We brought the curtain down on the year 2004 and we will remember it by the growing animal rights movement throughout the world, but also by unseen mass crimes against animals and by recent natural disaster whose human and non-human casualties are still being numbered. While we remember those who are gone with sorrow, we firmly and even more persistently turn to future and to battles that still wait to be fought.
Monster of Pescenica
At the beginning of December 2004, something, when it comes to animals, unusual happened – entire Croatia united and condemned a crime against single animal – one-year old dog. Ostoja Babic, ‘owner’ of the dog, whacked her simultaneously with an iron bar, a pitchfork and an axe. He finally stopped when his neighbors called the police. When a policeman arrived at the scene the only thing he could do was to shoot the terminally injured animal. We are glad that for days after this event, angry citizens expressed their anger over the hideous crime of ‘monster of Pescenica’ as he was called by the media, by sending us tons of e-mails. Ostoja Babic claimed that the dog ‘was no good’ because she did not bark at passers-by but happily wagged her tail.
In order to condemn this crime on December 9 we organized a protest in front of Babic’s home, demanding maximal punishment in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act, that is, a lifelong ban to own any animal for Ostoja Babic. We also started off a petition at our info-stands and at www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr and in only two weeks collected over 2,400 signatures which we handed to the State Attorney of the City of Zagreb.
We’ve noticed that there were no objections of some individuals because demo was held in front of Ostoja Babic’s home, like it happened when we held a demo in front of a building where Vlatka Pokos lives. Is it because this case involves a dog, and not foxes, minks, marabous, lynx or leopard, or is it the fact that fur coats weren’t made of dog fur, or is it simply because Ostoja Babic is not Vlatka Pokos?
Circus Gärtner’s aggression
After protests in Krizevci, Dugo Selo, Sisak, Velika Gorica and Samobor, Gärtner circus and its ‘collection’ of exhausted, frozen and apathetic animals arrived in Karlovac where, on Sept 9 and 11, activists of Animal Friends Croatia supported by other organizations and locals waited.
This time again we’ve witnessed the power of profit which tried to overcome care for animals, but also efforts of activists to educate the public and to talk people out from watching the circus shows. It was really sad to see an elementary school teacher who forced her entire class to go to circus, even though children complained trying to explain, some even cried, to their teacher that they don’t want to watch a show of tortured animals. It is beyond understanding that persons, who are supposed to raise and educate children and teach them compassion to animals, make decisions for them despite their complaints.
Last week again Gärtner circus showed its violent nature towards people. During their stay in Umag where several citizens on their own initiative organized a protest, circus-men got so outraged that one of them attacked and injured one demonstrator. Therefore Gärtner circus got its second criminal charge for attacking citizens. It is obvious that they are severely cruel to their animals if they are so violent to people in places where they perform. So be ready when the circus comes to your town, because only together we can reach our goal of the permanent ban of circuses with performing animals.
Benetton: blind to animal suffering
On 16 December 2004, when entire Croatia rightfully protested against Druzba Adrija agreement, Animal Friends Croatia and Andrew Butler of PETA UK, gathered outside of a Benetton store at 9 Bogoviceva Street in Zagreb, in order to reveal its ignoring of connection between their wool garments and Australian live ship export and ‘mulesing’.
European tour called ‘Benetton: blind to animal suffering’, started off in Milan on December 15, next day moved to Zagreb, and then in Vienna and Travis. At the same time similar protests tour the US.
Blindfolded and carrying a banner ‘United Cruelty of Benetton’, Animal Friends Croatia activists in red coveralls, symbolically showed that when it comes to the treatment of sheep, united colors of Benetton are turning to only one color – bloody red.
Potential Benetton costumers could see the shocking video ‘Australia’s Secret Shame’ which shows the hideous procedure of ‘mulesing’ – a crude mutilation whereby Australian farmers carve flesh from lambs’ backsides with a pair of garden shears and without painkillers as a cheap way to try to reduce flystrike – and live export.
Activists handed out leaflets with disturbing information and asked people to boycott Benetton until it cuts all ties with the horrid lamb and sheep abuse in Australia’s wool industry and asked people not to wear or buy wool garments at all.
Against high price of rabies vaccinations
Animal Friends Croatia and Independent Farmers of Croatia held a press conference on December 17 in Zagreb, and pointed out that the current price of obligatory vaccination against rabies for dogs is unreasonably high and well above the expenses of the vaccination production. It’s really a great sum of money if we consider that only in Zagreb 30,000 dogs are vaccinated each year. We don’t know where this money goes to, but we sure know that it isn’t spent on projects reducing the number of strays, building animal shelters, free neutering and spaying of dogs and cats or similar projects which would bring benefit to the entire community. Animal Friends Croatia sent a request for urgent lowering of prices of obligatory vaccinations to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management.
