In this special issue of AnimaList, we present an annual overview of our activities and achievements in 2021.
For Croatia without chained dogs
This year, one of our most important campaigns was certainly “For Croatia without chained dogs
“. We asked for an urgent amendment to the existing Animal Protection Act by introducing a total ban on keeping dogs on a chain, which received huge public support
, as well as the support of numerous institutions such as the Croatian Veterinary Chamber
, Association of Cities
, Croatian Community of Counties and many celebrities such as Saša Lozar, who stated that the chained dog is not an anti-theft device
(Croatian Mountain Rescue Service) and firefighters
pointed out that they often witnessed the cruelty of keeping dogs on chains
, and veterinarians pointed out that such dogs often overturned their water bowls, so they are empty most of the time, they do not get regular veterinarian care, and are exposed to dire temperature changes. We believe that the Minister should decide
on this matter, not the cities and municipalities, so we asked the citizens to write to the Government and to the Minister of Agriculture. More than 600 comments were left at the public debate concerning the necessary amendment to the Animal Protection Act, in regard to banning the practice of keeping dogs chained. PETA called on Prime Minister Plenković to support the ban. The campaign was successful; the Ministry said the goal was to stop keeping dogs on a chain
. We could not do this without the support of the association in the Network, as well as your support – together we continue to fight!
Produce sustainably, eat green!
“Produce sustainably, eat green” is the name of our project which encouraged domestic producers to produce and market new vegan products. The winner was the Vegefino brand with its tofu scrambled eggs presented at the 13th ZeGeVege festival. With their vegan kebabs, Vegefino was also among the three finalists of the prestigious International V-label Award in the Positive Impact category. We remind you that from every bought package of vegefino ćevapčić, one kuna goes to our association! The project, otherwise supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, ended with the installation of posters: “Bite by bite for big changes. That’s why I choose vegan products.”
Skip the Zoo
At this time of the pandemic, we reminded everyone that the vaccine will not help animals in zoos come out of isolation. This is a unique opportunity to try to put ourselves in their shoes, which is why we launched the “Skip the Zoo” campaign in collaboration with Spellcaster. As part of the campaign, we published posters with portraits of monkeys and lions behind bars, which leave no one indifferent. We first took away their natural habitat, and then locked them up in small cages where they will spend most of their lives alone, in lifelong isolation. We believe everyone truly knows how wrong and shameful zoos are, so don’t visit zoos.
Animal abandonment is a criminal offense
Encouraged by numerous cases of severe consequences of abandoning animals, we launched a petition demanding that the act of abandoning animals be treated as a criminal offense and sanctioned with imprisonment. In just one week, more than 10,000 citizens signed a petition, saying they were fed up with the inadequate punishment of abandoning animals.
Love is not to be bought
The Animal Protection Network organized a virtual walk through the shelters to promote the adoption of animals as part of the “Love Is Not To Be Bought” campaign. On the occasion of International Homeless Animals Day, we also explained why adoption is a noble and socially responsible behavior. Furthermore, on the eve of holidays we reminded that more than 10,000 animals are abandoned annually in Croatia, and that thousands of dogs and cats are currently waiting for adoption. Throughout the year, we have repeatedly appealed to everyone not to buy, but rather to adopt dogs and cats, as did the current President of the United States, Joe Biden.
Adoption as your greatest life’s work
This year, the legendary singer Zdenka Kovačiček was the face of the campaign “Family on vacation, dog on the street?!”. The posters carried a strong message: “Adoption – your greatest life’s work“. She invited everyone to choose to adopt dogs and cats instead of buying them, and especially referred to the so-called “difficult-to-adopt-dogs” – those of older age, handicapped, black and traumatized.
Castration prevents animal suffering
On the occasion of World Spay Day, we emphasized that over-breeding of dogs and cats is the main cause of animal abandonment. We reminded everyone that uncontrolled animal bredding also transmits many diseases, which was also pointed out by veterinarian Svjetlana Prodanović in an informative conversation. This year, we sent a new educational brochure to all cities and municipalities – “Spaying to reduce the abandonment of dogs and cats.” Our goal is to help reduce the number of abandoned animals, with specific tips in the brochure.
