07/06/04 Boycott of Olympics in Athens

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Whilst Greek animals race for their lives, Animal Friends appeals all citizens of Croatia for the boycott of Olympics in Athens!

Western Daily Press, April 20, 2004, Roger Tavener: "Scandal of Athens! Yet another dog lies poisoned in what the world now sees as Greeks' Olympic tragedy."

Animal Friends joins other animal welfare organizations from all over the world in their boycott of Olympic games in Athens.

One of the organizers who launched a boycott was Marijo Anne Gillis, founder of WAG-New York, Inc. (Welfare for Animals in Greece - a Lobby Group), shocking the world with the information about 3,000 killed and poisoned dogs and cats which the city of Athens removed from its streets in the most cruel way, as an operation of the "cleanup" in the run-up to the Summer Olympics.

Poisoning of stray - and owned - dogs and cats is a way of life in Greece and it occurs on a daily basis. Those responsible for spreading poisoned bait, (and allegedly local governments and municipalities give the orders), are rarely caught in the act and usually the bodies of these innocent victims are picked up by garbage collectors in the early hours of the morning and dumped as trash, some still alive and writhing in pain.

Western Daily Press, April, 20 2004, Roger Tavener: "Dead dogs lie everywhere in Athens and surrounding suburbs. Witnesses even claim to have seen live dogs rounded up and thrown into trucks in some Greek towns, never to be seen again."

The poisoning is seen as a necessary and cheap clean up operation of the large numbers of stray dogs and cats which are looked upon as vermin or street rats. The poison used can be anything from strychnine and rat poison to farm pesticides and herbicides; even crushed glass placed in raw meat. Other animals were hanged by the neck, shot or run over by cars and left on the road to die.

While the Activists have launched a mass evacuation campaign, transporting the strays by plane, train, truck and bus to new homes around Europe, animal advocates from Australia to America stepped up calls to boycott the games.

Animal Friends couldn't remain passive in front of this cruelty; therefore we urge all citizens of Republic of Croatia to join the world boycott of Olympic games in Greece, Greek tourism and industry.

More information about the tragedy of Greek dogs and cats, which started already in 2001, at:

A letter of protest

H. E. Mr. Dimitris Vidouris, Ambassador
Opaticka 12
10000 Zagreb

August 12, 2004

Your Excellency,

Animal Friends' leadership and its 1,300 members are shocked and horrified by the reports, pictures and the video footage of about eighty percent of the abandoned dogs and cats of Athens and the Greater Attika that have been "disposed of" in a cruel and systematic manner.

Roughly 80% of the 30,000 to 50,000 abandoned dogs in Athens are already dead - victims of deliberate poisoning, abuse and neglect - as government officials, subcontracted welfare agencies, and the 2004 Athens Organizing Committee neaten the streets for a sleek world reception. Carcasses tossed into trashcans belie the government's denial. Images of animals rotting alive in shelters linger, despite the unveiling of a "showcase shelter" to greet the press.

While elected officials overlook anti-cruelty laws and assume no responsibility for the country's vanishing dogs, Greek and international media outlets continue to expose heartbreaking portraits. Witnesses describe the routine roundup of dead and dying animals in garbage trucks. Starving dogs and cats, often baited with strychnine-laced meat known as fola ("poison balls"), foam at the mouth, convulse and suffer unbearably before they die.

On August 4, 22 poisoned dogs were found close to the Port of Piraeus, the gateway to Athens. Eighty more dead dogs were allegedly discovered in Saronida, also near Athens. We understand Athens maintains just one municipal shelter, along with several privately owned, rundown facilities. Although the Deputy Mayor of Athens, Tonia Kanellopoulou, announced plans to gather, sterilize and re-home the city's strays, just one municipality appears to have implemented the new law.

Greece's unprecedented inhumanity towards dogs, cats and livestock has become a national shame and there is absolutely no excuse to justify the reality of thousands of animals' tortured destruction for cosmetic reasons.

As the world now focuses its lens on Athens, Greece's desperate attempts to conceal this slaughter which happened because of the Olympic Games must not stand unchallenged. For, Greece knew years ago that Olympics 2004 will eventually happen and Greece/Athens knew that it had a strays issue in the streets of Athens. Therefore, Greece and Athens had lots of time to solve the problem of strays in a more humane and dignified way than they did.

In this regard, we kindly urge you to intercede with the Greek government for the welfare of animals in your country. We will continue to encourage everyone we know to join us in a boycott of Greek travel and commerce - until visible strides are made to enforce existing animal welfare laws and institute humane reforms.

We demand an immediate halt to abuse, neglect and the mass poisoning of Greek dogs throughout the Olympic venues and beyond, and we hope the negative publicity serves as a wake-up call for Greece to raise its standard of animal welfare with modern shelters that maintain veterinary supervision, mandatory spay/neuter/vaccination, microchip identification, and responsible policies for re-homing animals.

Respectfully yours,

Luka Oman
Animal Friends



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