning incident information from France and the USA. There is no immediate cause to conclude that the general poisoning situation has changed. At the end of the year we received the news that the E. U. banned the dog fur import. We thank especially the Eurogroup and the concerned MEP's for their positive influence on E. U. decisions on animal protective legislation and regulations.
Efforts to stop animal experiments have not yet led to a ban or a significant better treatment of animals in experiments. Recreational or folkloristic animal abuse like hunting, dog racing is persistent and bullfighting is succesfully promoted in Portugal and France. We are informed that the Dutch political traditional farmers party CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) succeeded in revoking animal protective restrictions on hunting and farming. Obviously old habits die hard and whatever progress is made on behalf of animal welfare is a slow one. This bleak attitude was also demonstrated in an attempt by governing fractions to legally label and treat animal activists as terrorists. It showed a disquieting lack of knowledge on both the animal protection and the terrorist issues.
A year ago, in our wish for 2003 we called on the clergy to take the public ethical stand in our efforts to stop animal abuse. If we measure the silence from the churches and the destructive behavior of the Dutch Christian Democratic Appeal we clearly barked up the wrong tree.
2003 was a year of war and power play, with a tense atmosphere that could not foster a better attitude towards animals.
At the micro level ignorance and cruelty leads to actual cases of animal abuse. In Portugal dogs are kept to protect sheds in open fields on 50 cm chains without any weather protection or room to move. Law enforcers turn a blind eye on such situations. In these very months a very sick mind is sexually assaulting and carving up cattle in Dutch meadows. Other examples of animal abuse are continuously reported in our web site and its links.
At the macro level complacency and rock bottom priority seem to form the major obstructions to progress in animal protection and welfare. From our side much was expected from the abundancy of ethical and moral issues brought up by politicians and authorities in the last year. It turns out that we cannot protect ourselves, leave alone the animals.
If our civilization has to be measured by the way we treat our animals, we should humbly join at the back of the line in evolution.
This year the 'Animal Rights' Professor Dirk Boon of the University of Utrecht was heard on Dutch radio with the following topics:
* The animal protection legislation of the E. U. member states should at least be in concordance with the European directives of 1986. But this is not yet the case.
* Current legislation enforces: If experiments allow it, laboratory animals should be released after the experiment. So far this is not done. Despite promises in the last years there has been no decline in the number of experimental animals. In general we do not know what goes on inside the laboratories. Until now there is no law for animal experiments such as existing laws on testing medicines or food products.
* Professor Boon insists on a discussion regarding the desirability and applicability of laboratory experiments on animals.
On July 18th 2003 we received the following letter from the European Commission:
Subject: Draft Constitution for the European Union/Public debate on the future of the European Union.
Now that the draft Constitution has been handed to the Heads of State and Government, the Convention has concluded its work, which means that the Convention's Forum on the Future of the European Union will also be closing down. The Forum, which has enjoyed the technical support of the Commission, has enabled more than 550 civil society organisations to set out in public, in the form of almost 930 contributions, their points of view, their expectations and their recommendations over a 15-month period.
By contributing to the Forum, your organisation too has fed in to the Convention members' work. Having taken that step, you will doubtless be wanting to follow what happens to the European Constitution over the subsequent phases, particularly as the Intergovernmental Conference gets down to work in October.
The European Commission firmly believes that civil society organisations should have the chance to publicise and exchange their opinions on European matters, and we feel there must be a public area where views can be received and published on the interinstitutional Futurum, europa.eu.int/futurum/index_en.htm
, reserved specifically for the debate on the future of the E. U..
I would therefore urge you to make good use of this facility which the Commission is making available and to send us any items you would like to make public, under your own responsibility and without any outside interference, so that they can be posted on this official website.
Should you need any further information on the practical arrangements for transmitting and publishing text, your organisation can get in touch either by email or by phone with Ms Ariane Moret, who is responsible within my unit for relations with civil society organisations, and who can help you make your input to the debate: Ariane.Moret@cec.eu.int
, tel.: +32(2)299 87 21
The Commission is very happy to make this public area accessible to individuals and organisations to give practical expression to the ongoing debate on the future of the E. U. and the forthcoming Constitution.
