IMPORTANT UPDATE 11 August 2013
We have just been informed by the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions that our petition figures on the draft agenda of the meeting of the Committee on Petitions which will take place on:
16 September, 2013, at the European Parliament in Brussels. It is scheduled to be dealt with at around 15:00 o'clock.
We are pleased to invite you to follow the Committee proceedings as a webcast via European Parliament streaming over the following link:http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/homeCom.do?language=EN&body=PETI, either live, or deferred as of the following day.
You will find:
- the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions' confirmation to us;
- the European Commission's response to the questions that we have posed on behalf of you, dear signatories of our petition;
- our today's letter to the EU regarding additional information that we have been asked to provide, as downloadable PDF-file,
- as well as a brief summary of important facts
on our website, at: http://www.occupyforanimals.org/eu-when-do-you-think-it-is-time-to-act.html
Below, the additional information to be added to our petition, that Pia Berrend (founder) representing Occupy for Animals, has forwarded to the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions, today, 11th of August, 2013.
LETTER TO THE EU
Additional information to be added to our petition 1251/2012, titled "EU, when do you think it is time to act?" figuring on the draft agenda of the meeting of the Committee on Petitions at the European Parliament which will take place on 16 September 2013, in Brussels.
First of, I would like to thank the European Commission for having responded to the questions posed by my organization on behalf of the signatories of our petition.
As I could see from the given response, the EU-Commission took into consideration ONLY the animal welfare issue related to the growing stray animal populations that exist through most of the European Member Countries, and more precisely, in the Eastern and Southern European Member Countries.
But the stray animals issue is no longer only an animal welfare issue! It is an issue that affects both the human rights and children rights. And both - EU Human Rights and EU Children Rights - are parts of those very important principals on which the entire European Union has been build.
Due to their rapid reproduction and proliferation in countries where this issue is ill-addressed, stray animals are being seen as a verminous species which justifies their mass eradication. The cruelty involved - both by the dog catching industry and the populace - results in serious impairments of the quality of life of the people of these lands - both adults and children.
A new European Study Program, which is being supported by world leading exports in this field, has even shown that the uncontrolled exposure to community animal abuse results in a serious psychological disturbance of the children of these lands, displaying internal and external acute disharmony.
Please, allow me to elaborate.
On HUMAN RIGHTS
The following is an excerpt of the report that Norah Babington has sent to the Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Nils Muiznieks, as well as to the Sub-Committee on Human Rights at the EU:
"Since 2011, I have been gathering testimonies from Romania by people being exposed to the immense, ongoing cruelty performed by the dog catching business in Romania.
It has been an uphill struggle. People are afraid for their lives, traumatized by the violence, feeling vulnerable and powerless and unable to change the status quo.
They plead for help.
They state they have lost their humanity and any good quality of a descent life, by being forced to witness the sufferings and dying of the stray dogs and cats daily. But be aware of the fact that many dogs who have owners, even the ones walking in a leash with the owner on the streets, gets caught by the dogcatchers and dragged to the death camps, the so called Public Shelters (PS). People pay the dogcatchers weekly bribes in order to save their pet from a horrific death."
I believe that this consists a serious violation of their (EU) Human Rights.
On CHILDREN RIGHTS
The 'Making The Link' study - a study to identify psychological effects of children regularly exposed to community animal abuse and evaluation of efficacy of interventions - has shown some very serious and worrying changes on the psychological health of the children of these lands.
The 'Making The Link' study is, in fact, a study to explore the impact of uncontrolled numbers of free roaming animals in Eastern Europe on the human and societal domains. No previous study has ever been contacted in such environments.
The Research Program was conducted by Malcolm Plant as Initial Investigative PhD Study at the University of Teesside, UK. It was supervised by Professor Paul van Schaik, Professor Anna van Wersch and Professor Giorgious Antonopoulos (School of Social Sciences and Law, University of Teesside, UK), with the external Expert Support from Professor Philip Tedeschi, Executive Director at the Institute for Human Animal Connection, University of Denver, USA.
It is not a quantum leap of imagination to suggest that constant exposure to abuse must have an impact upon any individual who witnesses it, and the children of the lands, where this issue is ill-addressed, see stray animals being victims of the most horrible acts of brutality such as poisoning, stabbing, shooting, hanging, drowning, beating and even burning them to death - sometimes on a daily basis.
