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STOP BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA FROM IMPLEMENTING KILL-LAW AMENDMENTS TO THEIR ANIMAL WELFARE ACT

STOP BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA FROM IMPLEMENTING KILL-LAW AMENDMENTS TO THEIR ANIMAL WELFARE ACT
  
  

 

Why this is important

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA IS ABOUT TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES TO THEIR ANIMAL PROTECTION AND WELFARE ACT THAT MEAN SLAUGHTER OF HEALTHY STRAYS AND ONGOING MISUSE OF FUNDS INTENDED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THESE ANIMALS. TO STOP THIS LAW COMING INTO EFFECT IT IS CRITICAL WE LOBBY THE BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA AUTHORITIES NOW.

PETITION LETTER, TO BE SUBMITTED TO EU AND BIH PARLIAMENT AND EMBASSIES WORLDWIDE:

For some time in Bosnia and Herzegovina mass hysteria about stray animals has been systematically created by continuous political and media propaganda that aims to get public attention and direct citizens away from more pressing problems: unemployment, the failing economy, organised crime, corruption, failure of institutions to implement laws, the crime rate, which is continuously increasing.

Instead public attention is directed to those who cannot defend themselves, who are not guilty because they are abandoned and who are themselves victims of a dysfunctional and corrupt system in Bosnia and Herzegovina: the stray animal populations.

The burgeoning stray animal population, that has been caused by people is being publicised as an "animal problem”.

For months certain political parties and media spread hatred against stray dogs in particular, and intentionally are causing fear and hatred. Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have almost no interest in a humane reduction of stray animals.

The large number of stray animals on the streets of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a direct consequence of a failure to implement the existing Animal Protection and Welfare Act. It is a fact that an increasing number of stray dogs on the streets is always a direct consequence of the failure to implement preventative measures which are provided by this Animal Protection and Welfare Act.

And instead of making provisions to implement the law, a proposal for changes and amendments to the Animal Protection and Welfare Law has been made by Nermina Zaimović - Uzunović, a member of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly and a member of the Social Democratic Party, amendments which contain primitive and inhumane provisions for the euthanasia of healthy stray animals that are fostered in shelters if they are not adopted in 14 days.

This provision is not enforceable or advisable in practice because of the following reasons:

1) Euthanasia deals only with symptoms but not the causes of stray animal population problems. It will not lead to population management and must not be relied upon as a sole response to such problems. The focus of euthanasia of healthy stray dogs is on the consequence, not the cause of the problem. If causes that lead to the abandonment of animals are not resolved, the problem will continue. if those who are responsible for the implementation of the Animal Protection Act of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the media and political parties are only focused on consequences and not on the causes, the problem of stray animals will not be solved by any method.

2) Euthanasia as a way to manage the population of abandoned animals is five times more expensive than the implementation of TNR / CNR methods (catch – spay/neuter – release) and the construction of shelters for stray animals--which should function as centres for the adoption of stray animals.

Does this mean there is money for killing stray animals, but there is no money to implement the existing Animal Protection and Welfare Law? The proposed amendments do not lay out a financing plan nor do they offer money-saving solutions. The costs of euthanasia are 30% higher than those of neutering/spaying.

3) Nowhere in the world has euthanasia solved the problem of stray dogs for any period of time.

4) In Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in other parts of the world, there is no system that would efficiently and without consequences to the environment solve the problem of vast amounts of biological waste resulting from mass euthanasia. The proposed amendments to the BiH Animal Welfare Act do not include any mechanism that would allow the country to remove corpses of dead animals in large numbers, no provision for financing such a project.

In practice what does the implementation of these the proposed amendments to the BiH Animal Welfare Law mean?

This proposal aims to provide a carte blanche for the mass killing of stray animals, and to conveniently put aside four years of inaction regarding the implementation of the existing Animal Protection and Welfare Law. The existing law includes provisions for identification and registration of ownership of dogs. Irresponsible owners abandoning dogs and owners refusing to sterilise their free-roaming dogs are some of the main causes of the stray dog population problem. The proposer of the new amendments does not mention these issues, nor offers a plan for improvement of implementation of the existing provisions. This means the problem will keep occurring: the cause is being ignored and only the result is being addressed.

Also, this proposal removes responsibility for the above mentioned inaction from the lower levels of government, the veterinary profession, inspections and police, a responsibility and its implementation which is clearly and precisely provided by the existing Animal Protection and Welfare Law.

It was clear even to the minister who proposed the disputed new provisions and her political party that implementation of the provisions of the euthanasia of healthy stray animals is technically and financially impossible. Humane euthanasia practises are costly -- this requires trained professionals and expensive drugs. Dogs in shelters are known to be ‘euthanised’ inhumanely in a number of ways including clubbing. Images from other state shelters show starving dogs and dog corpses left amongst living dogs.

The new amendments are intended to mask the massacres of stray animals that will occur. The proposed amendments clearly reveal considerable inconsistencies. For example, keeping the obligation to invest in mass neutering, but also dictating obligatory allocation of funds to euthanise these very same dogs.

The existing Animal Protection and Welfare Law is an absolutely enforceable and functional law and it is not enforced because of political interests. After four years from adoption and entry into force of the Animal Protection and Welfare Law, there are continued obstructions to its implementation. Also, enormous funds have been laundered through the so-called shelters for stray animals, whose owners, directors, managers, are people close to the local municipal authorities.

The building of shelters for stray animals is, in fact, supposed to be completed in all cities by May, 2010. They are not completed. The proposed new amendments for euthanasia of healthy stray animals will provide income to complete work that should have been done over 3 years ago: dogs will be inhumanely killed in order to allow for this redirection of the use of the money to build shelters. Moreover new shelters will certainly continue to be completely inadequate for the health and well-being of dogs kept there, as has been documented regarding existing shelters all over the country, both new and old.

Furthermore, the European Union provides the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina with many millions of euros worth of financial aid each year. The allocation for 2012 was around €107.8m. Our understanding of the provisos attached to these aid packages is that there is a requirement for the recipient country to abide by EU laws which would include the laws related to animal welfare.

If EU funding is being abused, why should tax payers money be promoting a regime which has no intention of upholding our standards of animal welfare and who seek to become members of the EU in the near future? What is going on here, with millions of Euros going to waste and animal suffering combined?

In the 2nd reading and voting on the proposed amendments to the of Animal Protection and Welfare Law which was held on 20th November, 19 representatives in House of representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina were against the new amendments, 22 of them were for, but there was not an entity majority from Republic of Srpska so the law was not changed. Since there was not entity majority, new voting will be on 5th December, 2013.

If the BiH Parliament votes for proposed amendments, there will be significantly negative consequences for the strays of the country, providing easy routes to continued inhumane 'euthanasia' of healthy strays (even those who have already been through spay-neuter programs!) and continued misuse of funds intended for the benefit of the strays.

Can you raise these issues to your counterparts in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in EU Parliament, and comment as to how this situation appears to be on going and unaddressed?

Immediate international pressure on representatives of the BiH Parliament who are for “the kill law“ is extremely important in order to influence them to change their attitude towards the proposed amendments, and to seek, rather, to implement all provisos of what is a very good Animal Welfare Act.

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For more information:
http://inmemoryofvucko.org/
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/606785202697592/

Posted November 29, 2013
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