"A small country for great holidays ... But a small
country for great cruelty!"
Our familiar tourism slogan could soon appear with those
extra words you see above. Why? ... Because if we take some of the
following facts into consideration, my country Croatia shamefully stands
out amongst others by it's appalling treatment towards animals ... and the
situation is getting worse.
Until recently, we were proud of our population of griffon
vultures, about one hundred of them. Now we have only fifty. Half the
population were poisoned in just one day during a bear hunt. No attempt
was made to even look for, let alone punish the culprit. Excuse the pun,
but this incident was barely reported or written about in Croatia, or
Just as a comparative example, Romania has a population of
two griffon vultures and spends millions of euros on them. In Croatia, 50
or so are killed annually...
Likewise, we could have been proud of our bear population, which was one
of the largest in South Eastern Europe; but instead we decided to give up
this wonderful creature for the sake of hunting. Ironically, a bear is
actually featured on our five-kuna coin. So, for a couple of thousand
euros, foreign hunters can come to this country, kill a bear, eat lunch
and go home with its fur as a trophy.
With no proof to back up their claims, local hunters
blamed our bears for the mysterious deaths of sheep on the island of Krk.
Just another excuse for these misunderstood creatures to be hunted and
shot. Local authorities didn't even respond to solutions offered by
respected foreign experts. Instead they continued to insist on
extermination. The hunting lobby is strong in this country; therefore
offers by foreign environmental organizations are often ignored.
At a sitting of the hunting alliance, The President of the
Croatian Republic, Stjepan Mesic stated that various negative stories
about bears and other animals tend to circulate amongst those who do not
know a lot about hunting. In fact, misinformation circulates amongst much
of the Croatian public, mostly uneducated about animal welfare. Completely
unproven claims of rampaging bears and other wild animals ripping whole
herds of sheep to pieces just give more credibility and support to the
country's hunting lobby. Because of this ignorance, bloody sports and
killing for pleasure seems to stand proud in our countries cultural
curriculum. The way things are going at the moment, the only place we are
likely to see a Croatian bear in the future is on our five-kuna coin.
Croatia is probably the only country in the world where a
hunter can openly say on national television that he has killed somebody's
dog, cat, donkey etc. - and that he will also kill others. Hunting grounds
start as close as three hundred metres from private land. Hunters take
full advantage of this and intentionally kill "everything that moves."
They know too well that the law allows them to do so, and they stretch
that law to extremes. It is simply repulsive to watch these hunters -
macho he-men in military dress, armed with guns and lead by dogs. They set
out on their heroic crusades - the killing of "dangerous wild beasts" -
such as rabbits, pheasants and foxes ... It's pathetic.
However, hunters are not the only ones who use loopholes
in our catastrophic Animal Protection Act. Croatia's entertainment
industry regularly uses animals as stage props. The performers hurl them
around the stage, batter them or sacrifice them in the course of "artistic
expression." Up to a point, public activities like this might get
condemned - and there is talk of bringing charges, but the sentiments are
short-lived and soon forgotten. These occurrences are overshadowed by
other, more inane news incidents, which the media would rather make space
Although we are a small Central European country, we are
the largest world producer of chinchilla fur, with up to 50% of the total
world production. These small South American animals are kept throughout
their life in cramped cages. And when their time comes, their necks are
broken - then they are skinned. These poor creature's pelts proudly
contribute to Croatia's export economy. In just 6 months, Chinchilla Co.
Ltd. produced 10.5 tonnes of carcasses of these small rodents.
Even though more and more people in the world support
synthetic fur, and are against the production of natural (animal) fur,
Croatia is not interested in banning fur farming. Croatia is not
interested in the fact that the anti-fur movement is gaining strength all
the time and that a large number of civilized countries across the world
condemn this kind of cruelty. But in our country, a woman thinks she is
not a 'real woman' without a fur coat.
"In Croatia, we ask ourselves, in which century and time
are we living: the stone-age or the third millennium?"
With regards to animal species from other continents, it
is necessary to mention ostriches, which are presently one of the growing
problems in Croatia. There are more and more breeders of these African
birds, even though there is no legislation in our country on the keeping
and slaughter of these animals. The bringing of such legislation is sought
from authorities. In the meantime, neighboring Austria has banned the
slaughter of ostriches.
This is the irony, because everything that is repulsive to
the "West" - just a border away - is allowed in our country; from the
hunting of protected species to the farming of fur and the slaughter of
Unfortunately, the problem does not just lie in the
farming and slaughter of animals from other continents. In all countries
around the world, animals such as chickens, pigs, cows, horses and sheep
are nothing but articles to serve and fulfill meat eaters. That is the
common state of world animal farming for the masses. In some countries
such as Great Britain there are rules, which are supposed to be followed
when slaughtering animals. This is to reduce their pain of death to the
minimum. But in Croatia they are inconsiderately slaughtered without
anesthetic. Their teeth, wings, tails and testes are cut with no thought
given to help reduce their pain. Passing through any Croatian rural
settlement, anyone can see for themselves how such barbaric techniques are
used to put animals to death. Veal calves, for example, are hung alive,
upside down and their throats cut to drain their bodies of blood as the
heart continues to pump.
