The present AnimaList special edition is the annual review of Animal Friends Croatia activities and achievements in 2022.
Europe Without Animal Testing
In 2022, we joined the Save Cruelty-Free Cosmetics
– Commit to a Europe Without Animal Testing, a major European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). Petitioning started on August 31, 2021, aiming to gather one million EU citizens’ signatures. The initiative was supported by Paul McCartney
who declared that over 10 million animals die horrendous death due to unnecessary cosmetic ingredients tests in laboratories across Europe. The required number of signatures was collected by early August 2022, obliging the European Commission to propose new legislation that would secure a ban on cruel testing on animals.
Better Animal Protection Legislation
In April 2022, we forwarded a request to the Ministry of Agriculture to urgently set up a Committee on Amendments to the Animal Protection Act, to which the Ministry agreed following a public debate on the Proposal for Legislative Action Schedule for 2023. As part of our campaign, we created a specially dedicated website (www.boljizakon.net ) where we explained in detail what we expected from the new law. Apart from banning dog chaining and the introduction of a Positive List, we believe it is necessary to ban keeping large cats and other wild animals in private captivity, animal performances in circuses, as well as to introduce compulsory neutering of cats and dogs. Furthermore, we designed billboard posters visually depicting the above issues, in an attempt to highlight the necessity to improve on the current Animal Protection Act.
Free Neutering in Banovina
Due to considerable interest in free neutering of cats and dogs in various areas of the Sisačko-Moslavačka County affected by the earthquake, we launched the Pay for Spay campaign
in 2022. The goal was to double the generous donation of Astra Business Engineering and collect an additional HRK 150,000 necessary to neuter a total of 1,000 cats and dogs. Numerous celebrities joined
in the action and called for the neutering of cats and dogs, as well as for donations. The target was met by late November 2022, with over 1,000 animals successfully neutered. We expressed our thanks to numerous volunteers who put in tremendous efforts to trap and neuter cats and underlined the importance of education on animal reproduction control.
We encouraged participation in a public debate on the Proposed Book of Rules on Fishing Licensing for Bottom Trawling in Commercial Sea Fishing. Our comment in the debate detailed reasons why and to what extent bottom trawlers are detrimental to biodiversity and the environment. In order to further raise awareness
on this issue, Animal Friends Croatia launched a campaign and a website www.zabranimo-koce.net
to inform the public of the destructive effect of bottom trawlers
on the Adriatic Sea, aiming at their total ban. So far we have gathered around 3,000 signatures in favor of the ban. We also marked World Day for the End of Fishing
, while on the occasion of International Animal Rights Day, we organized a performance that aimed to demonstrate that even fish have rights.
End the Slaughter Age
In 2022, Animal Friends Croatia joined the European Citizens’ Initiative for investments in the innovative food industry. The aim was to gather one million signatures by June 2023 in support of investments in innovative animal-free meat production
. A minimum of seven EU member states must pass the threshold for this proposal to be put forward to European Commission. The signature collection is still ongoing, and the petition can be found here. Read here about the health benefits of plant-based and cultivated meat, how it can help our planet, and what cardiologists say about it.
Blood is Not Fashion
We joined Fur Free Europe, a major European Citizens’ Initiative
, calling for an EU-wide ban on farming animals for fur. As part of the campaign, we created the Blood is Not Fashion
webpage which details appalling data on the suffering of animals killed for their fur.
This year, Latvia, Malta, and Ireland
joined other EU member states that had already banned animal farming for fur production, whereas Dolce & Gabbana announced
they would stop using animal fur in their collections. The signature collection is to continue until June 2023.
Skip the Zoo
We continued with our Skip the Zoo campaign
. We warned of cities spending millions
on animal exploitation in zoos. Many of them are not aware that zoos represent only mild entertainment for people, but bring life-long suffering to animals. Hence, we called for public education on the reality of zoos. We explained the reasons why and how to transform zoos in a feature article.
All About Neutering
The project for affordable pet neutering resulted in an enviable number of cats and dogs neutered – as many as 728. Considering that the City of Zagreb Animal Shelter in Dumovec carries out the bulk of the neutering, resulting in monthslong waiting lists, we forwarded a
Proposal for Improved Implementation of the Animal Protection Act to the City Council and requested an additional team to be formed for the neutering of abandoned dogs and feral cats.
Abandoned Animals Do Not Fall from the Sky
We marked the World Spay Day
, and, in May, we marked the Cat and Dog Spay Month
. On the occasion, we negotiated affordable prices for spaying during the month of May in cooperation with over 100 veterinary clinics. We called on the local self-government units to mark the Free Feral Cat Spay Day
, and, furthermore, neutering remained the main topic of our long-running Family on Holiday, Dog on the Street?!
campaign. Actor Tarik Filipović was the face of the campaign marketed via poster with the message: Abandoned animals do not fall from the sky
- Early in 2022, we reported that veterinary inspections had been relaunched in Roma-populated areas in an effort to improve the management of animal reproduction. The objective is to neuter, chip, and vaccinate all dogs, and subsequently return them to their owners, or place them in shelters in order to help them heal or find a home. Veterinary inspectors announced they would use all possible resources to carry out similar activities in other areas populated by Roma people until the very last dog is taken and tended to.
