12/10/08 Animals are not Merchandize

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On this year's International Animal Rights Day, Animal Friends invites you to boycott all stores that sell live animals

Each year, billions of animals are trapped, tortured, raped, poisoned and killed because of the human need to dominate other living beings. Since 1998, the International Animal Rights Day takes place on December 10, warning against all unethical abuse and ruthless oppression of animals. Animal rights activists work all year round on changing the specistic attitudes of humans towards other animals, but on this day protests and events are organized globally in order to draw attention to animal abuse in fur, pharmaceutical, food, and entertainment industries, as well as to other, individual forms of cruelty against animals.

Animals that we call "pets" are likewise a part of this cruel industry. They are also victims of breeding, trapping, abduction from their natural habitat, and marketing, after which they end in lifelong captivity. Living beings are thus turned into objects that will serve as presents under the Christmas tree, after which they often end neglected and abandoned. Animals are not created to become goods, sold on shelves with their price, barcode, and accompanying consumer goods.

On the occasion of the International Animal Rights Day, Animal Friends members will walk the city bound in chains and shatters, symbolically representing the slaveholder attitude of humans towards other animals. The event will take place on Wednesday, December 10 at 11:00 A.M. in front of the Pet Center in Heinzelova street, Zagreb, and will mark the beginning of a larger campaign against selling live animals in stores.

Animals intended for selling are raised in mass production and in very bad conditions, which cause terrible suffering and often ends in death. There are frequent cases of inbreeding, which results in malformations and diseases. Exotic animals are hunted down or bred, transported on long and stressful journeys, only to end in people's homes, where they are placed in small terrariums or aquariums. Some of them suffer for years, others die very quickly. Popular animals achieve high prices, unpopular are abandoned or killed.

Buying and selling of live animals is ethically unacceptable and should be legally banned. Cruelty behind this type of industry is barely imaginable. Breeding farms resemble common industrial factories. It is an industry that tortures living beings and turns them into mere articles, using them to create profit. If they survive the overcrowded breeding plants, the animals are packed in boxes labelled with their destination and serial number, and transported to a (pet) store. Those that get there alive are exhibited and wait until someone picks them for their new toy or entertainment for their children. What awaits them is lifelong imprisonment, often behind bars or glass walls.

Stores that sell live animals, the so-called pet shops, are barely controlled in Croatia. The evidence of that are constant complaints of citizens about the inappropriate conditions in which animals are kept and the violation of basic legal regulations. It is tragic that Croatia still lacks any laws that would regulate the selling of live animals. Those legal regulations that exist are ignored in practice and the veterinary inspections fail to sanction their violation.

Our campaign against this cruel trade includes the list of stores that do (not) sell live animals, which can be found here. Animal Friends invites all citizens to refrain from buying live animals and to boycott those stores that sell them. Food and other utilities for companion animals should be purchased only in those stores that do not sell live animals.

By buying live animals, you are directly supporting the "renewal of supply." Birds, rodents, fish, snakes, lizards, insects, frogs, and other animals are no merchandize! They are sentient living beings that deserve to live their lives freely, in their natural habitat. Cats and dogs are no merchandize either. Instead of buying them and supporting this cruel industry, all citizens who intend to get a companion animal should adopt it from an animal shelter or directly from the street, especially if an animal has obviously been abandoned into an unnatural or inadequate environment.

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