Yours sincerely, Gérard Legris Head of Unit
Please read our 'Renewed Wish for 2003' and 'Wish for 2003'.
A year has passed and a lot has happened.
As we extended our network we got more information on poisoning of animals.
Our First Aid Kit page at www.actionagainstpoisoning.com/pages/uk/firstaid_uk.html
came too late for an owner with fourteen dogs in the Portuguese Algarve of which nine died in a horrible way and the others survived by intensive medical treatment. The recurring question was "who did it?".
Despite continuous efforts around the world to better animal welfare the circumstances for animals got worse. In Portugal a proposal for better animal protection laws was in the make, but bullfighting was tolerated and spreading to smaller towns with mobile bullrings. Especially bullfighting has alarmingly gained in popularity in Europe. Probably another example of 'action provokes reaction'.
For 2002 animal welfare continued to have rock bottom priority on the political agendas. It is embarrassing to point the finger to Asia when in civilized Europe animals are in dire straits just as well. For instance the European Union still allows torture of animals because it's traditional. See the petition at www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/841589646
Hunting goes on as usual. Main problem is the unlawful behaviour of a small group of mainly mediterranean hunters who are a disgrace to their colleagues. We have seen the most horrible circumstances in which they keep their own animals.
We would be very pleased if they change their behavior and treat their dogs well. Stop intimidating civilians, poisoning their pets and shooting at their homes. Give your dogs shelter from heat and cold and feed them well. Transport them with care. And please please stop hanging, burning alive, burying alive, starving or abandoning your own dogs when they are no longer useful.
We are sad to say that this applies to categories of racing dog, pet and cattle owners as well.
A lack of public awareness sustains the critical situation for stray animals. We notice that this lack of awareness is not contained to Portugal. We like to point out that the strays are the most vulnerable as abandoned animals in general have not learned to look after themselves. So this category of animals is probably most indicated for protective legislation.
We receive multiple signals that in some Mediterranean E. U. member states existing animal protection laws are not observed and enforced. Especially in bureaucratic and poor countries animal welfare has rock bottom priority. This culturally embedded neglect is mirrored in categorical denial of this problem by authorities. In our action against poisoning we learned to our consternation that more than half of the Portuguese people we spoke to have lost one or more animals to deliberate or accidental poisoning. Even more alarming is the fact that they did not report their cases as they have learned that poisoning is an endemic habit and police reports will lead to nothing if not to repercussions. So the victims have drawn the sad conclusion that poisoning of their pets is "a fact of life".
If cruelty to animals is an endemic and neglected problem of an E. U. member state it is time to ask for help from the E. U. It has become clear by now that the E. U. has forgotten the stray animals in their legislation. Consequently the E. U. repeatedly has refused to react on appeals on behalf of strays with the excuse that the E. U. has no mandate in this matter.
We have not received signals that the E. U. is closing this gap in their legislation but we hope that the mandate will be adapted. We wish the E. U. to use its powers to harmonize the penalties for cruelty to animals under existing animal protection laws in E. U. member states and/or provide funds for a better world for the literally outlawed strays.
We identify the following goals:
1. Educational (school) programs to change the attitude on animal welfare with the subjects: - keeping and caring for a domestic animal - abandoning pets/hunting dogs (easy come, easy go mentality) - the need to vaccinate and sterilize to contain the numbers - poisoning and other cruelty to animals - "animal games" like bullfights, dog fights, dog races etc - folkloristic killing/slaughtering of animals
2. "Vaccinate, spay, neuter and release" and "cat cafe" programs to contain the stray animal population. Such programs should be made available to any country that considers or practices mass murder as a solution to a stray problem.