A pilot study conducted in Bistrita, Romania, with a control group in Berlin, Germany, in 2012-2013, has shown that animal abuse connects directly with children's psychological health and on societal security in those environments where strategic controls are not applied, and where animal welfare laws exist but are rarely reinforced, and which furnishes licence for animal abuse without repercussions, and thus provides the potential to increase violence and abuse against person and property within these societies.
86,3 % of children in the investigative 14-16 year old age group in Bistrita, Romania, had seen animal abuse in public 'many times'.
It is suggested that exposure to external stimuli causes conceptualisation, or schemata, to be ‘fixed‘ by the time the child is 8 years old. Exposure to abuse and aggression (human and animal) results in all the effects which have been identified by the study:
aggression against person and property,
and if these alone were not worthy of tears: the child also wishes to die!
Children who, within a few years, develop from innocence and balance to psychological disturbance, displaying internal and external acute disharmony... a journey from peace, harmony and innocence, to anger, hatred and destruction.
What is evident is that around 10% of children in the study were identified as having abused animals. Their profiles showed strong correlations with increased aggression, negative empathy towards fellow human beings, social violence and theft.
These 10% of the 170 children in the research program exhibited aggression syndrome and used the ready availability of potential animal victims in public places to displace this aggression.
With 2,000 children in this age group in Bistrita, extrapolation suggests 200 children locally seeking animal victims to exercise displaced aggression. This suggests that in a 60,000 population, taken over a 40 year societal time frame of all ages, 4,000 individuals are at any one time, seeking to act out their aggression on the animals and potentially against other people. With a number of countries in south and eastern Europe experiencing similar environments, ramifications could be seen to invite a major political mandate.
In addition, and and as you would surely know, the link between animal abuse and crimes against humans has been well documented over several decades, and it is proven that people who can commit such crimes against animals rarely stop there; they are very likely to harm other humans, especially children or other vulnerable people.
Many studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology during the last 25 years have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. The FBI has recognized the connection since the 1970s, when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals as children. Other research has shown consistent patterns of animal cruelty among perpetrators of more common forms of violence, including child abuse, spouse abuse, and elder abuse.
According to a 1997 study done by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and North-eastern University, animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes than are individuals without a history of animal abuse.
I believe that this very serious impact on the psychological health of the children of these lands constitutes a violation of their (EU) Children Rights.
On CORRUPTION AND MISAPPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS
None - and I mean NONE - of the most affected EU-Member countries has made any serious efforts to curb the stray animal population by implementing neutering campaigns, and/or by informing their citizens about the importance to spay and neuter their animals and/or not to let them roam freely and mate as they wish.
Instead, they try - year in, year out - to clean the streets from unwanted animals.
Unlike developing countries that lack the necessary funds and the needed staff to implement massive sterilization campaigns, is this not the case for the countries discussed here. We are talking about countries member of the European Union, where the necessary funds for sterilizations - which would amount to only a fragment of the gigantic amounts spent each year by these countries to fight the effect instead of the cause - should not be the problem. The problem lays rather in corrupted interests and a lack of vision and will.
And as a matter of fact, Bulgaria is the most corrupt country in the European Union followed by Romania, and it should be no surprise that numerous reports -- which have been forwarded to the EU by, among others, Emil D. Kouzmanov, BSAPP, Bulgaria; Dr Carmen Arsene, FNPA, Romania; and myself, Pia Berrend, as a representative of my organization Occupy for Animals, Luxembourg -- revealed a bleak business with stray dogs, and that shady practices HINDER the management of the stray animal populations.
By intentionally NOT taking the necessary measures to reduce the stray animal populations, these governments support the prosperity of a dirty industry in which many people profit from:
the collecting of dogs
the construction of unnecessary shelters (including research and design)
the housing of animals, including supposedly feeding and caring of the animals
the incineration of the deceased animals
With an estimated 100 million free roaming dogs (owned and strays) and probably twice as many stray cats, the growing stray animals issue does not only appear to be out of control but, as seen in the 'Making The Link' Study, has also serious ramifications for the health of children across a number of countries.
