England: Dogs Mouth !

England

 

dogs mouth

From the Dogs Mouth – 13/11/14

 

Hi all;

Well I think it best to simply say that the Nani situation at present is ongoing.  She is alive and is still held by the hunters.  We hope that this week may see some changes, but this does not mean that she will be freed !

As a Brit myself, living in England; a nation already in the EU, I know the whole subject of the EU and EU membership (accession) is a very major political football at present here.  Maybe the words ‘hot potato’ would be better !

It is not for me to say here what way I think the UK should go – do we get out of the EU club or do we stay in long term future ? – instead I will simply attempt to give a very brief overview on the current EU situation for all our non-EU friends and also for some EU citizens who may get to know more than they do already.

I will touch on how the membership of future states such as Serbia should go; what is required of them, etc, etc.  By the end I think you will have views one way or the other about the direction of the EU, and if it is good or bad. Has the common market that was for just a handful of nations now undergone a metamorphosis into a vast, uncontrollable being ?

So here we go; a few basics about the EU:

EU AW LOGO

What initially started as a ‘common market’ for just 5 or 6 Western European nations, the EU has now grown to a group currently comprising 28 member nations.

http://europa.eu/about-eu/countries/member-countries/

http://europa.eu/about-eu/countries/index_en.htm

Joining the ‘EU Club’

Becoming a member of the EU is a complex procedure which does not happen overnight. Once an applicant country meets the conditions for membership, it must implement EU rules and regulations in all areas.

Any country that satisfies the conditions for membership can apply. These conditions are known as the ‘Copenhagen criteria’ and include a free-market economy, a stable democracy and the rule of law, and the acceptance of all EU legislation, including of the euro.

A country wishing to join the EU submits a membership application to the Council, which asks the Commission to assess the applicant’s ability to meet the Copenhagen criteria. If the Commission’s opinion is positive, the Council must then agree upon a negotiating mandate. Negotiations are then formally opened on a subject-by-subject basis.

Due to the huge volume of EU rules and regulations each candidate country must adopt as national law, the negotiations take time to complete. The candidates are supported financially, administratively and technically during this pre-accession period.

The EU will continue to grow as an increasing number of countries express interest in membership. These countries can be divided into candidate countries and potential candidate countries. The former are in the process of ‘transposing’ (or integrating) EU legislation into national law, while potential candidate countries do not yet fulfill the requirements for EU membership.

Current candidate countries for membership include

http://europa.eu/about-eu/countries/on-the-road-to-eu-membership/index_en.htm

Iceland

Montenegro

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Serbia

Turkey.

You can read more about the membership status for each of the above by clicking on the link above and the following the ‘read more’ prompts.

Each member state of the EU is represented by MEP’s, or ‘Members of the European Parliamen’t, to give them the full title.  The number of MEP’s that any state has is complex, but depends on issues like the number of a nations population; geographical size etc.  MEP numbers for every nation vary – for example, the number in France are not the same as in the Netherlands – France is bigger and has more geographical regions to be represented.

You can see from the following link a map of all the current member states in the EU.

http://europa.eu/about-eu/countries/index_en.htm

By using the following link you can select any specific nation that is currently in the EU.  Then …….

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html

…. If you click on any nation of choice, you will then see a full list of all the MEP’s which represent that particular country at the EU Parliament.

Directly elected by EU voters every 5 years, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) represent the people. Parliament is one of the EU’s main law-making institutions, along with the Council of the European Union (‘the Council’).

The European Parliament has three main roles:

  • debating and passing European laws, with the Council

  • scrutinising other EU institutions, particularly the Commission, to make sure they are working democratically

  • debating and adopting the EU’s budget, with the Council.

Their Locations:

The European Parliament has three places of work – Brussels (Belgium), Luxembourg and Strasbourg (France).

Luxembourg is home to the administrative offices (the ‘General Secretariat’).

Meetings of the whole Parliament (‘plenary sessions’) take place in Strasbourg and in Brussels. Committee meetings are also held in Brussels.

Further information can be found at  http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-parliament/index_en.htm

Passing European Laws

In many areas, such as consumer protection and the environment, Parliament works together with the Council (representing national governments) to decide on the content of EU laws and officially adopt them.

This process is called “Ordinary legislative procedure” (ex “co-decision”).

Under the Lisbon Treaty, the range of policies covered by the new ordinary legislative procedure has increased, giving Parliament more power to influence the content of laws in areas including agriculture, energy policy, immigration and EU funds.

Parliament must also give its permission for other important decisions, such as allowing new countries to join the EU.

