This petition has been started by Occupy for Animals on September 27, 2012. For further information on this petition and more ways to take action, please visit: http://occupyforanimals.wix.com/strays-of-turkey
According to a draft document, prepared in secret and that was presented for approval last week (mid September 2012) the Turkish Government intends to abolish the current program of TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) and it proposes that municipalities round up ALL free roaming animals (dogs and perhaps even cats) and place them in what they are calling 'Dogal hayat parklari' (natural life parks).
There is every single reason to believe that those so-called “Natural Parks” will be nothing but death camps of the worst kind.
These parks will just be fenced off areas, probably forests, far from populated areas where hundreds or even thousands of animals will have to fend for themselves as they will be left there to die slow and agonizing deaths without food, and water. Many will die of starvation, others will fight to the death over whatever they can find. They will end up eating each other. Many will probably suffer terrible injuries from fights over limited food sources and disease will spread through the population like wildfire.
Another crucially important change in the law is the introduction of Breed Specific Legislation. Owners of dogs whose breed is considered dangerous will be forced to surrender their animals to either be killed or incarcerated for life in those “Natural Life Parks”.
By signing our petition, the message that you can read below will be sent instantly to the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayip Erdogan, and a copy will go to the Council or Europe.
In addition to signing the petition we highly encourage writing personalized and original letters, as they get a lot of attention from recipients. Please send a message to raise your concerns to Turkey's Prime Minister at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I M P O R T A N T:
Please sign also the following petitions.
Subject: Please drop the proposed 2012 amendment and begin looking at legislation that supports a comprehensive, humane and more importantly, effective and sustainable approach in terms of stray animal population control.
Dear Prime Minister,
As you may be aware, the proposed amendments to your country's Animal Protection Law No. 5199 have caused a wave of global outrage among animal lovers and animal welfare organizations worldwide.
Even IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), in their article published September 26, 2012 regarding your plans, stated that "any legislation which would result in the lifetime confinement of dogs in shelters or restricted spaces in which their basic needs can never be met is not only bad policy, it is inherently cruel. Without appropriate care and supervision, sheltering facilities and dog confinement operations often become hotbeds of stress and disease. And when these facilities are meant to house dogs for the rest of their lives, those lives may often be brief and miserable as a result of untreated illnesses and chronic psychological distress."
In 2004, by ratifying the European Council's Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals and introducing its Animal Protection Law No. 5199, Turkey signaled to Europe, and the world, that it takes its responsibility towards both owned and not- owned companion animals seriously, and that Turkish citizens are people who care about animal welfare.
Law No. 5199 obliged municipalities to neuter and return stray animals to their territories, and clearly forbade the release of animals outside of the city.
In implementation, however, the rate of neutering was very slow and inefficient, and most of the neutered animals were returned not to their territories, but dumped outside of the city in forests and along highways. Even the reports issued by Eurogroup for Animals have shown that the dog population management approach outlined in Law No. 5199 was neither adequately implemented, nor enforced. Policy awareness and compliance, as well as implementation of humane dog control and catching methods were substandard and below OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) guidelines, as stated in the Eurogroup for Animals Report.
In itself, Law No. 5199 is a very comprehensive and good animal protection law, and although the only problem is that the law is not being properly implemented, we understand that your government has felt the need to make changes to your country's Animal Protection Law.
Of these, the planned changes to introduce stricter punishment of animal abusers and to outlaw bestiality are highly commendable.
But – with all due respect, dear Prime Minister – we must submit that, regarding all other amendments, you are clearly going backwards in terms of animal welfare and we urge to please drop the proposed 2012 amendment and begin looking at legislation that supports a comprehensive, humane and more importantly, effective and sustainable approach in terms of stray animal population control.
The International Companion Animal Management Coalition (ICAM) has not only published guidance on the humane management of dog populations, they have a version that has been translated into Turkish which will guide and help you to implement an effective and sustainable approach that is proven to be effective. This document can be downloaded at the following link: http://www.icam-coalition.org/downloads/Humane_Dog_Population_Management_Guidance_Turkish.pdf
We hope that this information will help aid you in making an informed decision that is at once humane and effective, in terms of stray animal population control.
The current plan to send these animals to unsupervised, unsheltered ‘parks’ outside city limits and effectively leave them to perish, without providing for their care, feeding, watering… is nothing short of outright cruelty.
We request you, as the person with the maximum authority in this instance, to make the humane choice. The lives of many, many animals are in your hands. As are the hopes of many, many animal lovers, animal rights activists and animal rights/welfare organizations in countries far from your own.
If they can speak up for the welfare and humane treatment of the stray animals of Turkey, Mr. Prime Minister, we are sure that you will, too.