There are times when a man feels good, high on positive energy and filled with pleasure about achievements that are the result of hard work, persistence and absolute dedication. Everything seems possible and worth while, and that’s exactly how we feel in this ‘historical’ month for our organization and for animals of Croatia.
Animal Friends Days
This year again we organized Animal Friends Days in order to mark important international days, to call people to choose vegetarianism as their lifestyle and to get them familiar with the importance of animal rights and protection. During the four-day events we handed out several thousands of leaflets, hundreds of vegan food samples, gathered over a thousand of signatures for our petitions, and hundreds of our fellow citizens were interested in getting more information on the work of our organization and on animal rights. All four days we were honored with the company of British activist Anne Ashley, who is a veteran in animal rights movement, and she gladly shared with us her 20-year experience in activism. Let’s go in chronological order.
World Vegetarian Day
World Vegetarian Day, 01 October 2004, was marked with the whole day long info stand set in front of Dubrovnik Hotel in Zagreb. Appropriate tasting of various vegan food attracted many passers-by who crowded around our stand. It also attracted media which, besides the events marking the World Vegetarian Day, showed great interest in Anne Ashley’s experiences.
Later that day in multimedia club Mama, Anne held an impressive and passionate lecture on activism in the UK. The lecture was combined with a projection of a film about Covance laboratory in the UK where experiments on beagles are conducted and about a demo that was held in front of that lab. It was followed with a projection of the newest film of ALF (www.animalliberationfront.com). Anne also answered many questions and entire lecture was surrounded with great atmosphere and encouraged us for further activist work for the animals.
World Farm Animals Day
A day later, at the same time and in the same place, in the cooperation with FARM organization (www.farmusa.org) we marked the World Farm Animals Day. Again there was crowd around our stand, but this time over packages of soy steaks with recipes and samples of tasty plant derived milk that were handed out by our hard-working activists. The importance of marking this day can be clearly seen by the horrid number of over 50 billion farm animals that are slaughtered every year for human consumption worldwide.
World Day of Laboratory Animals
On Sunday, in Maksimir Park, where City Department for Agriculture and Forestry organized events marking the World Animal Protection Day, we highlighted the suffering of animals in tens of thousands laboratories around the world. Many visitors came by and got information through info panels and video projections showing torture and abuse of laboratory animals. Again we handed out many leaflets and very popular printed version of black and white lists of producers that do (not) test their products on animals.
World Animal Protection Day
This year we marked it under the slogan ‘Ban modern slavery’. On Ban Jelacic Square we had a performance with seven activists, wearing red jumpsuits, chained, with mouth sealed with insulating tape and holding photos of captive animals, who walked across the main city square for two hour. After the performance we sent a message through the media to all the people of Croatia about the importance of protecting all animals. With this action Animal Friends Croatia wanted to direct the attention not only to rights and protection of companion animals, but also to billions of animals that are tortured and slaughtered every second far from the public eye.
With the marking of Animal Friends Days we ended our project concerning education of public on great problems of irresponsible behavior, abandonment and spaying/neutering of companion animals. We are going to continue with education in order to point that problems should be solved by preventing causes, and not just dealing with consequences.
Finally, we want to thank all activists who did a good work and with responsibility and dedication helped with the organization of info stands, performances, lectures and everything else and made it possible to reveal everyday suffering of billions of animals.
The cruelest circus in Croatia!
Probably the cruelest and the most primitive circus so far came to Croatia a few weeks ago. We first met those circus-men of Austrian circus Gärtner on October 8th in Krizevci when over 30 activists and compassionate townsmen of Krizevci protested there. This circus brings along over 40 species of enslaved animals. With banners in Croatian, English and German language, persistent chanting, megaphone and leaflets, activists tried to drag attention to the suffering that circus animals go through during training, living in tiny cages and being constantly on the road. Circus employees tried to chase away demonstrators with insults and swearing and even threw stones at us. They turned on their loudspeakers, what they did without official approval, but they couldn’t silence us. Between two protests we showed video projections about captive animals in circuses and in zoos, courtesy of Captive Animals Protection Society (www.captiveanimals.org).
Five days later the circus moved to Dugo Selo, and so did our demos. This time even the police had to intervene because after the first demo the circus owner physically attacked one of our female activists. He was reported to police but it didn’t stop him from shouting insults during the second demo. He said that women should be also beaten if they disobey, so we can figure out ourselves how he treats the animals.
When circus came to Sisak it was again facing our noisy and successful demonstrations, and once again we weren’t discouraged by insults and threats of Gärtner circus employees. According to the media, this circus is allegedly involved in a homicide, so we can only imagine what they are capable of when it comes to circus animals. For that reason we sent a report to the Veterinary inspection and we’ll continue to protest, and ask everybody to join us in fighting against cruelty and let us know if circus with performing animals comes to their town. We hope that our common fight will result with the ban of circuses with performing animals, as it is in many cities and countries around the world.
Animal Welfare in Croatian parliament!