Directives and Regulations

The two main ‘rules’ of EU legislation.

A directive is a legal act of the European Union,[1] which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result. It can be distinguished from regulations which are self-executing and do not require any implementing measures.

Directives normally leave member states with a certain amount of leeway as to the exact rules to be adopted. Directives can be adopted by means of a variety of legislative procedures depending on their subject matter.

The following is a list of EU Directives:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_Union_directives

A regulation is a legal act of the European Union[1] that becomes immediately enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously.

Regulations can be distinguished from directives which, at least in principle, need to be transposed into national law. Regulations can be adopted by means of a variety of legislative procedures depending on their subject matter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_(European_Union)

For example, Regulation 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport (and related operations) should automatically be enforced by all member states as soon as it is created.  But unfortunately; some nations enforce the rules much more stringently than others.

The Regulation 1/2005 details the maximum journey times for each farm animal species; it defines space allowances for animals, as well as a host of other issues such as the construction and operation of transporter vehicles.  Just from my own live transport investigative work over the last 25 or so years, I know that the regulations are often breached in different member states.  Like anything, a law is only as good as the people that enforce it.  Turn a blind eye to the issue, and the rules are broken !

The European ‘Commissions’

The European Commission (EC) is the executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the treaties and day-to-day management of the EU.

Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, pledging to respect the EU Treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate.

The Commission operates as a cabinet government, with 28 members of the Commission (informally known as “commissioners”). There is one member per member state, though members are bound to represent the interests of the EU as a whole rather than their home state.

One of the 28 is the Commission President (currently Jean-Claude Juncker) proposed by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament. The Council then appoints the other 27 members of the Commission in agreement with the nominated President, and then the 28 members as a single body are subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.

The first Juncker Commission took office in late 2014.

Within the EU, animal welfare issues fall within the  ‘Health and Consumers DG’ – or Directorate General.

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/index_en.htm

The Commissions objective with regard animals is “to protect and raise the health status and condition of animals in the Community, in particular food-producing animals, whilst permitting intra-Community trade and imports of animals and animal products in accordance with the appropriate health standards and international obligations”.

I hope this gives people an insight into the very complex structure of the U and how it is constructed.  It is not simple !

Personal Concerns

I write this as the founder of SAV and with some experience with Serbia and how the nation operates.  Much more can be told by Slavica, Vesna, Danica and others who are doing their very best for Serbian animal welfare.

Serbia is currently described as a EU ‘candidate country’.  A candidate country is supposedly currently in the process of ‘transposing’ (or integrating) EU legislation into national law.

Whilst there is no current legislation in the EU regarding specifically the welfare of stray dogs and cats; and boy have we tried to get it enough times in recent years !; this means to a degree that Serbia has nothing to work to with regard this particular issue on becoming an EEU member state.  The big difference anyway; between people say in England and people in Serbia, is that in England, most citizens automatically have their pet sterilised when they first acquire it.  By doing this it automatically helps to then keep dog and cat animal numbers to a level which is largely controllable.  Sterilised animals don’t produce yet more baby animals which nobody wants.  Yes there are shelters in the UK which have dogs and cats needing homes; but there are not towns and cities across the land which are full of stray animals.  This shows that really, sterilisation of animals at an early age helps to keep numbers lower in the long term.

In my experience, sterilisation is not generally the ‘norm’ with owned pets in Serbia.  As a result; ‘owned’ (animals with homes), but also largely un-sterilsed pet animals are often turned out onto the streets each day by their owners; where they simply meet up with free roaming and very un-sterilised stray / street animals.  They all have a good time during the day, and hey bingo; it ends up with yet more stray animals being born to yet another life on the streets.  You only have to look at the pyramids produced by our friends at SpayUSA below to get an idea of how many extra animals are ‘produced’ over a lifetime by just one un-sterilsed pair of animals.

Take a look !


Dogs_Multiply_Pyramid-1
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What do the government and local Serbian authorities do in their efforts to control the ‘problem’ of to many animals ? – they simply think that by rounding up and killing animals in pathetic so-called ‘shelters’ (actually providing anything but shelter) is the one and only answer to the situation.  It is not.  For many years we have seen welfare groups from EU nations going to Serbia and undertaking free sterilisations for many stray / street animals in an attempt to gradually reduce stray / street animal numbers.  These same animals are then subsequently all fitted with an easily identifiable tag (usually a red button ear tag) to tell the shinters, or dog catchers of an authority, that these animals have actually been sterilised, will not produce and more offspring; and as such they should be LEFT ALONE.

