We can now show a sample of the many photographs which were taken in Racha by campaigners last Sunday, the 24th August.
They show many of the dogs which would have been killed by the hunters, and also a photograph of a dead cat which was allegedly killed by the residents of Racha.
The President of Animal Rights/Welfare organisation “Help Animals” has now written to the authorities in Serbia and also to the primary Editor of television station TV B92 .
At the present time, things are steady in Racha, but campaigners have concerns that despite the action to ban the animal killings last Sunday, the same animals could once again be in danger as Racha citizens could kill any stray animals that they see.
This gives call once again to declare that a No Kill, sterilisation, vaccination and identification programme is undertaken on all stray animals throughout Serbia, not only Racha.
On 25th August, SAV submitted a five page document to both Mr.Sasha Dragin – Minister of Agriculture, Serbia; and to Mr.Zoran Micovic -Director of Veterinary Department of Serbia, giving a very valid response that No Kill sterilisation programmes are the way forward for Serbia if they, serbia, ever wish to see any long term reduction in stray animal numbers in the future.
Some of the main points of the SAV letter sent to Mr.Sasha Dragin and to Mr.Zoran Micovic are repeated as follows:
“The killing of all the animals in any one region, be it a town, village etc, such as Racha, will always simply create a void (free open space) in that town or village which will suddenly become appealing to all types of animals, be they wild or domestic, currently existing outside of that town or village. This void in the area now simply acts as a magnet to these ‘peripheral’ existing animals, enticing and encouraging them into the town or village with the hope of finding more food than they currently exist on, with the additional security of not coming under attack (predation) from the other animals in the area – ie. those which have now been killed by the hunters under the current system; it is a ‘win win’ situation for these animals.
The situation above, the magnet and open invitation to peripheral area animals to now enter into the town or village due to the removal of the pre-existing resident animals, also has additional benefits to these new ‘migrants’ into the towns that those same animals can immediately become ‘Alpha’ dominant males, and enter into reproductive cycles with females of the species which have also been encouraged into the area by lack of predators and the possibility of more food. In a very short period, a matter of weeks, new young, virile offspring will be produced on the streets due to this mis-calculated method of animal control. These offspring, once mature, will very rapidly become replacement animals for those which were originally targeted in this mass extermination idea. In no time at all, the towns and or villages will end up with MORE animals on their streets than they had when the original mass cull was undertaken. This is not long term effective animal number management, it is a very bad, simplistic approach to an animal number control problems, numbers which will simply increase over time rather than be reduced. It cannot be put any simpler than that !
It is also suggested that the reason for the mass killings by the hunters is to remove and eradicate any carrier animals that may be incubating diseases such as Rabies. The concerns of local people can be understood, but again, this mass kill is not the end of the matter with regard disease control. But with new migrant animals as detailed above venturing into the town or village from the surrounding areas (suburbs), the situation for the mass transmission (spreading) of animal diseases into a disease-free region until then/now is a very strong possibility. Disease has no barriers, but under the mass extermination policy of the hunters, such as in Racha, animals which may (unlikely) be carrying disease and already living in the town, are exterminated and then replaced by the other migrant animals entering the town, which may possibly be carrying disease, just possibly. This Racha hunters mass killing and extermination policy does nothing except to encourage new diseases into areas which may until the killings, be free of a particular disease. Mass killing of animals is NO SOLUTION to preventing animal disease, it only helps to spread it further, and more efficiently – it cannot be put simpler than that.
So, in summary, the mass killing of animals in any one area just increases the risk and potential of more diseases coming back into that area by the movement of migrant animals into the (killing) area from the outside”.
Owned Dog: simply a dog that someone states is their property or claims a right over – a ‘That’s my dog’ type thing. But this does not mean that the animal is responsibly owned; it can range from ‘loose’ ownership which often involves irregular feeding and free running of the town / village streets, the very ‘pest’ animal which those in the local population wish to see destroyed, right through to a well cared for, regularly fed, registered and confined animal which cannot roam the streets of the town or village. Often, these roaming ‘pests’ are actually owned by people, but those who care very little about the welfare of the animal or how many additional animals their un-sterilised ‘pet’ will be putting onto the streets over a period of years”.
“Points to be considered to reduce animal numbers and to also improve animal welfare conditions include:
Responsible animal ownership places responsibility on owners to provide sufficient care for their animals, including food, water, health care and social interaction necessary to maintain an acceptable level of health and well-being for the animal. Owners also have a responsibility to minimise the potential risk their dog may pose to the general public or to other animals; ie. the spreading of both animal numbers through offspring and the spread of animal borne diseases.. In some countries this is a legal requirement.
Where are the roaming dogs exactly coming from ? – are they roaming dogs or are they actually Owned dogs ? – what are the sources of these dogs and why do these sources exists ?
- Any management strategy needs to aim to reduce the future unwanted roaming population by targeting the primary sources and undertaking No Kill sterilisation management.
What are the main welfare issues faced by these dogs ?
Who has responsibility for the control of the roaming dog population ? – this normally falls in the remit of the Agriculture department, with local authorities undertaking activities at a local level. NGO’s can help in providing an element of population management, but they MUST BE SUPPORTED by a responsible authority or government in order for anything to work.
Public pressure can be a big factor in dog control and management. It is necessary to listen to the concerns and opinions of local communities and local authorities in order to ensure any control policies work. It is also necessary to educate the population about the advantages of No kill programmes. Including sterilisation and the limitations of disease spread.
In an ideal situation it will be the responsibility of the government authority to gather stakeholders for a consultation / committee. As this will not happen in Serbia, NGO’s can help to create a working group and feed back information / findings to the relevant authorities”.
With the host of evidence, complaints and positive suggestions for undertaking a No Kill programme, campaigners hope that the new Veterinary Director of Serbia, Mr. Micovic, will agree with our No kill proposals and introduce legislation and a national programme across Serbia to implement same and humanely reduce stray animal numbers for the future.
Hunters killing animals for fun in just a few locations is NOT an effective stray animal number management strategy; No Kill Sterilisation, Vaccination, Microchipping and Identification IS.
We wait with interest to see which way the authorities move in.