Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
From  Issue
3 March 2002
Killing Animals For Olympics

Source: Herald Sun 2/24/02


Animal lovers are up in arms over claims the Greek Government is using poison to rid the country of an estimated 200,000 stray dogs.

Animal welfare groups fear the Government, in a bid to clean up the streets of Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games, is laying poison through the streets.

The controversy erupted as it emerged Chinese students on Cyprus have been eating stray dogs. Arguing that canine cuisine is a delicacy, the students this week admitted snatching scores of dogs from the streets in a bid to spice up their diet.

The poison claims emerged after reports from tourists enraged at the sight of what appeared to be officials laying bait.

"Every country has problems with strays, but Greece is much worse," said Joy Leney, of the London-based World Society of the Protection of Animals (WSPA). "What is happening there is very, very worrying," she said. "Humane controls are called for, not poisoning, shooting and clubbing. "We are very afraid the situation will worsen in the run-up to the 2004 Olympic Games."

Concern at the fate of the strays -- estimated at 50,000 in Athens alone -- has prompted animal welfare agencies to call for legislation for the registration of animals with electronic microchips and fines for owners of abandoned pets.

"Greece has drafted legislation, but it's very thin on specifics," said Ms Leney, who visited Athens with a WSPA team this month. Greeks routinely kill unwanted cats and dogs by lacing pet food with pesticides. In rural areas, where attitudes to animals are even harsher, dogs are frequently hung from trees and power poles and old donkeys thrown from cliffs.

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