Shinter 1

But what do the shinters do ? – they ignore the obvious ear tags, still round up the animals; haul them off to the local pound where they are kept in the most disgusting conditions until they are killed.

What good is this to EU welfare groups who travel to Serbia in an attempt to part rectify a problem of stray animal numbers ? – it is not any good when you are up against authorities who adopt this mentality thinking; for animal welfare groups investing both time and money in an attempt to part rectify an issue, it is nothing but an all round waste of their resources.

As for the Serbian regional authorities; they are usually paid a kind of ‘quota payment’ by government in relation to the numbers of animals they kill to ‘resolve’ the stray problem.  The more they capture and kill, the more money comes their way from Serbian taxpayers.  The capturing and killing of stray / street animals is a very big and profitable ‘business’ for those who control it.  The rule of thumb seems to be; forget any of your EU tagged animals; if you can catch it; bring it into the pound and kill it, then you are providing a ‘service to the nation’ by removing animals from the streets; for which you will be very well financially rewarded.  Authorities can wrongly inform their citizens that are undertaking the necessary job of removing strays from the streets; whilst the government rewards them for doing this – thereby encouraging more of a kill frenzy all the time.

At the same time authorities are getting their money for the months kill totals; round the corner, un-sterilsed strays are meeting up with ‘owned’ but un-sterilised pet animals to produce yet more newborns which can grow up as street animals; only eventually to be rounded up and killed in the constant authority cycle – thus bringing in yet more money to the people who control this authority kill policy / mentality; the people who are allegedly ‘doing their bit for the nation’ by attempting to (very wrongly) control stray animal numbers.  A kill policy is not a control policy; quite the opposite.

By killing off as many strays in their region as they can with the full support financially from national government, stray numbers may be seen to reduce for say a week or so.  But killing animals simply creates a void in the area into which animals from outside are even more attracted.  There is maybe the prospect of getting more food in another place; they can reproduce and make even more baby dogs and cats; and also; something which the authorities seem to overlook; the biosecurity issue.  Strays coming into a new area may bring with them sickness and disease which has not been experienced with the now dead strays that once lived there.

Have we not told the UK government about this and their policy of killing badgers ? – areas free of Bovine TB are suddenly found to have it because of the badger killings, badgers have up-rooted and moved off into new areas; taking the disease with them to an area which up until them was disease free !

Sorry, but this attitude and approach as we see in Serbia by the authorities of simply killing everything (for financial reward) does not work and will never work. 

Instead, regional authorities should be firstly undertaking an education of its citizens to stress the importance of having their own (owned) pet animal sterilised.  Instead of the never ending amounts of tax payers money going into continually killing stray animals in areas throughout the country; authorities across the country should instead be investing all or most of this money into both education programmes and also, and more importantly; cheap or free sterilisation programmes for owned pet animals and also stray animals.  If money can be put into the sterilisation of stray / street animals in the region rthe rthan simply owned pets, then better still !  an all round ‘win-win’ situation for animal owners and also for the long term gradual reduction of stray / street animals.

But unfortunately, NOT a strategy / policy that keeps the finances rolling into the pockets of the few who run this current policies of killing everything.  A gradual reduction in the number of animals is NOT what they want; far from it.  Instead, they want for a never ending supply of stray animals which they can fill their pounds with; then kill and thus be paid for by the government for keeping ‘the stray animals issue under control’.  Non sterilised animals produce yet more new animals; and more new animals can then be rounded up and killed to bring yet more money into the authority purse.  This is the one way blinkered view of Serbian regional authorities !

This ‘authority’ approach certainly never reduces stray animal numbers; it only makes the corrupt and well lined pockets of those who run these kind of ‘control programmes’ fatter on a daily basis.  I am sure they all look forward to the day each month when they are provided with a cheque for their monthly kill total from the national government.

For the last 10 years I and many others have lost count at the number of times we have tried to state this way of incorrect thinking to Serbian authorities.  Where has it got us ? – nowhere; the ‘corruption cycle’ of making money from the number of animals killed each month simply goes on and on; and this is especially annoying to people such as ourselves, who care about animal welfare and can see from our side of the fence a valid and long term strategy to gradual animal numbers reduction using a NO KILL policy.  Sterilisation yes, Kill no.  Killing is not the answer; but in the Serbian authority case; it provides some with a lot more money to feast on from the taxpayer; so that my friends is the way it has been, and probably will continue to be; regardless of Serbian EU membership or not.

How do you put it ? – something like “Serbian corruption rules ok” !!!

And one more thing; we have for many weeks been covering the issue of Nani deer on this site.