3. Action by the chemical industries to make their pesticides and insecticides repulsive by smell, taste and color. No domestic or stray animal - however hungry - will ever eat meat contaminated with petrol or ammonia. So herbicides and insecticides should be made repulsive to prevent poisoning of animals (and children!). In addition poisons should be banned or at least better controlled.
4. Animal welfare inspection units with judicial powers. Especially where police forces cannot enforce animal protection laws an independent organization to protect animals is indicated. Models are the British "RSPCA" and the Dutch "Inspectie voor de Dierenbescherming". These units not only prevent and correct animal abuse but also produce annual reports and policy documents. Governmental commitment (via funding or organizing) is required to ensure accountability in the parliament on the progresses made.
We heard: dog fights take place in the following places in and around Lisbon:
Azinhaga dos Besouros, Pontinha, Bairro Padre Cruz, Bairro da Cruz Vermelha Pedreira dos Hungaros
Law No.92/95 of 12 September 1995, Chapter I, Article 1, 3, f) speciffically forbids dog fights - one more example of how many laws are not enforced in Portugal.
The king of Thailand has given the order to sterilize stray dogs.
We sent a letter concerning the denial of the poisoning problem to: Director-Geral, Mr. Francisco Carmo Reis of the Ministério da Agricultura, DGV Largo Academia Nacional de Belas Artes, 2 1200-005 LISBOA PORTUGAL
Fur farming banned in England from 2003
The ban on fur farming will come into force on January 1, 2003 under the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act 2000 (Commencement) Order 2001. From January 2003, it will be illegal in England and Wales to keep animals solely or primarily for slaughter for the value of their fur. Animal Welfare Minister Elliot Morley said: "I am pleased that fur farming will be banned from 2003. Fur farming is not consistent with a proper value and respect for animal life and it is right and proper for the Government to have introduced this ban."
Dutch cattle transporters violate the law
Stichting Varkens in Nood: The European Commission accused the Netherlands of negligence in the enforcement of current E. U. legislation on cattle transport. According to EC David Byrne the Netherlands should crack down transports that violate European rules on animal welfare.
In Taipei turtles are hung on hooks alive before being slaughtered. Turtles are skinned alive in the same way as dogs are treated in other Asian countries.
a person should not decide on the euthanasia of a healthy animal without consultation. which qualifications must these persons have? if needed, which methods should be used? which methods should be banned? what is a reasonable time span for a healthy dog in a shelter before euthanasia can be considered? is euthanasia registrated and who checks it?
LEISMANIOSIS and Oleyl-PC
Allopurinol seems to be the therapy of choice for a dog of older age. The better way would be a combination with Allopurinol and Oleyl-PC. The Oleyl-PC is newly developped by Prof. Eibl (Max-Planck-Institut, Göttingen). The Oleyl-PC is only available from him. There are good results. If you like to contact him: Prof. Dr. H. Eibl, Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Karl-Friedrich-Bonhoeffer-Institut, Am Fassberg 11 D-37070 Göttingen Tel.: ++49 551 201 1686 Secretary (8.00-12.00), ++49 551 201 1315 Fax: ++49 551 201 1753
Quoted from the Correio da Manhã of October 6, 2001: Maria do Céu Sampaio, president of the Liga Portuguesa dos Direitos do Animal, during the World Animal Day celebrations appealed to the Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Guterres: "If you don't want to discuss a law about protection of animals, at least regularise the two that exist, because the situation of the number of owned animals abandoned is increasing".
RSPCA poster: Whatęs your excuse for not neutering your pet?
All female animals should have at least one litter before being neutered - There is no good reason for letting a female dog or cat produce a litter and the normal risks involved in birth and pregnancy mean it can actually be harmful.
It will change my pet's personality - Female animals will have little or no change. Male animals will become less agressive and less likely to wander
I cannot afford it - It costs a lot to feed a pregnant mother and a litter of puppies and kittens. Many vet practices co-operate with RSPCA branches in offering reduced fees for owners on low incomes.
