03/10/02 Statement

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Our Statement about anti-Croatian Disposition


Animal Friends has recently started an international internet petition in order to change article 54 of the hunting law in Croatia. The petition started because of the fact that the Ministry of agriculture and forestry, as well as the entire Croatian governmental administration, have not responded to our requests for the change of that article. In fact, the only answer that we got came from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in which hunters were claimed to be nature preservers and we were accused of trying to start a "groundless war" against them.

Such an answer and position of the Ministry did not leave us with much choice. We were forced to turn to the International organisation of associations and individuals that fight for a better treatment of animals, which consists of hundreds of associations and thousands of individuals eminent in fighting for animal rights all over the world and in all spheres. In a couple of days, our call for help has travelled the world and we have letters of support and signatures for the petition coming from all over the world.

Regardless of the fact that some of the countries that support us are currently in a state of war, their inhabitants are horrified with the treatment of animals in Croatia.

Thousands of people around the world have reacted by spreading the information further to their acquaintances. Pretty soon, we became a big news and millions of people around the world were aware of cruelty towards animals in Croatia. All of these people were asked to support us in our intention to change the attitude of Croatian government towards animals.

However, since a large number of people and organisations were included in this petition, some spontaneous individual initiatives in a few countries such as the USA, France, Germany, Austria, the UK, Czech Republic, and others, were started, in which the world was asked to boycott Croatia, with the emphasis on its tourism, knowing that Croatia is a tourist destination.

Croatian government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry were asked to change the Hunting and Animal Welfare Law as well as to start punishing those who commit crimes on animals. In case our government refuses to change the law, they threatened to ruin our tourist season and ask from their governments to stop the negotiations on Croatia's acceptance to the EU due to the horrific treatment of Croatian authorities towards animals.

They were encouraged by the example of the recent pressure put on Korea by the International association, when thousands of organisations and people managed to force FIFA to forbid serving dog meat (a Korean speciality that is currently consumed by 3 millions Koreans) during the world soccer championship.

This proves that the association is strong enough to boycott Croatia. Until now, as an organisation which has started the campaign, we did not wish to start a pressure similar to the one that was carried out in Korea, and were always able to stop such suggestions, but since the government is still not responding to our requests, a call for help to the International association seems to be the only solution.

We would like for the Ministries to change their positions on this topic and reach an agreement, but will not settle for Croatia being a land of cruelty, so, if necessary, we shall inform the world about the situation. Some foreign media have already printed stories on our campaign and the public seems to be disturbed about it. Some threats from individuals and organisations have been made about boycotting Croatian tourist season, and, considering the influence they have in the world, this could be a problem for Croatia.

In The United Kingdom 80% of the population is opposed to hunting, which means that they can find more attractive tourist destinations than Croatia where hunting is accepted as normal. In the civilised world, animal welfare is becoming an important political factor. In some countries, promises that are made about animal rights are the ones that help in winning the elections. So, the question is: how far are we planning to go in our horrific treatment of animals?

We are aware of the fact that this campaign could result in many economic problems, as well as the damage that it could bring to this year's tourist season. It is in our best interest to avoid these problems but, on the other hand, our government should be aware of the fact that they cannot keep ignoring our requests and having the attitude that they have towards animal rights today. We shall not allow the people in leading circles to turn a deaf ear to requests on necessary adjustments that should be made in our cruel laws. These persons should be aware that they are the ones responsible for the causing damage to Croatian tourism unless some changes are done soon.

It is in best interest to everyone in Croatia for this tourist season to succeed, but also, everyone should be aware that what we are doing represents our last chance to turn things around. We sincerely hope that such measures will not have to be taken.

The minute that the laws on animal welfare in Croatia change, we shall be the first to promote our country and its tourism, and that is because we believe that Croatia has to be a country famous for eco-tourism as well as an eminent producer of organic food instead of an object of ridicule of the whole world - from Azerbaijan to Puerto Rico.



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