07/16/06 Give the Horses a Life, Not New Wounds and Death!

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Animal Friends demands confiscation of the abused horses and offer new homes for them

Even though shocked citizens and inspectors could see with their own eyes the wounded and exhausted horses used by Dario Juric for transporting wood in Bregana, the horses are in danger of being further mistreated, abused, and injured. Animal Friends Croatia has reported Dario Juric to the veterinary inspection and raised charges against him at the District Attorney's Office. The extremely battered horses are suffering from serious wounds on their bodies and are in need of complete rest and prolonged veterinary care, which their owner will hardly be willing to supply.

For this reason, the Varazdin branch of Animal Friends has found new homes for almost all of the horses. We have submitted a demand to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Management that the horses should be immediately confiscated and given for adoption. Otherwise, Animal Friends will report the veterinary inspection and the Ministry to the European Commission on the charge of violating five basic animal rights as defined in the Council Directive 98/58/EC. Neglecting and ignoring the Directive, which promotes civilized and humane treatment of animals and protects their welfare, will certainly diminish Croatia's chances of joining the EU.

Because of negligence and indifference of the veterinary inspection, which has proclaimed the wounds on the horses' bodies as "normal," one of the horses has died already. It is shameful that the representatives of veterinary profession in Croatia tend to belittle torture and suffering of animals that they are witnessing, instead of taking action according to their authority - in other words, they protect the abusers instead of the animals. Unfortunately, our organization must face regularly the indifference of veterinary inspectors, who refuse to do what is in their power in order to help the animals or to cooperate with animal welfare associations, which lack the authority, to do anything after being alarmed by the citizens apart from sending reports and seeking interventions by veterinary inspectors.

Scandalized by the news of abused horses in Bregana, an associations for therapeutic horse-riding "Krila" from Zagreb and "Pegazus" from Sibenik have offered to adopt them. The entire Croatian Federation of Therapeutic Riding is currently seeking new homes for the horses; thus, we are hoping to be able to secure adoption for the remaining three horses in the near future. We are also inviting horse owners who do not participate in equestrian sports to offer their help, since they keep horses in conditions that approach the natural ones most closely. The situation is extremely urgent, since the horses are in a very bad shape and ignoring the prohibition of labor or deprivation of prolonged medical care could be fatal for them. It is important that the horses should be adopted by individuals and associations that have considerable experience and knowledge in working with traumatized horses and can offer them all necessary care and a dignified life.

The Varazdin branch of Animal Friends is currently negotiating with a renown British producer of medication that alleviates pain in cases of skin lesions and facilitates epitelization, renewing the skin in a very short period of time and leaving no scars - the product is vegan, not tested on animals, and has been produced for 40 years. If the negotiations reach a satisfactory conclusion, Animal Friends will donate the medication to all those who adopt horses from Bregana in order to cure the severe wounds on the bodies of those unfortunate animals.

We demand that the relevant institutions should prevent Dario Juric, who has consciously brought his horses into this state, from acquiring new animals to be used for labor and that he should be fined according to the Animal Welfare Act and the Penal Law. We also demand from the Samobor Forestry Office that it should hire a company for transporting wood from the forest by using mechanization that will reduce the risk for humans and animals to the minimum.

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