Animals In Print
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20 November 2010 Issue

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The Death Of A Cat: Change In Turkey


Last week Turkey was shocked by the gruesome murder of a little stray cat in Bornova, Izmir. His name was Yamuk.

Yamuk’s death was brutal, painful in its randomness and, unlike the deaths of so many, it became public, for anyone to see. The killer Ufuk Gunaydin, was arrested and released after paying a fine of 657 Turkish Liras (close to 450 American Dollars).

This event brought memories of another murder, one that took place over a year ago, in Istanbul, the killing of Ebru, the dog of the Marmara Hotel. In that occasion there were no cameras to film the horrific actions, but the result was the same, a helpless animal dying in pain and reminding each and everyone of us that there are killers amongst us.

Turkish society has finally awaken to the bitter reality of animal cruelty, and stands united in condemnation, in demand for stronger laws to punish animal cruelty.

The media is finally listening, and the legislator in Ankara has got the message. The current state of affairs is not to be tolerated any longer.

The problem is, laws must apply to everyone. As of today, the biggest perpetrator of animal cruelty in this country are the municipalities themselves. Rogue Mayors all across the nation continue to ignore the Law and continue organizing poisoning campaigns. In most cities, starting by Istanbul, animal shelters are nothing but massive concentration camps for dogs run by municipalities and shelter managers who seem to be there for nothing but releasing their sadistic impulses.

It is time for the Mayors of this country to understand that the situation of the animals in their cities is not just a problem to manage, it is one of the most evident and obvious signs of their failures or success as leaders of the society.

So far most of them, starting by Kadir Topbas, the Mayor of Istanbul Greater Municipality are failing miserably.

Turkey has one of the world’s most progressive Animal Rights Laws. The entire country is No-Kill, something that places us at the level of Germany. The demonstration of Saturday in Istanbul, the biggest show of support this country has ever seen shows that Turkey is ready for change.

Today I am filled with the hope that maybe, just maybe, one day Turkey will be regarded as a place where animals are treated with respect and compassion, and Mayors across the nation will understand that society holds them accountable.

Ghandi wrote: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. I am sure each and every attendant to the demonstration yesterday will agree with me that, by those standards Turkey is still near the bottom of the ladder.

Change is at the reach of this generation, we are in the right path but we must all get to work.

For the animals
Viktor Larkhill .


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