Vaccination and microchipping of dogs is a legal obligation
After we launched a petition four years ago and repeatedly appealed that rabies vaccination be mandatory for a period specified by the vaccine manufacturer’s instructions, and not every year, we welcomed the decision made by the Ministry of Agriculture. On the occasion of World Rabies Day, we put an emphasis on the fact that a large number of dogs have never been vaccinated or microchipped. Read about the legal obligations of dog and cat owners in the new leaflet.
All about the legislation
The earthquake pointed out the problem with Act implementation
A large number of unvaccinated, non-microchipped dogs, as well as unspayed dogs and cats in the areas affected by the earthquake showed the state of (non) implementation of the Animal Protection Act throughout Croatia. We sent a letter to the Veterinary Inspection asking them to organize a tour of the earthquake-affected areas to inspect and check the conditions in which animals are kept in, and asked the Ministry of Agriculture for specific financial and logistical assistance for spaying, microchipping and vaccination of dogs. We called on all residents of Sisak-Moslavina County who have not previously fulfilled their legal obligations to take the opportunity to vaccinate against rabies as soon as possible and microchip their dogs, as well as spay their dogs and cats for free.
Suggestions for regulations
We insisted that the new Regulation on the conditions to be met by animal shelters emphasize openness and transparency to the public and facilitate the establishment of shelters for local communities and associations. In order to protect dogs from the horrible practice of exploitation for fighting, we asked the Ministry of Agriculture to keep the obligation of spaying, socialization and education, and other measures in the Regulation on dangerous dogs for bull terriers and their hybrids from uncontrolled breeding. We expressed our dissatisfaction with the Regulation of operation of hotels for animals and left comments at the public hearing.
Amendment to the Animal Protection Act
We have sent reports to the Ministry of Agriculture requesting the initiation of amendments to the Animal Protection Act. Many articles, including the one related to the ban on keeping dogs on a chain, do not have a misdemeanor provision, which is illogical and makes it impossible to punish the offenders. We left comments at a public hearing where we listed reasoned demands for a complete ban on keeping dogs chained; a complete ban on keeping and having animals perform in circuses; a ban on keeping tigers and other members of the beasts order in the captivity of private persons, as well as prescribing the so-called Positive lists of animals that can be kept as pets. We reminded everyone that there is no obligation to take care of any animal and that those who do not meet the required conditions for animal keeping should be banned from keeping any animals. Towards the end of the year, the Ministry announced that the procedure of amending the Animal Protection Act would begin next year!
Big analysis of the implementation of the Animal Protection Act
We made an analysis of the implementation of the Animal Protection Act in 2020 in Croatia. This is the first thorough and relevant research given that more than 97% of LAUs were included in it. We have invested enormous efforts in encouraging the implementation of legal provisions and cooperation with local communities. See an analysis with more than 20 questions covering 540 cities and municipalities.
Animal Health Act
We left comments at the public hearing on the Animal Health Act. Our proposals relate to microchipping dogs, cats and horses, and an obligation of animal vaccination in order to protect animal health and reduce animal abandonment.
Veganuary breaks new records every year
As part of the Veganuary, which was attended by over 500,000 people last year, we invited everyone to choose veganism through our Vege Challenge. At the end of the year, we reminded that that was the best New Year’s decision and explained why. Join us and invite your friends to participate in Vege Challenge at www.veganopolis.net.
In June, we held the jubilee VegeFair. At the 10th VegeFair, you could buy cosmetics that have not been tested on animals, tasty food, try the finest vegan kebabs, get advice on veganism and animal rights, and many other things. You can check out the photo gallery here.
In early September, everyone was able to enjoy a unique, educational and fun, 13th ZeGeVege Festival of Sustainable Living. In addition to being able to get acquainted with the diverse offer of vegan food, educational books and clothing and footwear made of non-animal materials, the event also offered groceries whose packaging is compostable. Inspirational and dynamic conversations were held with different speakers. ZeGeVege encourages individuals to change themselves as to change the world. Check out the photo gallery.
