02/21/13 Animals as Political Questions!

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Today's discussion in Croatian Parliament about changes to the Animal Protection Act

- New changes to the Animal Protection Act are degradation of animal protection in relation to the existing Animal Protection Act; all proposals are rejected

In today's session of the Croatian Parliament, MPs have urgently discussed the proposition of Law on Amendments of Animal Protection Act with final preposition of the law.

Most of the remarks from MPs referred to economic questions related to actual affairs regarding poison in milk and horse meat in products, as well as other forms of animal exploitation that weren't connected with the issue of the Croatian Parliament, regarding the Animal Protection Act.

MP Dunja Spoljar told the media about the beagle affair in 2005 which was connected with dog experiments at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and how no one has claimed responsibility for this incident. She stated that the Ethic Committee isn't working although it is prescribed by the law while in laboratories mostly secret experiments are still done and countless animals suffer, and euphemisms are used to describe what really happens in experiments. She stated that animal trials are not the only way to development science. She also considered positive changes to the Act that are better prescribed procedures for conducting animal experiments and assessment needs of the Ethical Committee, as well as the application of the 3R model but it is expected to have strict control of applications.

MP Mirela Holy stated that she's disappointed with proposals to amend the law and considered it to be degradation in regard to the existing Law, especially regarding advanced regulations connected with animal protection in the latest Criminal Law. She stated that she agrees with Animal Friends that the Law is speciest and that the Ministry didn't accept a series of argumented propositions from Animal Friends. Only positive things in Law changes are accepted like directives referring to the prohibition of importing skin and fur from seals, dogs, cats and other wild caught animals, as well as the addition of the term "domestic animal" in order to prevent attempts of manipulation in circus shows with animals that are not domestic in Croatia.

She cited that the Ministry of Agriculture missed to act in favor of Article 2 Directive 63/2010/EU that provides the possibility for EU countries by legislation to assure greater protection of animals in that directive, referring to animal usage in experiments. She stated it is devestating that the changes to the Law have missed out so far on the prohibition of animal experiments for research and development of chemicals for cleansers and disinfection of items for general use, drugs and general radiation effects, which experiments are now legalized for that purpose. Therefore she called the Ministry of Agriculture to reconsider the amendment that would keep the existing ban on animal experiments, as defined by the still valid law. She also commented on the legalization of ritual slaughters and crushing whole living animals in the production of eggs and said she considers it to be unnecessary cruelty that cannot be justified with religious or economical reasons. Later she added how people justify immoral and non-ethical procedures toward animals and that it is necessary to switch to more a concious diet as last front of the animal movement, although she's scared we are too far away from it. She advised her colleagues to read Animal Liberation by Peter Singer.

Mirela Holy and Branko Vuksic made their comment based on the fact that the Ministry didn't ban "traditional bull competitions" while alterating the law. "Bull competitions" are held in Vrbovec, where it has been a "tradition" for two years and the law makers do not know what is tradition or the culture if they call it "cultural tradition".

Branko Vuksic talked about cows who live their whole lives tied in the barn getting sick, about organizing fighting of the roosters and dog fights, neglect and abandonment of animals and not fining of the violators of the law, despite the fines defined by the law. He also stated that these alterations to the law will be like a knife in the back for everyone standing up for animals.

The Minister of Agriculture, Tihomir Jakovina, praised the flawless work of veterinarians, veterinary inspection and all other segments of the Ministry. He critized Animal Friends stating that it doesn't show concern for animals but only states negativitsm. As an example he quoted last year's affair concerning the killing of healthy dogs and cats in shelters and foster homes by the veterinary inspection.

Amandments to the changes of the law were given by Mirela Holy and Club of HNS representatives, while the voting is expected tomorrow.

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