From: Animal Friends Croatia [prijatelji.zivotinja@...
CROATIA ... A LAND OF CRUELTY?
an essay expressed by Croatians... for the world to read
"A small country for great holidays ... But a small country for great
Our familiar tourism slogan could soon appear with those extra words you see
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 anywhere else.
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
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
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 for.
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
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 ostriches.
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
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 methods.
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
"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
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