Cyprus is among a handful of countries posted on a European animal welfare organisation list as being a regular offender in terms of animal cruelty.
The European Society of Dog and Animal Welfare (ESDAW,) which describes itself as “writers, students, professionals, activists and citizens from different parts of Europe - we are no institution - ” mentions Cyprus first in a list of offending countries on its website.
“The lack of animal welfare orientation and information is distressingly large in the world’s biggest industry – tourism. It is us who travel that can put pressure on European tour operators ....many EU citizens travel to the Sun in Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey,” ESDAW says.
Elaborating on Cyprus, the group said: “The country’s view on how animals should be treated does not match the animal welfare laws of Cyprus. Nobody seems to care or do anything for the animals.”
It also claims: “That laws are broken every day that allows animal suffering in Cyprus, seems unperturbed those in charge for the law to be followed. There are no excuses for those who do not fulfil their duties and fail to enforce the animal welfare law. Cyprus is now a member of the European Union and should also ensure they follow all laws by agreement disclosure of membership.”
The activists also state that dogs across the island are chained or caged 24 hours a day (often by hunters) with no food, water or shelter from the elements.
“They are released only to hunt and then are beaten and mistreated- often shot when the hunting season is finished.”
Moreover they claim that donkeys and horses are tethered in the heat with no shade or water while Lanate poison and Furadan though illegal in Cyprus, can be purchased.
“Cats and dogs are illegally poisoned and suffer agonising deaths. Yet the police response? ‘It’s only an animal we won’t do anything’ The ban must be enforced with anyone buying/selling or poisoning to be prosecuted. The police must be trained to take this seriously or an animal police division installed.”
Animal welfare groups and volunteers in Cyprus have long called for the creation of animal police and or the appointment of a commissioner to better handle animal-related issues.
A spate of recent cases of cruelty has garnered unprecedented local attention and condemnation in the media and social networking sites.