Instead of calories, let’s count saved lives
Igor Barberić is the author of the slogan and the face of the campaign “Instead of calories, I count saved lives” in which he said he was extremely proud of the fact that in 11 years of exclusively plant-based diet he managed to save the lives of 4.015 animals. He was joined by food bloggers Marie Wasler and Nataša Rajčević, who on the occasion of World MeatOut Day, showed the many different ways vegetable meat can be prepared and told how life without animal meat has made their lives better, as well as their followers’.
Let’s enjoy burgers and ice cream without remorse
On June 5th, we marked the National Veggie Burger Day. These burgers are delicious and, unlike burgers made out of meat, which require killing an animal and use a lot of water and land, are environmentally sustainable. We also reminded everyone that there are more and more vegan ice cream varieties on the market that are just as delicious, and even healthier than those made with dairy. Not only are they cooling us off, but they are cooling our planet as well.
Plant-based milk is conquering the world
We have designed and published a guide to increase the vegan meal offer in restaurants “Plant milk is conquering the world”. We sent it to over 1.500 addresses of cafes, bakeries, patisseries, restaurants. In it, we explained all the benefits of plant milk in terms of health, environmental protection and in stopping climate change. Most importantly, this choice avoids the mass exploitation of animals in the dairy industry. We also organized a workshop on making plant milk, which was available through our Facebook page led by longtime vegan and experienced chef Nikolina Plenar Jeličić. On August 22nd we marked World Plant Milk Day with the generous help of Igor Barberić, Nataša Rajčević and Marie Wasler.
We wished everyone Happy Valentine’s Day and asked them to show love to themselves, their neighbors, animals and the planet by making a compassionate choice on that date. We suggested some ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, as well as gave out recipes that you can read here.
For Easter, we invited citizens to make ham, scrambled eggs, Easter Cake (“pinca”), as well as various other cakes and pastries in a vegan version in order to help animals, the environment, and also their health. We also suggested using wooden eggs for decoration, as well as not buying rabbits and other animals, rather to adopt them if they have the means and desires to care for them.
On Christmas Eve, we once again sent messages of compassion and peace with our redesigned posters featuring Saša the Chicken. We reminded everyone that there are easily available various vegan dishes to make for the holiday table: fish, roast, pasta (”mlinci”), stuffed cabbage rolls (“sarma”), French salad, custard slices, walnut cake, etc.
Veganism, health and sports
- On the occasion of the Croatian Obesity Awareness Day, we reminded everyone that in Croatia every second person over the age of 18 is overweight, and that every third child at the age of eight is obese. We pointed out that research proves that a vegan diet can prevent and treat heart disease, colon and lung cancer, osteoporosis, kidney failure, hypertension, obesity and a number of other diseases.
- On the occasion of World Diabetes Day, we reminded everyone that the vegan diet is effective in the treatment of diabetes.
- Data from a new survey showed that plant-based product such as pea, rice or potato protein are the most appealing to sports nutrition consumers and that they prefer certified products such as the V-label.
- We organized an educational presentation on the benefits of plant proteins, which took place through our Facebook page, and was led by Marko Samardžija and Ivana Martinec.
- Ana Štefulj delighted everyone in Kiev, bringing Croatia victory in the Balkan Marathon Championship, having one of the fastest times in the history of the race. Along with previous successes, Ana also achieved this great result by being on a vegan diet, to which she attributes her achievements.
Climate and ecology
On the occasion of Earth Day on April 22nd, we invited everyone to watch the new documentary “Seaspiracy”, sign up for the Vege Challenge and try out the new menu. It is a frightening fact that raising animals for meat, eggs and milk affects global warming more than all the world’s traffic. On the World Environment Day, we sent a brochure “Food and Ecology” to all MPs with the aim of encouraging concrete efforts to preserve the environment, animals and nature, as well as prevent climate change.