If not urgently addressed, and under consideration of their known reproduction rate and proliferation, the European stray animal populations will soon have reached a scale that challenges the imagination!
No! This is no longer about animals alone. This is about the quality of life, and the future of children, people, and the entire societies of the countries that we are talking of here.
And, yes! This issue IS transnational... ie across almost ALL EU Member Countries (Reference: Treaty of Lisbon, Principle of Subsidiarity and Proportionality).
I kindly and respectfully suggest that the European Union reconsiders its position on the growing stray animals issue that exists in most of the EU Member Countries under consideration of the points that I have presented to you today, and urgently takes a decision in this field. And if not... WHY NOT?
- Pia Berrend -
Founder of Occupy for Animals
Information on the EU stray animals issue is compiled on the following website:
The complete report that Norah Babington has sent to the Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Nils Muiznieks, as well as to the Sub-Committee on Human Rights at the EU, can be read at the bottom of the following page on our website:
Information on the 'Making The Link' study, is compiled at:
WELCOME to the 'Making The Link' website
ABOUT the 'Making The Link' website
-- END OF LETTER TO THE EU --
Tom Animalpastor has personally hand-delivered our petition to the EU!
We are deeply grateful to Tom, the Animalpastor, for personally handing over our petition, 'EU, when do you think it is time to act?', to the EU (European Union) with 13,749 signatures on the list.
It was a great, symbolic gesture; who better than Tom the Animalpastor, to bring to the attention of the EU the dire plight of Europe's unseen animals?
Mrs Erminia Mazzoni, Chair of the Committee on Petitions, was not in her office in Brussels during Tom's visit, but had sent her personal assistant to receive Tom and to take over the petition and the signatures list.
Many, many thanks to Tom also for the beautiful picture-collage showing him handing over our petition: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=391247930943258&set=a.216201598447893.48092.152547194813334&type=1&theater
We cannot thank you enough, dear Tom, for your faith in us and what we are working to achieve for the animals of Europe. Your delivering the petition on our behalf was very symbolic; we are grateful for your support!
You know how much we love you! And if the animals could speak, we are sure they would be saying, "You rock, Padre!"
From the bottom of our hearts:
Thank you for everything, dear Tom Animalpastor ♥
IMPORTANT: the signatures collected before Saturday, 30 September 2012, 23:00 CET will be printed out and Tom Animalpastor will hand them over directly to the EU during his visit in Brussells.
The petition will nevertheless remain active and all collected signatures will be forwarded at a later date.
ABOUT THIS PETITION:
This petition is a joint action of Occupy for Animals and Million Actions for Animal Rights. Occupy for Animals has officially registered this petition at the European Parliament.
For further information concerning this petition, please visit: http://www.occupyforanimals.org/eu-when-do-you-think-it-is-time-to-act.html
On October 13, 2011 the Written Declaration 026/2011 on dog population management in the European Union, was adopted by the European Parliament. Before the vote, thousands of EU-citizens had written to their MEPs to ask them to approve and sign this document because, at that time, it seemed to be the only real opportunity that could lead to a better life of millions of animals in Europe given it would be the official position of the European Parliament in this dossier and was considered a first step in building a strategy that protects all cats and dogs across Europe.
When the EU presented their new animal welfare strategy for 2012 - 2015 a few months later, the deception was great because that document does not contain one single mention as to how and when the EU would start to tackle the stray animals issue within the European Union.
At the occasion of 'Stray Animals Day' (April, 4) we would like to remind our dear EU that an estimated 100 Million stray dogs and probably twice as much stray cats live in countries member of the European Union, and given that:
- in six years, one female dog and her off-spring can produce 67.000 dogs
- in seven years, one female cat and her off-spring can produce 420.000 cats
every single day without action equals to thousands more unwanted animals born into a life of suffering, of starvation, and despair.
These millions of unwanted animals are EU-members without a voice and we therefor kindly ask you to be their voice, and to let the EU hear from you on their behalf - on behalf of all these unwanted animals who can not speak for themselves.
By signing our petition, a message will instantly be send to the European Parliament, to remind them, that drafting and signing/approving a document is not everything and that we would like to see action!
Thank you in advance for your signature and for speaking up for Europe's unwanted animals.
For more information, please visit: