My daughter and I spent a week on the Greek island of Hydra, 9-15th September 2013. On the second day of our stay, we followed the sound of mewing kittens and found 4 tiny, barely a week-old kittens in a cardboard box. They were dirty, in obvious distress and clearly had been there, without their mother for more than a day. Their cries of hunger, pain and fear were terrible to hear. Some well-meaning person had left a bowl of food and water by the box. The food was rotten and covered with flies, but in any case, the kittens were too young to eat solid food, so the gesture was no help. Passers-by ignored the kittens, despite their distressing meowing.
A staff member of the Hotel we were staying at had told us that she was a member of Hydra Ark, a charity on the island that looks after animals. We had their phone number and called them for help. Shortly after our call, they took the kittens away for euthanasia, which very, very sadly in this case was the only way to end their suffering. Later, our Hydra Ark friend told us that someone had deliberately removed the kittens from their mother and dumped them in this town square. We also found out that cats are routinely poisoned during the winter months as a method of controlling their numbers!
The incident quite ruined our holiday. After seeing this sight, we were in shock. This level of animal cruelty has no place in a civilised society. These tiny creatures feel the pain of hunger and the fear of abandonment in the same way that you and I feel it!
We the undersigned ask you, the Mayor of Hydra to make a stand against animal cruelty on the Island of Hydra. We ask you to take the following actions:
1. We believe that you endorse and support the work of Hydra Ark. This registered and well-organised charity has a program of neutering the cats on Hydra. This is the humane way to control their numbers, which everyone agrees is necessary. In your office as the Mayor, you have the influence to persuade the business leaders on Hydra to make regular financial contributions to Hydra Ark to help with the program of neutering. The business people of Hydra know the commercial value of the Island’s cats: they sell t-shirts with Hydra’s cats on them, postcards with cat pictures, and other “Hydra’s cats”-related tourist souvenirs. The fact that they exploit the cats’ commercial value in this way but contribute nothing to the welfare of the animals makes them look very bad indeed. My daughter and I refused to buy any cat-related souvenirs, knowing the level of cruelty to the animals on the island. Please visit the website of Hydra Ark at this link:
Donations can also be made to Hydra Ark at this link.
The veterinary work carried out by Hydra Ark (including neutering) is done in peoples’ homes and it would be wonderful if they could have a dedicated building for carrying out surgical procedures.
2. Enforce the anti-animal cruelty laws that exist in Greece. The Greek people are highly-educated, intellectually sophisticated, kind and hospitable and should not tolerate animal cruelty in their midst. A few bad people are ruining the reputation of the majority because the laws against animal cruelty are not up-held. Some well-publicised prosecutions for cat poisoning, kitten dumping or other forms of cruelty will turn the tide against the few bad people and show that the good majority are winning the war against animal cruelty.
3. Launch and support education in the schools. There are many organisations and people who could arrange for school visits to educate the children on the benefits of keeping animal populations under control and healthy. Animals are essential to human life and should be cared for. Apart from using some animals for transport and other work, keeping a pet cat or dog has known psychological benefits for the pet owner. The donkeys that are used to carry heavy loads up the steep hills of Hydra need healthcare as well and Hydra Ark are involved in their care as well. And who knows, the school education program may even lead to some excellent careers in the veterinarian sciences!
Thank you for reading this and please take action against animal cruelty.
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