- We reacted to a case of illegal pet trading and warned that animal breeding is a major cause of animal abandonment.
- Late in the year, we once again called for compassionate holidays, with a reminder not to buy animals as Christmas gifts, but to home them from a shelter if adequate conditions can be provided.
All about Legislation
New Laws and Ordinances
- After a five-year wait, the new Book of Rules on Pet Animal Breeding finally came into force. According to the new rules, all breeders must register, even if they do not engage in selling, but supposedly gifting animals.
- We reported on the Croatian Parliament adopting the Animal Health Act. A major step forward is the obligation to chip dogs “prior to their relocation for the purpose of change of ownership.”
- We participated in the Public Debate on the Proposed Book of Rules on Packaging Materials and Waste Packaging Materials, suggesting a ban on light plastic carrier bags. We sent a letter to the Dubrovnik City Council on the implementation of the Animal Protection Act and reminded them of important steps they must take in order to fulfill their legal obligations.
- At the end of the year, we warned that animal protection is more than 15 years overdue due to staff shortages. Subsequently, we sent a letter to the Government to request an increase in the number of staff at the Ministry of Agriculture working in the area of animal protection.
As usual, we started the month of January by sending an invitation to join in Veganuary
and our Veggie challenge. We organized a lucky-dip contest and awarded a number of participants with a free lunch in one of several participating restaurants. Igor Barberić, ambassador of the Croatian version of Veganuary, lent his voice to the lead character in a short animation
, calling for a transition to a plant-based diet.
Vegan Meals in Student Cafeterias
In May, we set up a stall in front of the Zagreb Student Centre restaurant where students had an opportunity to taste healthy vegan dishes
and sign a petition for the introduction of vegan meals in public institutions in Croatia. We put forward a request to the Committee due to work on the new Book of Rules on Student Meals to include our representatives in their work.
Veganism and Health
We reported on the latest research confirming that a plant-based diet has a beneficial effect on our immune system and that vegans have 73% lower chances
of suffering from a more severe form of COVID-19. At Easter
, we showed how holiday tradition can be respected with vegan dishes, whereas over summer we published several recipes for light summer dishes suitable
for hot weather. We also wrote about the very common discrimination of vegans and reminded hospitals of their obligation to offer vegan meals.
We called on the public to mark the World Animal Day by organizing a Veggie picnic in cooperation with the Zagreb City Council. As World Vegetarian Day and World Farm Animals Day also fall in October, we sent a message to animal lovers and all those who do not want to take part in animal torture and killing to opt for a meat-free diet, thus making a positive contribution that affects our entire planet.
We organized our 11th Veggie Fair where we offered fantastic food and other vegan products. In addition, visitors were able to listen to educational interviews and find out many interesting things on the subject of veganism.
14th ZeGeVege Takes Place
On the 23rd and 24th of September 2022, the 14th ZeGeVege Festival of sustainable living took place. Bojan Kuljić, Ana Štefulj and Igor Drašković featuring on event’s posters stated “they choose veganism in the long run” and explained how a vegan diet contributed to their sports success. We invited them for to come for a walk at ZeGeVege, hear out messages of compassion and taste exclusively plant-based food and products. They had an opportunity to listen to inspirational stage interviews organised as part of the Festival’s educational programme, as well as to participate in many creative workshops. The Festival was a huge success, leaving no one with an empty stomach. See here how it all went.
Marking Important Dates with Delicacies
- On Meatout Day we sent a public appeal to swap meat for grains given that meat and dairy industries are among the major causes of the current climate crisis and climate change.
- On World Plant-based Burger Day and World Plant Milk Day we emphasized the advantages plant-based burgers and plant milk have with regard to general health and the environment while offering product tasting for interested passers-by.
- As we had done the previous two years, we flew vegan flags across Croatia on World Vegan Day and organized an information stand where we distributed vegan food. This year, over 100 flags were displayed in 10 cities, adding power to the vegan movement and raising environmental awareness of towns and cities, while helping them improve their tourist destination image.
Climate and Ecology
- We reminded the public that in 2021, the Croatian Parliament adopted the so-called “Low Carbon Footprint Strategy” which aimed at slowing down climate change and emphasizing the importance of implementing measures that would ensure higher consumption of plant-based food. However, since the inception of the Strategy, almost nothing has been done in this regard. We, therefore, sent a letter to all units of local self-government on the effects that cities and counties have on stopping climate change.
- On Earth Day, we offered dishes and sweets with a low carbon footprint at our food stall and spoke about the importance of sustaining our planet.
- On the International Day for Biological Diversity, we invited the public to stand up for the preservation of animal species that are facing extinction.
- Within the Green Development against Climate Change Conference, Ari Ben Dror from Israel’s The Good Food Institute, pointed out the major impact of meat on climate change, which we reported through Croatian media. We pointed out that, according to UN experts, transitioning to a plant-based diet would have a direct positive effect in the fight against climate change.
