The B92 news situation item given later in this post is a summary of recent events relating to Serbia and the OIE – the OIE being the World Organisation for Animal Health.
Whilst we welcome the move by the OIE to hold an international seminar in Belgrade relating to veterinary medicine which can do nothing but move Serbia a step forward in animal welfare terms from its current dark ages perspective / philosophy towards policies and goals of the 21st Century, we still have very many concerns that the OIE are not being given the full facts by Serbia when it comes to disease control policy.
In other words, we still feel that inaccurate or even non existent alleged Rabies outbreaks in the country are constantly, and misleadingly, being used as an excuse by the Serbian authorities to allow them to continue to undertake mass killings of stray animals, regardless of any disease detection or not. As we show in the data below, the Veterinary Law of 2005 which is fully supported by the Serbian Constitutional Court, FORBIDS the killing of animals (strays); instead they must be given care.
This is a policy which we feel the Serbian authorities to do not wish to undertake; in their misguided attitude, killing stray animals is esier than population management programmes. There is no forward vision by the authorities that a sterilisation prgramme over time will dramatically reduce stray animal numbers; killing strays only continues a current policy of pouring water into a bottomless barrel; un-sterilsed strays produce more strays as offspring.
Only when the authorities actually understand the reality and accept that stray sterilisation programmes are the way to reduce stray numbers in Serbia, will we ever see a reduction in populations and a long term saving in costs.
The only exception to this case of providing care to stray animals, is when it is applied to Rabies infected areas, which then allows animals, including strays, to be killed. If there is no rabies in an area, then the demands of the legislation as directed by the Serbian Constitutional Court must be applied, and this declares that stray animals must be protected.
So we ask, is a national widespread rabies outbreak a simple invention of the government and authorities so that they can continue to kill and yet appear to be within the law ?, or is it a reality ?
It is time that the OIE were informed about the views of the animal welfare organisations once again.
Personnel who should be asked at the OIE include –
Dr Nikola T. Belev – Regional Representative
Dr Stanislav Ralchev – Technical Assistant
Dr Anatoliy Vlasov – Regional Expert
Dr Caroline Planté – Sub-Regioanl Representative
Dr Jean-Pierre Vermeersch – Project Manager.
We are perfectly within our rights as world citizens to ask the OIE – the world orgainsation for animal health, to consider our view that Serbia may be inventing rabies outbreaks to allow the continued killing of stray animals, rather than taking time and including financial investment to reduce stray numbers by sterilisation, vaccination, microchipping and a public education programme targeted at responsible owned (pet) animals.
At the end of this post you can find a sample letter which can be copied and sent by yourself to all the above representatives of the OIE, expressing your concerns about what we view as the continued ILLEGAL killing of stray animals in Serbia.
At the Belgrade veterinary meetings scheduled for the end of July, we require the representatives of the OIE to put on the agenda the issue of stray animal killings right across Serbia; especially when associated with the alleged mass Rabies outbreaks that appear nationwide as declared by the government and authorities.
Is this simply a license to continue killing strays by the government ?
We want answers from the OIE and from the Serbian government; and the Belgrade meetings are an ideal situation for this all to be provided to a global audience – and that is us.
We hope that by copying and sending the sample letter (provided below) to the very personnel involved with the OIE in Serbia, some note may be taken of our requests and that the Serbian government may be held to account in Belgrade at the end of July for its continued illegal killing of stray animals.
Past SAV posts relating to the above:
As we say in one of our posts given above, and what we consider a very important fact that must be remembered and which is given again here:
It should be remembered that the original (old) legislation to allow stray killing – named Pravilnik 29/94, was overwritten by Article 168 of 2005, the result being that all killing of animals was forbidden apart only from cases for Rabies infected areas, which were covered by application of Articles 64 and 65 of the Veterinary Law.
*** This is the important point, that animal killing is illegal apart only from cases for Rabies infected areas, which were covered by application of Articles 64 and 65 of the Veterinary Law ***.
It would seem strange that there are alleged mass outbreaks of rabies across Serbia now.
In effect, Article 168 of 2005 which does not allow animal killing is replaced by legislation that DOES ALLOW animal killing, simply because there is allegedly rabies in areas. The word ‘rabies’ being the one which specifically gives right to animal slaughter rather than animal protection.
Even more strange that rabies is supposedly breaking out right across Serbia; which therefore allows all strays and wildlife to continue to be killed by ‘by-passing’ legislation of Article 168 of 2005 – the no kill animal legislation.
No rabies in area = legislation Article 168 = NO animal killing, only animal care.
Rabies in area = Articles 64 and 65 of the Veterinary Law = allows Mass animal killing, including wildlife.
So, we suggest that a national rabies outbreak has suddenly arrived en masse, even been invented, devised etc in order that the continued mass slaughter of all animals, including strays and wildlife, can continue, when in fact, Article 168 which should allow for the care of animals, is very conveniently being by-passed
The 2005 Veterinary Law Article 168 demands the care of animals, not the killing.
This has recently been verified to Serbian animal campaigners by the Constitutional Court of Serbia as being the legislation which should be applied.
News B92 Tv station :
Belgrade, 8 July 2010 –
Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Sasa Dragin met today with President of the Regional Commission of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for Europe Nikola Belev.
Cvetkovic and Dragin thanked the OIE for the decision to hold an international seminar on veterinary medicine products in Belgrade on 26–28 July, as well as for its continued support to Serbia’s veterinary sector.