We have joined an initiative called Diet Change Not Climate Change. The aim of this campaign is to encourage as many people as possible to swear to change their diet in order to prevent climate change. We reminded everyone that the catastrophic floods that happened in 2021 in Germany, Belgium, but also in our country, have direct links with climate change. Raising animals for meat, eggs and milk has a devastating effect on the environment and natural resources. We also participated in the Climate March for Survival organized by Fridays For Future Croatia and Extinction Rebellion Zagreb.
Reports to inspections
Regulate the keeping of wildlife animals
We requested a review of the veterinary inspection’s findings, which found that the conditions for keeping animals on the farm of Ivan Gospodnetić in Hvar, known for transporting tigers by ferry past Summer, were “in line with the needs of each species and at a satisfactory level” despite claims by Hvar residents who call the place “Auschwitz of the farms”. We reiterated that it is absurd that the keeping of wildlife and exotic animals is not legally regulated, and we called for the introduction of a Positive List (of animal species to keep as pets).
The practice of shooting abandoned animals
We expressed disgust with the decisions of the Ministry of Agriculture on the shooting of domestic animals on Pag that roam unattended, which is why we requested a revision of these decisions. We have expressed concern because it seems to us that it is becoming a common practice of the state to ‘take care’ of stray neglected and abused animals by killing them, instead of finding them a new home and sanctioning irresponsible owners. We wrote to the Minister of Agriculture and asked her to withdraw the decision on the shooting of domestic animals in the vicinity of Opuzen, and to issue a new one so that the local community would advertise the abandoned animals and give them to the interested parties. We also filed an extensive complaint against Dragan Bezer for abandoning animals and demanded that future irresponsible individuals be punished in time.
The best feel-good story of 2021
In a heap of unfortunate news about the sad fates of animals from the area affected by the earthquake, three pigs and a pregnant cow Šarava were rescued and found a new home in the Farmica shelter in Našice. The rescued cow Šarava soon gave birth to little Borna! The irresistible calf, first born-free in Croatia, charms everyone, and with his cheerful personality delighted us during our visit to Farmica. The adorable big baby has since continuously raised awareness of the cruel practices of the meat and dairy industries and called for a change to a vegan lifestyle.
Finally, a ban on firecrackers
After the ban on firecrackers came into force, we asked citizens who own firecrackers and bandoliers to hand them over to the Ministry of the Internal Relations or return them to stores. On New Year’s Eve, we reminded everyone of the ban, and called on citizens to report every sale and use of banned pyrotechnics to the police. We asked cities and municipalities not to use loud pyrotechnics. Instead, like many European cities, turn to ecological, more effective and economical ways of celebrating.
The inevitable collapse of the fur industry
At the beginning of the year, we announced that adidas was committed to a fur-free future and joined the global Fur-Free Trade program. We continued the good news with announcements that Estonia and Italy have banned the breeding of fur animals, and Israel has even banned the sale of fur. Even one of the most notorious fashion brands, Canada Goose, has finally agreed to stop procuring new fur from hunters. In the end, we were happy to announce that the continuation of the ban on the import of leather and leather products of young seal species for commercial purposes has been confirmed in Croatia.
Experiments on animals
Although animal testing was banned in the European Union eight years ago, as well as the sale of cosmetics that rely on such tests, we have drawn attention to the fact that cosmetic ingredients are still being tested on animals! We reported that more than 10.5 million animals used in experiments in European laboratories suffer the highest levels of pain, and that Croatia is also participating in this. We have joined animal rights organizations across Europe to mark Action Week in protest of cruel Botox animal testing. We invited everyone to watch the short animated film “Save Ralph” and to only buy vegan cosmetics which have not been tested on animals.
- We marked the Ban Live Exports International Awareness Day and warned that Croatia is also involved in this disgusting animal cruelty.
- On the occasion of World Vegetarian Day and World Farm Animals Day, we set up an information stand to encourage people to think about the ethical, environmental, health and other benefits of a compassionate lifestyle and diet.
