02/15/13 Legislators Betrayed Animals!

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The Croatian Government approved amendments to the Animal Protection Act

- Refused all proposals of Animal Friends for amendments to the Animal Protection Act; the the Act has been crippled by the Ministry

The Croatian Government adopted the Law on Amendments to the Animal Protection Act from the Ministry of Agriculture on its 76th sitting. This is only a cosmetic change conditioned on its adjustments with the European Union legislation and without significant progress in the protection of animals. Animal Friends has sent the Ministry a series of argumented proposals to improve the law, but the Ministry has not accepted any. Unlike the progressive provisions to the new Penal Code, amendments to the Animal Protection Act missed an opportunity to improve animal protection in Croatia.

According to the European Union directives, the import of fur and fur/skin products of certain species of seals, the use of traps, and the import of fur and products derived from certain trapped wild animals as well as products from dog and cat fur are banned. The positive thing is amendment to the concept of "domestic animal" in order to attempt to prevent the manipulation by circuses which have animals who are not domesticated in Croatia to cathegorize them as "domestic animals." The definition of an animal, beside being vertebrates, now includes cephalopods too, but only those that are used in experiments. This absurd provision means that when you use e.g. octopus in experiments you must take into account her ability to feel pain, but not outside of the experiment.

The biggest losers in the amendments to the Animal Protection Act are animals used in experiments, although the conditions of conducting experiments are defined in greater detail. The Ministry did not accept the argument from Animal Friends that the scientific community, when planning experiments, should take into account all available data from the experiments and not only those in the European Union, in order to avoid duplication of experiments and unnecessary suffering of animals. Although experiments on animals for research and development of chemical products used for cleansers and substances for disinfection of goods for general use, drugs and general effects of radiation have been forbidden so far, deleting them from the law makes them legal now, which is devastating.

Amendments to the Act also define ritual slaughter, which is conducted in accordance with the provisions of the religious communities by cutting the animal's neck while fully conscious and bleeding without prior stunning, and define the killing or crushing of unwanted live male chicks in egg production "in order to remove the surplus chicks and embryos in the eggs."

Not even the change of the absurdly written Article 4 of the Animal Protection Act, which specifies the "traditional competition bulls," was proposed, although Animal Friends warned that bullfights are held in Vrbovec.

Animal Friends has been fighting for years for changes to this legislation in order to protect animals and not the wish of profit-motivated individuals and interest groups, but most of the Animal Friends' proposals were meet with rejection. The Ministry of Agriculture formally invites Animal Friends to participate in amendments to the law as members of the Commission. However, while doing that they took advantage of Animal Friends' presence so as to justify the written provisions under the pretext that Animal Friends were present during the changes to the regulations.

The law is speciestic because it primarily protects the economic and political interests of the people while animals are at the same time protected within frames that do not threaten those interests, which is wrong. Animal Friends wants legislation that would allow more comprehensive animal protection and persecuation of the violators. It is clear that real change begins at the individual level, by changing our own habits associated with the exploitation and killing of animals, but legislation must also ensure the protection of the oppressed.

Among other things, Animal Friends demended the following amendments to the Animal Protection Act: ban on bulllfights and other staged animal conflicts, ban on dog races on all surfaces, ban on permanent chaining dogs, ban on experiments on primates, ban on momentarily crushing of the whole animal in egg production, obligation of local communities to organize and financially support aid to injured animals, ban on experiments on stray and feral animals, registration of everyone who has even less than three "breeding females" as a breeder, penalizing those who do not take care of the offspring of their own companion animals, ban on keeping all animal species in circuses, ban on keeping dolphins in captivity, regulation that all shelters must be of a non-profit character, penal provisions for local communities because of a failure to establish shelters, advertising abandoned animals in shelters in the public media, possibility of charging of the staying of an animal in the shelter, ban on the killing of animals in shelters, forming of the animal protection inspections, ban on ritual slaughter, ban on zoophilia...

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