It is easy to find homes for puppies and kittens - There arenęt enough good homes for animals already. Although in recent years the RSPCA has re-homed around 80000 unwanted dogs and cats annually, it still has to put to sleep far too many puppies, kittens and grown up dogs and cats each year.
It will hurt - The operation is done under general anaesthetic and is completely painless. Animals will feel some discomfort after the operation but they recover quickly
Neutering makes animals fat - An animal only gets fat from over-eating. So itęs up to you to keep an eye on what your pet eats
It is cruel to interfere with my pet's natural urges - It is even more cruel to allow your pet to produce unwanted puppies or kittens
from APAA Newsletter 4th quarter 2001
EUTHANASIA OF ANIMALS
(see "Care" in this website)
A person should not decide on the euthanasia of a healthy animal without consultation: - which qualifications must these persons have? - if needed, which methods should be used? - which methods should be banned? - what is a reasonable time span for a healthy dog in a shelter before euthanasia can be considered? - is euthanasia registrated and who checks it?
In some zoos in Europe young animals are killed such as tigers, bears via poisoning or a letal gunshot, see Death at the Zoo, home.t-online.de/home/muhmilch/01/zootiermord.htm
Cat furs are exported from China to GERMANY! this link takes you straight to the petition:
Stop China Fur Import
Latest bad news from Portugal:
We are informed that Faro International Airport is poisoning strays.
Are dog tails allowed to be cut or not?
There is a discussion on the law in Portugal. The European Animal Welfare reports that Portugal succeeded in postponing it: According to Decret 13/93, 13 April, which ratifies the European Convention for the Protection of Companion Animals, it is forbidden to cut ears and tails of dogs. However, a legal statement was made afterwards (Aviso nľ 207/93, August 25) mentioning the fact that Portugal would not accept the article concerning the cutting of tails. As far as I understand the law in Portugal it is legal to cut tails but illegal to cut the ears.
LPDA is working it out and contacting the Order of the Veterinarians in Lisbon on the issue.
No Dogs Allowed!
Message to hotel, restaurant and bar owners: Please donęt refuse pets in bars, restaurants and hotels as it is a reason for dog owners to abandon them on holidays. Abandoned animals are at high risk to be poisoned. For their animal friendly behaviour we want to congratulate:
Bar CATITA & COMPANHIA, Av. 5 de Outubro, 58, Olhão
If you know a restaurant, bar or hotel that allows pets, please let us know.
IMPRISONED FOR LIFE - WALK A DOG
In most shelters the animals are imprisoned for the rest of their lives.
Regularly shelters are too crowded, leaving no space for dogs to move around, leave alone to run. Unlike the cats that are often free to roam, the dogs most often have to stay in their kennel. A depressing fate for social and curious animals that are menęs best friends. If you have time to give shelter dogs a good time, please consult your nearest shelter for the possibility to walk a (few) dog(s). See "Links".
Do you realise that dogs are pack animals?
They need the company of their own kind and failing this they consider that we humans are the next best thing. Dogs do not belong at the end of a chain without human contact; they want and need to be loved.
Two of the most frequently used phrases people use when bringing in a dog to the rescue centre are: "You will home this dog easily"and "You wonęt have any trouble homing this dog" NOT TRUE - if it were, why would we have hundreds of dogs in the rescue centres?
Support urgently needed:
The canil in Olhão has no financial means to vaccinate, spay and neuter their dogs and cats. Also the canil in Lisboa can use your support. This biggest shelter we have ever seen houses almost a thousand animals. See "Links".
How far have we got in: August/September 2001
The Economic Counsellor of the ICEP section of the Portuguese Embassy in The Hague reacted to our letter of September 5, 2001, on the poisoning situation reported to the ambassador on March 22nd 2001. It is stated that maltreatment and poisoning is punished severely and it should always be reported to the local police. The counsellor asked for specific names of the people who commit these crimes to send to the Algarve Tourism Board.
He points out that the Algarve cares about its animals as it has saved the Cão de Água (water dog) from extinction. As also the endangered Mediterranean donkey is being saved.