- On the occasion of the International Day of Animal Rights, we drew attention to the fact that all animals deserve our compassion. By creating a heart shape with our bodies and touching photos of animals, we sent the message: “Let’s have a heart for animals!“
- This year, we marked the World Animal Day at the Dumovec – Shelter for Neglected Animals of the City of Zagreb. We invited everyone to spend some time with abandoned dogs and plenty of good vegan food at the Vege picnic.
- We invited all citizens to join the celebration of World Vegan Day on November 1st. On that occasion, we set up 18 vegan flags in Zagreb and another 39 in Opatija, Makarska, Pula, Samobor, Čakovec and Krapina to remind everyone of compassion and sustainability, which is the main message of the colors of the vegan flag.
- We announced that wildlife and exotic animals will no longer be imported and kept in Italy. We welcomed this decision and appealed to the competent authorities for Croatia to introduce the so-called Positive list of animals.
- There will be no more animals bred in cages in the EU! The European Commission has committed itself to abolish cages in animal husbandry on farms by 2027. This is a huge victory for animals and a big step in our fight to completely stop the exploitation and killing of animals!
- We welcomed the verdict of the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb and Judge Jasna Zoretić Rendulić, which saved the justice and reputation of Croatia and sentenced Ivor Ivanišević to maximum imprisonment for sexually abusing dogs.
- On the occasion of the first reading of the proposal of the new Law on Waste Management in the Parliament, we sent an invitation to the Members of Parliament to support the ban on disposable plastic and light plastic bags. A month later, we happily reported that the Croatian Parliament had passed the law and banned plastic bags. We also advocated for the ban on lightweight disposable plastic bags, which was not accepted. Therefore, we appeal that this be resolved by having to pay for ultra-thin bags, as well as to clearly regulate their use with bylaws.
- In 2021 we celebrated 20 years of our association! Since its founding back in 2001, we have been working hard for a fairer world for all beings. Watch the timeline video and infographic, which reveal how much has changed in favor of animals in that period, but also how much sacrifice and struggle fit took and how much the support of citizens means to us.
On International Anti-Hunting Day, we reminded everyone of the fact that after every hunt there is a tortured, terrified and animal killed in a cowardly way. Photos of a recently killed bear on the island of Krk clearly show what hunting is and that it should be banned.
Although many are appalled by the slaughter of dogs at the Yulin Festival or the killing of dolphins in the Faroe Islands, they do not see the same violence in Croatia during our own slaughter season (“kolinje”). We have emphasized that slaughter is always slaughter, and suffering is always suffering, whether it is a dog, a dolphin, a pig, a human or some other animal’s life at stake.
- We appealed to all candidates in the local elections to include animal protection as part of their political agenda.
- We reminded everyone of the diligent work of the Animal Protection Network, which you can support by donating to the bank account: HR9524020061500072860, via the Keks Pay application and QR code.
- We reacted to the news that on a farm in Slavonia, cows are being exploited to extreme measures. Daily extraction of up to 50 liters of milk from their purulent and bloody udders – although a calf would drink just three to five liters – has nothing to do with nature giving them milk for their children, as well as it gave us milk for our children.
- We donated films for the Ethics curriculum.
- “Our actions are our future” was the slogan of the World Food Day, when we reminded everyone that the choice of food we consume every day affects not only our health but also our survival on the planet.
- We responded to the case of dog attacks and explained why it is good that certain strong breeds and their crossbreeds from uncontrolled breeding must be castrated.
- The horrific sight of a dead dog tied to a chain prompted us to demand more vigorously for a legal ban on keeping dogs chained, as well as for higher penalties for torturing animals.
- At the beginning of Summer, we warned that dogs cannot sweat – they cool themselves by panting, so extreme heat is very dangerous for them. Dogs and cats must always have access to fresh water, so you can leave some water outside where birds and other wildlife animals can get to it, in order to survive harsh Summer conditions.
Videos on our Youtube channel
We would like to thank all the associations, individuals and our hard-working volunteers, as well as all the supporters who helped us make this year so successful and full of activities! We couldn’t do it without you!