As I have said above, in “Joining the ‘EU club’” – Becoming a member of the EU is a complex procedure which does not happen overnight. Once an applicant country meets the conditions for membership, it must implement EU rules and regulations in all areas.  Any country that satisfies the conditions for membership can apply. These conditions are known as the ‘Copenhagen criteria’ and include a free-market economy, a stable democracy and the rule of law, and the acceptance of all EU legislation, including of the euro.

5

As you can see in many of the posts associated with ‘Nani’ deer on the SAV site; the Serbian Minister of Agriculture, who should have acted and prosecuted with regard Nani a few months ago; still does absolutely nothing !

So much for the ‘rule of law’ being enforced by an EU candidate country when the government Minister cannot even abide by the rules and regulations of her own country.

Finally, in my home Borough in England; the ‘Borough’ being the local regional authority of government, we have this very week seen the 500th dog microchipped for free in the borough.  Free to dog owners but funded by taxpayers -but progressive animal welfare – and I do NOT  have any problem with my tax going into this kind of policy.

Here is a copy of the local newspaper article on the subject.

500th free chip_NEW

The borough has been awarded the RSPCA Animal Welfare Footprint Gold Award for its work with stray dogs and animal welfare – both issues to be proud of.

Note also that in 2016 it is going to be a legal requirement that all dog owners have their pets microchipped.  This is simply that any lost dog can then be returned to its owner rather than having to go to a local kennel and being put up for adoption.

There are no; or sometimes very few dogs wandering the streets of my borough.  If they do, they are rounded up, identified by their microchip and returned to their owner.  If not currently chipped, they go to the local kennel and are put up for rehoming – where they are chipped before going to their new home.

Why cant this type of attitude and approach to animal welfare be adopted nationally by the Serbian government ? – As said previously; why does the government not invest the money given to dog catchers / killers into providing a reduced or free service re chipping and sterilisation to the good citizens of Serbia who pay taxes into what appears currently to be a corrupt, bottomless pit of animal abuse and suffering.

Is this the future for the EU and new EU member states ? – who has it right and who has it wrong ?

The decision friends can be weighed up and decided on by you.  The Serbian government will not listen to you anyway, but that does not stop you having an opinion  …………..

I now close my case in defence of the stray animals of Serbia.

Regards Mark – the ‘Dogs Mouth’.

 dogs mouth

 

 

 

 

 

Serbia: Nani Update 13/11/14.

Serbian  Flag

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Nani update 13/11/14.

Nani is still held by the hunters and we have still heard nothing from the Serbian Agriculture Minister who was supposed to make a decision on this issue months ago.

Serbian campaigners have been in verbal communication with the hunerts, asking for up to date photographs of Nani.

The President of Hunters Society  `Hajduk Veljko`, Cicevac  , Milija Djordjevic, promised to send Slavica some up to date photos of Nani.  True to his word, these arrived on 12/11 but due to their file size, have had to be resized.  You can see them in this post.

The President of the hunters society also promised to make a winter shelter for Nani and the small goat, in addition to promising to improve their nutrition by supplying them with more green food.

This below is the hunters facility which is adjacent to the barren land on which Nani is kept.

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The fact that there is now talk by the hunters about constructing a ‘Winter shelter’ obviously gives us the impression that there is little hope of Nani being released.   The government Agriculture Minister continues to fail to intervene or act in this case.

Quite what the hunters are hoping to achieve by keeping a young deer imprisoned in a facility with currently no shelter and a very poor diet simply defeats us – what are they achieving by it we ask ? – but then that is hunters; not any point to most things that they do, one could say !

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There has recently been very little communication from the Mitic family who had nani taken from them and given to the hunters.  As Nani is our prime concern and her welfare is very important to us; this is why initial communication directly with the hunters had to be undertaken.  There was no other option really to be able to keep track of Nani’s situation other than direct contact.

As you can see in the photos of 12/11/2014. received from the President of the Hunters Association, Nani is looking ok considering her ordeals.

The condition (marks) seen on her back have now been identified as a transition from a summer to winter coat.  This is good news, as without any form of current shelter or protection from the elements, Nani needs as much of her own ability to keep as warm as she can.

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Despite the welfare groups hatred and objections to everything associated with hunting; communication with them is currently the only way to keep track of Nani and to ensure that her welfare is paramount.  Because of this it is currently necessary for welfare campaigners to communicate with the hunters to at least get updates on the situation of Nani.

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As is usual, there is not a word from the Serbian Minister who should be controlling the issue.

So much for a government Agriculture Minister who does not appear to care about the welfare of animals  !

Serb Minister 1