Prima Sonntag/Würzburg interviewed a team member of PHE, Dr. Roland Eichler, on the situation with the Italian animal shelters.
primaS: Why do you campaign especially for animals in Southern Italy?
Dr. R. Eichler:
The situation of stray animals in most European countries is (terrible)disastrous. Every year an estimated one million dogs in Europe are killed, hung alive, poisoned, run over, shot or they simply die of starvation in the streets or so called animal shelters, which don’t deserve that name.
The over-population is a man-made problem, because most of the pet dogs are abandoned, in Italy alone – the frontrunner in animal abandonment – this figure is 135.000 dogs each year.
Only 8% of those dogs are identifiable or chipped, which means that 92% of the owners who abandon dogs get away without a penalty.
Italy doesn’t have killing stations for animals, such as a lot of other countries, but another criminal business has developed, which grants a lot of money to the owners of the “Canili” (animal shelters) .
Surely there are good animal shelters in Italy and people who would give the shirt of their back for animal rights.
But in most of the “Canili” (especially in the South of Italy – but unfortunately not only there), a so called “Slow-Kill” is practiced to an incredible extent. An example of this is the shelter in Cicerale/Salerno, in which 97% of the dogs starved to death
Italy has an excellent animal protection law, but it only exists on the paper. The “Menefregismo” (the indifference) and “non-preventive-thinking” to resolve the problem at it’s source (that means castration and penalties for abandonment and consequent identification by a chip etc. of all domestic animals) plays a huge role, one is content with locking the animals away, without realizing that the number of street dogs become more and more.
Responsibility of that isn’t the Italian citizen, it’s the politicians and operators of the shelters, that don’t act efficiently.
primaS: How do you campaign for this cause here in Germany?
R. Eichler: - together with team member Claudia Röckl, I published an article - with Pfotenhilfe Europa.
I am organizing an Italy-wide protest and am preparing an according objection letter, which is going to be sent to all Italian politicians, the EU-Parliament, the consulates, the media, prominent Italians, the Italian Association of Veterinarians etc. - we are planning a protest trip to Apulia, in Mai 2010, together with our partner organization CICTO - we work with other animal welfare organizations, who campaign for Italy and we spread information, signature-lists and petitions.
primS: What is your aim on the petition “Stop the animal hell in Apulia”?
R.Eichler: To achieve prevention, which means: free castrations - which are obligatory for all (except declared breeders), re-release of castrated tray dogs (if possible) and obligatory identification of all domestic dogs.
For the dogs in shelters: sufficient food and water, adequate accommodation, opening hours that allow adoption of dogs, free roaming, veterinarian care in cases of injuries/illnesses, castrations in the shelter, possibility of controls from the outside, abolishment of financial enrichment and prosecution for abandonment of dogs and controls of identification.
primS: When is the petition going to be handed over?
R.Eichler: Our plan is to arrange a campaign in Italy and to then hand over the signatures to the head of government of Apulia.
primS: What happens with the animals if your campaign is successful?
R.Eichler: We would like to achieve a standard, which is similar to the ones in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, which are suboptimal (cats!), but are, for the most part, sufficient.
Walking-times, veterinarian care and supply, sufficient food and roaming space, exercise, adoption etc. – that’s what most dogs in Italy can only dream of whilst they’re dying.
If you wish to read the whole article of primaSonntag, go here…
Would you like to help? If you would like to do something against the terrible conditions in Italy’s “animal shelters”, you can help by collecting signatures for the described campaign.
You can download the petition signature list here.
Furthermore you can sign the petition against the tourism agencies of Apulia here.
In addition you can protest against the circumstances in the “shelter” of Cicerale and Campobasso with your signature. Here you can request the urgently needed castrations, which prevent the birth of thousands of puppies and therefore prevent thousand fold sufferings.
We again point out the open letter, which has been published online by Italian animal campaigners and which has been published by PHE.