Belev delivered greetings from OIE Director General Bernard Vallat and voiced his pleasure at Serbia’s exceptional progress in veterinary medicine and food safety over the last few years.
He underlined the importance of permanent control and supervision over contagious animal diseases, which can jeopardise animal and human health, as well as threaten the environment and the country’s economic development.
Belev especially pointed out the economic underside of contagious animal diseases to any country, as well as the current dangers threatening the region, such as African swine plague, rabies, foot-and-mouth disease and foot-rot.
He said he is pleased that new regulations regarding disease control have been adopted over the last year in Serbia and voiced his full confidence in Serbia’s capacity to control these diseases.
He shared the expectation of the OIE and the EU concerning the establishment of an appropriate structure of veterinary services for their member states and providing financial and administrative capacity for these services.
The President of the OIE Regional Commission for Europe confirmed that he was very pleased with the way Serbia established its veterinary system, as well as with our country’s communication and cooperation with the OIE and the EU.
He outlined that the meeting in Belgrade will gather approximately 50 participants from European countries – members of the OIE, as well as representatives from international organisations.
The seminar will be organised by the OIE in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management and the Ministry’s Veterinary Administration.
The conference is of great importance not only in terms of improving the registration and quality control and operations of veterinary medicines and medical supplies, treatment and control of infectious animal diseases, but also from the standpoint of food safety.
** SAMPLE LETTER ** ** SAMPLE LETTER ** ** SAMPLE LETTER **
Block e mail listing to send to:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter to copy and send:
Dear regional representatives of the OIE for the Balkans states;
Whilst I welcome the move by the OIE to hold an international seminar in Belgrade at the end of July 2010 relating to veterinary medicine, I also wish to express my views and concerns to you in advance of this meeting, with the hope that you will quesion both Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Mr. Sasa Dragin on what I have to say.
My concerns include:
the original (old) Serbian legislation to allow stray animal killing – named Pravilnik 29/94, was overwritten by Article 168 of the new Serbian Veterinary Law in 2005, the result being that the killing of all animals was forbidden apart only from cases for Rabies infected areas, which are covered by application of Articles 64 and 65 of the Veterinary Law.
Under the existing Veterinary Law, as supported by the Serbian Constitutional Court, it is now the national Serbian law that animals, including stray animals, must be given care rather than be killed.
Serbian authorities and government are not enforcing this existing Serbian legislation. I now feel that with the sudden drastic increase in alleged Rabies outbreaks right across Serbia, the authorities are simply using rabies as an excuse to detour around the existing animal protection law of 2005 (the Veterinary Law) – where rabies can still be used as a legitimate reason for continuing to kill animals.
I feel this is a deliberate attempt by the Serbian authorities to continue their policy of killing stray animals regardless of what existing serbian legislation requires. I go as far as to say that I feel that rabies is being used by the autorities throughout Serbia to continue with their kill frenzy rather than adoting the legal national requirement of caring stray animals.
I also have concerns that you, the OIE, who are responsible for ensuring global disease control and recoding global disease outbreaks, are not actually being informed of all these alleged rabies outbreaks by the Serbian authorities, quite simply, because they do not actually exist. They are simply an excuse to allow the continued killing of stray animals, which is against existing Serbian national legislation.
I also have large concerns that there is no real programme for the future by Serbian authorities to make any long term attempt at stray animal population reduction. A programme which would include sterilisation, vaccination and microchipping for both stray and also pet (owned) animals is the only way that Serbia can ever hope to reduce the vast numbers of animals which it currently has on the streets. Public education is required here also, and again the Serbian authorites are showing no attempt to become involved in this. Serbian autorities are interested in one approach to stray animal control only; and that is to kill everything. This is doing nothing to reduce stray animals numbers and in the 21st century, is simply not acceptable to normal decent global citizens.
Serbia is wishing to become a future member of the European Union (EU). In her Issue 1, June 2010 newsletter, Paola Testori, the EU Director General for Health and Consumers; who is responsible for animal welfare also, declares:
“The Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force last December (2009), has created an explicit duty regarding animal welfare under EU law. Article 13 of the Treaty speaks of animals as “sentient beings” that must be respected in the EU decision-making process”.
My current opinion is that Serbia is not showing any attempt to enforce its own national animal welfare legislation, that it certainly does not comply with the requirements of the Treaty of Lisbon, and that in no way does it show that it (Serbia) accepts animals as sentient beings. One only has to witness their treatment of stray animals over many years to support this view.
As a global animal welfare campaigner, I am asking you, the OIE, the World Organisation for Animal Health, to step up onto the stage at the Belgrade meetings this July and acting on my behalf, demand a proper response from the Serbian authorities as to why they are continuing to use the rabies threat as an excuse to detour around caring for animals under existing Serbian legislation as they are required, and that in my opinion, with their current global status of being a nation of stray animal killers, what they aim to do about it prior to any membership of the EU.
Until the Serbian authorities change their attitude to stray animal population controls through a no kill, sterilisation strategy, which I trust you as the OIE, and animal welfare defending global organisation will support, I have no alternative but to continue campaigning for the protection of Serbian stray animals as endorsed by the Serbian Constitutional Court.
It is the Serbian authorities and government who need to move from a Dark Ages approach to animals and progress into the 21st Century; no one else.
I trust that you will make my views on Serbian animal welfare policy, or the lack of it in the 21st Century, clear to the Serbian authorities at the July, Belgrade meetings.
***Name and nationality***.