13 October 2004 will probably earn a place in the history books of the animal rights movement in Croatia. The first talking point at the daily parliamentary session was Animal Welfare Bill made by Animal Friends Croatia organization and issued in Parliament by the president of the Liberal Party, Ivo Banac, PhD.
Considering that opinion of the Government on this matter was that our bill shouldn’t even get to parliament, we are very happy that in the end there was a two-hour lively debate on animal welfare. Even though our bill didn’t pass, it got support of three left-wing parties and many other parliamentarians, but the most important thing is that everyone realized that existing Animal Welfare Act must be changed.
Fact that the Government’s explanation why it didn’t support our bill was written in 6 pages, which is an absolute record when it comes to Government’s answers to proposals of the Opposition parties, that the Opposition mostly supported it and seriously questioned the quality of existing Animal Welfare Act, prove that our Animal Welfare Bill is taken very seriously at all levels.
Animal Friends Croatia, as an organization that fights for rights of all animals, fights for a Croatia with modern animal shelters where stray dogs wouldn’t be killed at all, and where all animal species would have their rights – animals that we daily meet in our streets, and ones that live their lives far away from the public eye.
We are disappointed with poor interest of media on this important event for animals of Croatia, but the campaign for the change of the existing Animal Welfare Act continues and we believe that it will be modified next year.
We remind you that our organization worked on the Animal Welfare Bill for 18 months and we made it in compliance with the modern laws of the western countries of the EU and following legislative changes in other countries of the world. Entire Animal Welfare Bill can be read at our web page www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/zakon.
McDonald’s reaped the noisiest protest so far!
It seems that three activists who took part in Animal Rights Congress in Vienna (Sept. 17-19, 2004) learned their lesson well, because less than a month later we organized as attractive and as noisy protest march in Zagreb, that, except in numbers, wasn’t any less impressive. Of course, this time again our target was the oldest and the biggest fast food chain – McDonald’s.
On 16 October 2004 over 60 activists and citizens loudly protested in streets of Zagreb on the World Anti-McDonald’s day which coincides with the World Food Day. The protest march with a megaphone, whistles, hundreds of Super Size Me balloons and forty banners noisily started off at noon in front of the Croatian National Theatre. It proceeded along Frankopanska Street, Ilica, Ban Jelacic Square and Jurisiceva Street and stopped in front of the first McDonald’s restaurant in Croatia.
Passers-by, who aren’t used to this way of protesting for animal rights, turned their heads towards the loud march that chanted ‘McDonalds sows death!’, ‘McDonald’s stands for illness, McDonald’s stands for death!’, and alike.
With this protest we reminded the public of crimes over animals, huge ecological damages, exploitation of children and workers, manipulation of children, serving of unhealthy food and support of world hunger that are directly connected with the McDonald’s company. The protest against this multinational company was held in front of all others McDonald’s restaurants in Zagreb and across Croatia.
Day earlier, in a crowded Student Center cinema Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me (www.supersizeme.com) was premiered. The movie is really great and we highly recommend it.
Photos from the greatest and nosiest protest against McDonald’s so far in Croatia already toured the Net, and we thank everybody who came to the protest and we hope the next time there will be even more of us.
🙂 At the Zagreb Film Festival, which is a festival for newcomers, Animal Friends Croatia participated with an exhibition, a short presentation of our organization, a video projection and an impressive performance by Robert Franciszty: ‘GMO- Food for the Hungry and the Poor 2’ combined with music arranged by Igor Bogdanic.
🙂 We have a new branch office in Krizevci and it has already started with activities!
🙂 In other countries as well there are more and more organizations and compassionate people who decided to spend some time protecting animals. We present you a Romanian organization ‘Pro Animals’ situated in Tg-Jiu. Read more about them and their activities on the web page www.proanimals.ro.
🙂 Last month we held several lectures, in Student Dorm Marija Jembrisak, in Krizevci high school, and lecture in English language in 15th high school in Zagreb where we also showed films Meet Your Meat, Inside Biosearch and Huntingdon Life Sciences.
🙂 In Karlovac in the Youth Library we organized a promotion of Bernard Jan’s book Look For Me Under the Rainbow. On that occasion we spoke about the problem of fur industry in Croatia and announced the publication of a revolutionary book by Charles Patterson: Eternal Treblinka – Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust.
🙂 On Saturday, 20 November 2004, great demo against fur industry will take place in Vienna. It will start at Wesbahnhof, Europaplatz 1 at 1 PM, and will end around 3:30PM at Stephansplatz. For further information you can visit web site www.vgt.at.
🙂 Our young activists are working on our new, fourth, web page on animal rights issues. This page is focused on children and teenagers and it will be based on PETA’s web site www.petakis.com.
In the end we want to thank everybody who posts news of our activities on their web pages and web portals and that way spread a word about animal rights. We also thank all individuals who help us and animals in any way. Contact us and share your proposals, advices and critiques because together we can be much more efficient. For farewell a though of Elie Wiesel for you: ‘Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.’
Always for the animals,