- In addition, we participated in the Climate March organized to raise awareness on the ever more evident climate change.
Complaints Filed to Inspections
We filed 33 complaints to the State Inspectorate, including a complaint regarding the Slavonski Brod Shelter. On a number of occasions, we reported on Nero, the sick dog who, after years of suffering in chains, had to be euthanized. Furthermore, we sent 27 complaints to communal wardens and eight complaints to the police, e.g. a complaint about shops selling pyrotechnics that were in violation of the firecracker sale ban. Other complaints filed can be found here.
Unethical Treatment of Animals
We wrote about the unethical treatment of animals after news came out about the pig heart transplant to a human. We stated it is immoral that we eat pigs, which results in many illnesses, and then we kill them to take their hearts and cure ourselves. We organized a “dog meat” tasting where we reiterated the premise that if we do not eat dogs, we should not eat other animals’ meat either.
Farms and Slaughters
Another example of inhumane treatment of animals to which we reacted was the killing of 150,000 of hens at the Lukač farm after salmonella was detected in the eggs. In November, we reminded the public that private slaughters are not a cute tradition but the worst kind of violence against and harassment of intelligent and sentient animals.
Helping the People and the Animals of Ukraine
After the war broke out in Ukraine, we called on all those with adequate conditions to lend a helping hand by offering a home to refugees and their animals. We drafted a detailed application form for those who were able and wished to help by offering free accommodation. The gathered data was passed on to the civil protection authorities to ensure that anyone in need of help would be assisted in the shortest time possible. Moreover, we used our website to frequently publish information in Ukrainian to ensure timely notification for all concerned.
Helping the Žarkovica Dogs
In May 2022, when information was released on horrific conditions in which dogs lived at the unregistered Žarkovica shelter, we actively joined in the rescue efforts. We reminded the Dubrovnik City Council that they bore the brunt of responsibility because they had been talking about building a legitimate shelter for over two decades, however, to this day nothing has materialized. The veterinary inspection set a 15-day deadline for all dogs to be rehomed, however, since there were over 200 dogs to be rescued, many of whom were seriously ill, the inspection extended the deadline until all dogs have been rehomed or at least placed in temporary accommodation. To maximize our efforts, we joined forces in with the Osijek Pobjeda and the Čakovec Prijatelji associations to launch the Adopt Žarkovica Dogs project to ensure medical treatment and a home for all animals. For this purpose, we designed the adopt-zarkovica.eu website where all already rehomed dogs can be found, as well as those who are still in need of a home, and all relevant information on them.
We started the year 2022 without plastic carrier bags and we continued our fight against single-use plastics to protect animals and safeguard the environment.
We welcomed the end of the year 2022 free of fireworks in Zagreb and many other towns and cities, for which we are grateful. We wrote to the Zagreb City Council on several occasions and mentioned numerous downsides to pyrotechnics while suggesting more ethical and environmentally friendly alternatives. We also wrote to Minister Božinović stating that stricter control is necessary to ensure that this commendable law is enforced.
- On two separate occasions, we reported on two Slovenian slaughterhouses (Košaki and Rače) where appalling animal mistreatment was filmed secretly.
- On World Day for Animals in Laboratories we drew attention to millions of animals suffering in unnecessary and extremely cruel and painful experiments.
- We marked the World Day for the End of Speciesism by taking a walk in the prominent part of the Zagreb city center, sharing messages on ending discrimination based on species.
- On World Health Day we explained how a plant-based diet can save the Croatian health system billions of kuna.
- We called for the signing of the Stop Finning – Stop the Trade ECI which aims at the complete ban of shark fin trade in the EU.
- We reported on Anastasia, a Dubrovnik cat, and condemned the removal of her house which had been located outside the Dubrovnik’s Rector’s Palace.
- We organized a protest against the opening of the first octopus farm.
- We featured an article on why it is important to maintain the ban on urban beekeeping and sent a letter raising this issue with the Zagreb City Council.
- We reported on how millions of birds are killed over olives.
- On Mother’s Day, we reminded that love is not exclusively a human feature and that every mother loves her baby.
- We set up a company with limited liability and called for support by shopping at our webshop.
- We kindly requested the Solin City Council to inform us of what had been done with regard to the abandoned dogs in the Mravinci area.
- We made new deals for discounts for our members who paid membership fees for the current year. A full list is available here.
- We engaged in new cooperation and partnership with the following companies: Be at one, Nutmaz, and Bakina riznica ljepote.
- Overview of our new billboards created in 2022.
- Some of our interviews from 2022 can be found here.
- We published two cookbooks: Home-made Dishes the Veggie Way and Veggie Cookbook, as well as the Co-living with Nature brochure, in cooperation with the Večernji list daily newspaper.
Check out new videos on our Youtube channel
We would like to use this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to all the groups, individuals, and our hard-working volunteers, as well as all our supporters who have helped us make this year so successful and filled with activities! We could not have done it without you!