02/02/06 Pig as a Walking Ham

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Animal Friends and six neighbors are expressing their resentment due to inefficiency of inspections

A couple of days ago, we informed the public and responsible inspectors, showing them photos and a video clip about the illegal and inappropriate holding of one pig, about 10 chickens and a duck on city territory in Sopot, Zagreb, expecting that the inspectors would prohibit Marija Bogojevic to keep having and killing the animals in the town by punishing her with prescribed monetary penalties. Unfortunately, we found out that Marija Bogojevic has not yet received any kind of ban on keeping the animals or order to get rid of the illegally-made housing, but inspectors rebuked Animal Friends for exaggerating and bringing unsubstantial accusations.

Presenting the whole issue to the public, we also expressed the resentment of the six neighbors that suffer Marija Bogojevic's inhumane treatment of her dogs, pigs and the rest of the animals she uses for slaughter. The neighbors are claiming that she used to have more dogs, never vaccinated, and she got rid of them if they would not properly watch the other animals, or the dogs would just starve from being neglected. The last dog she had a couple of years ago, was seen completely neglected, held on the short chain, skinny and hungry, scared and unsociable, without any refuge from bad weather. To help him, the neighbors built him a little house, vaccinated him and gave him food regularly, until he died last week due to diseases and cold.

It is not understandable that the inspections are ignoring this problem even though it has been proven that Marija Bogojevic violated the law by keeping animals in the town, next to the skyscrapers. Sanitary inspector Sinisa Jagodic warned her only that the liquid-manure pit had to be cemented so it could not pollute the groundwater. With this he implied that there is nothing wrong with breeding and killing animals on city property. The veterinary inspector Zoran Medar claimed the same thing and only warned the owner of the pig that it has to be killed in the slaughterhouse. Nor do the municipal workers have the authority to react because vague legal regulations.

Actions like these encourage the citizens that they can go against the law and breed and kill animals in the city, because due to a lack of legal regulations about illegal breeding of animals in the town or because of inefficiency of inspections, citizens can hold the animals in town areas and slaughter them almost on the concrete.

We are aware of the fact that we live in a country where torture and brutal slaughter during "back-yard pig slaughter holidays," so-called "kolinje" in Croatia, is still an occasion for national joy and music, but we are unpleasantly surprised with the way the veterinary inspection ignores the manure, excrement, humidity, low temperatures, lack of light and lack of any kind of sociality for the pig, whose treatment is considered acceptable as long as the pig is vaccinated and marked on the ear, in other words, good for the slaughter and human consumption.

As an organization that fights against all kinds of animal abuse and injustice, we consider it a shame to claim that our accusations about the lack of care for the pig are funny, because it is said that "the word is about an average country hog house." It makes us worry that this statement comes from the veterinary inspector, who is supposed to know the ethology of pigs, their unmistakable sociality, their development of emotional connection inside the group, their communication and social hierarchy. For every living being it is humiliating to live as an object, like a walking ham which does not need to be cared about. Pigs are as intelligent as dogs; nevertheless, people are horrified to see when someone tortures a dog, but when it comes to treating the pig as food-stuff and slaughtering her, unfortunately, they do not think this is something that should be condemned. For example, keeping fish in fishbowls, which make them dizzy, in Croatia is watched with amusement while it is banned by law in our neighboring country, Italy.

Illegal breeding and killing of animals in towns must be punished, because everyone should respect the laws regardless of their social status. Besides, breeding of pigs and chickens are neither a reason nor cause of one's poverty or wealth, yet, in this case, an attempt to distract attention from breaking of the law. The Animal Welfare Act and other laws and ethics must be equally applied both to the rich and the poor. Otherwise, only the rich would be judged and punished for mis-treatment and torture of animals.



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