We thank the counsellor for his concern on the situation of animal poisoning and his suggestion to name the culprits. However, as poisoning is a secretive and cowardly act we have no names and the people who know names have already had enough trouble with the culprits.
Besides that we got information that the police in Portimão and Carvoeiro are not cooperative in filing reports. And what about the reaction of a GNR captain to a poisoning allegedly by hunters: "What do you expect me to do as I am president of the hunters association?". Indeed ..... nothing!
Last year this same type of negligence or unwillingness was displayed by the Faro office of the Ministry for Agriculture. The urgent verbal report of dead and dying sheep in the fields on the opposite side of the N125 was ignored.
We have been advised that the poisoning of caterpillars on golf courses leads to the poisoning of the birds that eat them. Many cats and dogs are reported to have been poisoned in Guia and Vale do Garrão.
As poisoning often goes hand in hand with other cruelty against animals we receive calls and reports on these items as well. Thanks to apparent lax laws and mobile bullrings the blessings of animal torture amusement are brought to places like Loulé and Estói lately.
And now some good news:
Since August 9, 2001, there are new Portuguese laws for animal protection. Only fines, no prison. Maybe therefore bullfights are becoming profitable. Anyway, we hope this is not only 'red tape' but a serious start te enforce decent treatment of animals and serious punishment for those who will not. Who will uphold these new laws? Will there be a committed inspection board specialized in these matters? It all depends on the cooperation of the authorities. We'll see!
Besides the obligations concerning care, licenses, proper euthanasia, transportation and mutual cooperation there are some prohibitions:
* Surgical intervention to alter the appearance of animals (docking of tails & ears, removal of nails, teeth, etc.)
* Cruelty or abandonment
* Animal fights and the shooting of live targets such as pigeons
As there is progress in the treatment of leishmaniasis, there might be one reason less to kill lovely animals that can lead a normal life with the right treatment.
Information on the new treatment: Oleyl-PC newly developed by Prof. Dr . H. Eibel, fax 0049- 5512011753; tel secr (8.00-12.00) 0049 5512011315
We hear about more and more people who care about animals and are doing a great job for animal welfare in Portugal.
First of all we want to thank all who fight for animal rights and dare to speak out freely.
As it becomes clear that stray animals are ignored in European 'policy making' we focus on animal welfare organisations to influence politicians in Brussels to close this gap in European legislation. Stray animals - especially abandoned pets - are probably most vulnerable to poisoning.
We are advised that some owners of poisoned pets have met obstruction from the police in Portimão and Carvoeiro upon filing a report. In one case the attempted burglary was registered but the poisoning of the dogs during that attempt was not accepted in the report. In the other case the owner of a poisoned animal was denied a report until he would have more proof. These and other stories about experiences of poisoning of animals on our web site are highly appreciated.
We are also advised that in the last months many non-pedigree pets have been registered as missing. This might be an indication for increasing poisoning activities.
Wildlife protectionists asked us to report the poisoning, cruelty or torture of wild animals to:
Alto de S. Domingos, 14
Apartado 251, P-8100 Loulé
tel (00351) 289412959
So if you find for instance a dead animal or bird of which you think it died by poisoning please warn Almargem. When your find that it is still relatively fresh, it might be very helpful to preserve it until it is handed over to Almargem for further investigation. You can do so by putting it in a plastic bag that is marked 'not for consumption' in the freezer.
What happened in June 2001
From the Grupo Parlamentar do Partido Socialista we received answer from our letter of May 10 to Mrs. Rosa Maria Albernaz of the Socialist Party. Our letter was forwarded to the highest authorities of the Police, the G.N.R. and the Portuguese and Algarvian districts and municipalities.
The Police has answered that their branch in Faro has been instructed. We hope that the outcome will be action rather than 'red tape'.
After the Stichting Galgo International, another foundation for dog protection, the Bond tot Bescherming van Honden, has sent letters to diplomatic channels with the request to respond to the poisoning problem.
