A pair of new laws aimed at improving the life of animals in
Serbia brings the country closer to EU standards.
The legislation has been hailed by animal rights activists.
Some activists are working to add a provision on the
well-being of animals to the country’s constitution and are
gathering signatures to support the initiative.
Danica Drobac, of the animal rights NGO European Initiative
17, said Serbia was among the last countries in the Balkans
to adopt the Animal Wellbeing Law, only doing so last
summer. The Veterinary Medicine Law was passed in 2005 and
the new Criminal Law in 2006.
“These laws have brought positive changes to the animals’
benefit and have raised the level of awareness of animals
and their treatment. For example, the Criminal Law defines
not only the killing but also the abuse of an animal as a
crime and foresees the penalty of prison,” Drobac told
Southeast European Times.
She adds, “The Animal Wellbeing Law [though] imperfect,
introduces practically revolutionary changes regarding the
treatment of animals.
The [Wellbeing] law orders all local governments to build shelters for abandoned cats and dogs, which will undoubtedly result in the end of the horrific
torture of innocent homeless animals in rural regions.”
Bringing Serbian legislation in line with EU regulations on
animals rights, she said, added greatly to the changes.
Another animal rights organisation, Orca, also welcomed the
new laws. The group’s president, Elvir Burazerovic, said the
measures are pro-active in defending animals.
“Amendments and addendums to the criminal law have increased
prison sentences for the abuse and murder of animals from
six months to one year, while [organising animal fights is
now] a crime that carries the sentence of between three
months and three years,” Burazerovic told Southeast European
The law on raising awareness of animal rights went into
effect in September, 2009 and has been implemented in
Serbia’s school system.
“This provision will allow education about the wellbeing of
animals to be included at all levels of education,” said
Burazerovic. “More important than legal norms is to make
animal owners more responsible, so as to prevent cases of
people being bored of a dog after a bit of fun and play and
throwing it out onto the street.”
This content was commissioned for SETimes.com