Also located in Croatia are some of the largest chicken
farms in Europe, as well as some of the larger European farms for milk
cows and pigs. Similarly, we can 'boast' about our huge turkey, calve and
beef cattle farms ... all run using barbaric slaughtering methods.
Favourite specialties and popular meals are young pigs and lambs.
Particularly ugly sights are the numerous restaurants along busy Croatian
roads, with skewered baby animals turning over fires in front of the
There is no celebration, wedding or holiday without a
roast or an excess of meat fare. However, probably one of the greatest
problems occurs in the Adriatic Sea, which is almost totally depleted of
fish. Fishing trawlers have ruined the seabed, by dragging their nets, and
have over fished the entire area. Apart from our local fishermen, the
Japanese are now assaulting the Adriatic Sea using new, more intensive
We take this opportunity to consider some of our folk
traditions, such as the beheading of bulls on the island Korcula. In fact
this wasn't even a tradition in the first place. It was introduced as a
tourist attraction, but instead gave rise to criticism and repugnance.
Thankfully, it was given up after just two seasons.
What else can we expect? What other horrific ideas lie in
the heads of our people or tourist associations? People who are more
concerned about profit rather than conserving their depleting natural
resources and native animals. The Croatian public must stand back and
realize that they are ecologically out of sync with global concerns about
the environment, species extinction and the ethical treatment of animals.
Is Croatia becoming the slaughterhouse of Europe?
Whilst some countries laws prohibit the abuse of animals,
our country seems to revel in it ... as a tourist attraction. The number
of vegetarians worldwide is steadily increasing and health organizations
around the world are supporting vegetarianism as healthy and ethical
choice. But in our country, authorities still have no understanding for
the introduction of vegetarian meals or food labeling into public
In Croatia, nobody has yet been punished because of
cruelty to animals. Almost anything is tolerated. Pet owners can abuse
their animal with no worry about being charged with cruelty. Therefore,
it's no surprise when dogs and cats are abandoned and thrown out onto the
street during the holiday season. They finally end up in a pound where
they are killed within a shorter time limit than the law permits.
At the beginning of this article we parodied, "A small
country for a great holiday." This is the advertising slogan of the
Croatian Tourist Association. It's inspired by a seldom seen natural
beauty of our land - its large potential for eco-tourism and the
production of ecological (organic) growth and health food. The purpose of
this article is not to dispute that, but to seek an answer to the
"Why is Croatia turning to blood thirsty tourism of killing donkeys and
"Why is Croatia killing and selling of rare songbirds?"
"Why is Croatia farming animal species endemic to other climes and the
opening of new hunting-grounds?"
At the same time, our rural tourism - illustrated by the
beauty of ancient castles - deteriorates further, as they become overgrown
with nettles and acacias. What was once among the cleanest rivers and
springs in this part of the world are now undrinkable, poisoned a result
of bad planning of industrial waste zones. The resulting cruelty and
negligence towards all the animal species that share these expanses with
us is overwhelming. Even though we are a 'small' country, Croatia is
unfortunately also a land of great cruelty.
An article by the Croatian Animal Welfare Group, Animal
Edited and revised by LGGN
LATEST NEWS FROM CROATIA
According to a law in Croatia, any cat or dog found more
than 300 meters of towns is considered strayed and therefore can be
killed. Cats and puppies are being killed and hung on branches of trees in
Medijimurje area in Croatia. Also dogs and cats have been killed by
hunters. See pictures at: http://www.apasfa.org/peti/croacia_pic.html
LETTER SENT TO CROATIAN AUTHORITIES AND THE EUROPEAN UNION
Dear Sir /Madam,
I am writing to request that you take immediate steps to
introduce animal protection laws in Croatia. I am gravely concerned about
the barbaric and cruel methods of stray animal control that are practised
in Croatia. Such methods are simply unacceptable in modern society and
Apart from the terrible cruelty involved, these methods do
nothing to address the problem of stray animals on the streets. According
to Croatian laws, any cat or dog more than 300 meters beyond town limit s
is considered strayed and therefore is allowed to be killed.
Cats and puppies are being killed and hung by the branches
of the trees in Medjimurje area in Croatia. Throughout the last year,
there were also numerous cases of puppies, dogs and cats being
intentionally shot by hunters.
There is no excuse for failing to introduce laws on stray
animals. There are many practical, cruelty free methods that can be
introduced to control the numbers of strays, which poses no harm to the
animals, most notably a neutering program. These have proved to be very
successful in other countries. Please do intercede. Stop the barbaric
cruelty and ensure that a proper legal foundation for animal protection is
created in Croatia.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
PERHAPS THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) SHOULD BE NOTIFIED OF THESE PRACTICES
MENTIONED ABOVE. THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT IS DESPERATELY TRYING TO BECOME
Write to the European Union (EU) and ask them to be more
responsible on new membership.
Email Addresses to the EU
EU Public Opinion e-mail:
Forward your correspondence to the EU to Croatian
Office of the President -
Parliament of Croatia - [email protected]
Office of the Prime Minister
In the past, Croatian Animal-Rights Activists have been
threatened and intimidated by the authorities. Lets make sure the Croatian
Government knows the world is watching.
Go on to Meatout 20th
Return to 16 January 2005 Issue
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