Upon receiving more information from the Eurogroup for Animal Welfare about the involvement of the E. U. in animal rights we were shocked to learn that the E. U. "cannot look at stray animals" and that pets fall under the national legislations of the member states. It is clear that the E. U. animal welfare focus is mainly pointed at economical related goals like cattle and transport. Obviously E. U. policy makers do not understand that stray animals mainly are abandoned animals that, unlike our better protected pets and wild animals, are not cared for or used to care for themselves.
Stickers are now available. Use them to make T-shirts, posters, etc.
How far have we got in May 2001?
1. We have approached veterinarians in the Algarve to account for all the poisoning cases brought to their attention. We approached (umbrella) organizations to cover further cases. Basing on the results, we will define the extent of the problem in a report we will submit to all the relevant parties in the autumn of 2001. We are getting Portuguese support from the Liga Portuguesa dos Direitos do Animal, firstname.lastname@example.org
, Lisbon, and the Associação Ecologista e Zoófila de Aljezur (AEZA), www.actionagainstpoisoning.com/pages/pt/AEZAformulario.html
2. In posters, written in different languages, pet owners are invited to report cases of deliberate poisoning to the G.N.R. or the Police, regardless of whether they expect results.
3. Restricting and control of the sale and / or the banning of poisons need further research. Preparatory action is taken to punish the possession of banned poisons and to make poisons repulsive to animals and people by smell, taste and colour.
4. Veterinarians have been asked for advice on emergency treatment for the pet owners.
Wound and burn treatment procedures are also available:
5. The poisoning problem has been brought to the attention of international organizations for the protection of animals like the WSPA, the RSPCA and the Eurogroup for Animal Welfare, www.actionagainstpoisoning.com/pages/uk/eurogroupletter.html
In Holland we approached the Foundation for Foreign Animal Shelters (SBA), the Dutch branch of WSPA, the Foundation for Dog Protection, the Foundation for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (EDEV), the Foundation for Greyhounds in Peril (GINN) and the Foundation Galgo International. Visit animals.de.gs
Some of these foundations will support us in different ways like collecting instruction material for schools, activating their network for this problem and publications.
Letters or articles were published in The Algarve Resident, AFPOP Update, Algarviews.
We wrote a letter to the Portuguese Embassy. No reaction yet. We have not yet seen a reaction from Travel and Tourist organizations.
We are working on a specific presentation and a poster for schools. We need support to implement an educational program. We are happy to hear that youngsters are downloading our web site, using items to discuss at school.
We intend to produce Action Against Poisoning warning stickers.
We were present at the Algarve's non-pedigree show SCRUFFTS 2001 on April 8th 2001 at the Fissul Centre by the RSPCA. We thank the APAA for their invitation and all visitors of the SCRUFFTS 2001 in Silves for their positive reactions and the many signatures on our petition Action Against Poisoning.
6. Bringing suspects of poisoning to court , just like obtaining support from the government, is a difficult task. The practical and legal aspects will be researched. Although law protects animals, there is no sign of any effective enforcement of the law. Animal protection needs a clear policy from a government, a consequent and accountable financial support of that policy and an independent inspection body working under the responsibility of the government. We will stimulate a combined effort of all organizations for animal protection and animal welfare to lobby for serious involvement of the government.
7. As uncontrolled growth of the population of stray animals is probably the major cause of poisoning and other kinds of cruelty to animals we strongly support the up scaling of 'spay, neuter, vaccinate and release' programs. Putting animals in asylums for life is a horrendous fate for the animals. Besides, it exhausts the scare financial means that might be better used and it hardly makes any difference to the stray population.
8. We need support for all the above issues, as well as for the Portuguese language, access to the local network and the implementation of our actions against poisoning. Please respond if you are willing to give us a hand. Some responses we received have been extremely helpful!
In the meantime we are at once warmed by the positive reactions and chilled by the alarming news about the ongoing onslaught of domestic animals.