Croatian pre-holiday black chronicle
During recent pre-holiday and holiday season Croats showed they are a quite cruel nation. ‘Pre-holiday black chronicle’ made by Animal Friends Croatia organization proved it. We sent it to all Croatian media in order to point out cases of animal abuse which happened throughout Croatia in a one month period. Except the most publicized case of Ostoja Babic, December was marked by many other cases of torture and mutilation of dogs and cats, new poisonings of cats, dogs and griffon vultures, shooting of dogs by hunters and other crimes you can read about in the section Black Chronicle on our web site.
Because of all this Animal Friends Croatia once again call people of Croatia and responsible authorities to the urgent change of the current Animal Welfare Act, which should definitely happen this year, in order to stop crimes against animals and activate the legislative system which should impose strict punishments of such deeds. According to news and e-mails we get, the black chronicle continues..
Holidays without violence
With the action we held on Thursday, 23 December 2004, in front of the entrance to the market Dolac in Zagreb, activists of Animal Friends Croatia wanted to warn citizens of Croatia about millions of chopped up turkeys, pigs, chickens, cows and other animals which decorated holiday dinner tables along with symbols of happiness, peace and joy.
Action of handing out of leaflets and samples of cruelty-free food would have gone in peace if mad butchers hadn’t attacked two of our activists and a cameraman of RTL television crew. Police had to intervene and charged butchers for disturbing a peaceful action, and the rest was shown on the RTL news and in traces of bloody prints of butchers’ hands on our banners.
Goldfish hooked on entertainment
In a widespread commercialisation of Christmas animals aren’t tortured and killed just for food, but also for pathetic ‘entertainment’, show cases of presenting animals as live displays in the name of profit and ‘culture’. At the Christmas Fair in Zagreb, Christmas spirit was demonstrated by exhausted young animals exposed to constant noise of loudspeakers, which lied there with no food or water. Only a few wondered why a lamb, a goat, a piglet and a pony weren’t by their caring mothers, but apathetically lie down showing no reactions to touches of those who took photos with them.
The greatest tragedy of the Fair was a stand where visitors could entertain themselves by throwing balls in glasses with live goldfish in them. The award was another goldfish. Fish that died because of this game were replaced with others that were hanging above the stand in plastic bags and were also used as rewards to winners. The fact is that most people do not have nor aquarium nor other supplies needed, so those ‘awards’ soon die suffering. This kind of sick ‘entertainment’ is possible only in a country where people don’t consider fish as animals but only as food or objects of other kinds of tormenting.
Same case of disrespect for fish lives can be seen at the still open exhibition ‘Enigma of the objects’ in Klovicevi dvori in Zagreb. Because of constant exposure to aggressive flashes of colors and light of the screens in front of which goldfish are set as live display, they die of stress. Dead fish are daily replaced with new ones.
Because of exploitation and killing of animals in the name of ‘entertainment’ and ‘culture’, we sent reports to the veterinary inspection, but as always, these kinds of cruel practices and killing of fish for food will die out mostly with reactions and boycott of the individuals.
For animal victims of tsunami
Animal Friends Croatia joined the worldwide action of collecting financial help for companion, domestic and other animal victims of tsunami at our info stands and through our bank account Zagrebacka banka, SWIFT ZABA HR 2X, 2500-01579436. Besides people, many other animal species were struck by disaster and also need help. Activists of local animal protection organizations in damaged areas daily struggle to help sick and hungry animals.
We ask all those who want to help tsunami’s animal victims to make donations on one of the following web sites and also check the most recent updates about the situation in Southeast Asia: Noah’s Wish (www.noahswish.com), IFAW – International Fund For Animal Welfare ili FARM – Farm Animal Reform Movement and World Society for the Protection of Animals (www.wspa-international.org).
Announcements and news
– A lecture with video projection about terrors that circus animals go through will be held on Tuesday, 18 January, in club Mama in Zagreb.
– People of Zagreb can see three good reasons why they should not wear fur on large billboard set in Savska Street.
– We invite you to join us at a protest against fur in Zagreb on Saturday, 12 February, at 11 AM. Protest march will go through the city center.
– Among other news we recommend you to take a look at new books in section Literature, and don’t forget our web page www.vegekit.com, a Croatian version of PETA’s web site which provides much more than ethical and health food guide. This web page is also hosted by Iskon.
– Sign a petition at www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/191724792 and stop bullfighting in Catalonia.
– Once again we inform you that Jenny Gage is opening a vegetarian center on the island of Brac. Everyone interested can contact us for further information.
– The long awaited Croatian edition of the book Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and Holocaust by Charles Patterson will be published by the end of the month.
Did you know that LD50 poisoning test, the most notorious of all tests, is banned in Sweden and the UK for some time? Use only products that are not tested on animals, and find out more on vivisection on our web pages.
Let’s finish off this issue of AnimaList with unselfishness and helping to all those in need. Let’s start this year with good thoughts and the will to create a better world for all inhabitants of this planet.
By your side for the animals