Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A dog's life all the way to Italy in horrendous conditions

"A mountain of cages"
SPAIN/ITALY (Agencies) This site has been writing about animal welfare in its many manifestations, good and bad, for a number of years. Recently, we wrote about how overwhelmed most of the area's refuge centres are at this time of year. And now comes another tragic story. On July 9, one of the Guardia Civil's Seprona units stopped a van carrying 26 dogs to a centre in Northern Italy called Vita, Una Zampa Per Spagna (Life, A Paw for Spain). "A mountain of cages," said Nieves Orellana, President of the Society for the Protection of Animals and Plants, of Cadiz. The ones on the outside of the pile didn't have it so bad, but on the inside ... >>>
And they had no water in a vehicle that was totally inappropriate for transporting animals as there was not ventilation either.

While these dogs were headed for Milan, and Seprona is aware that similar trips go to plenty of other places in Europe, including, Holland, Germany and even Romania, the question remains: Why are so many dogs taken elsewhere?

The alarm has rung louder thanks to this case; indeed, similar trips have been going on for at least a couple of years. The Guardia knows that vans carrying up to 80 dogs have set out from such various places as Valencia, Sevilla, Badajoz and Cádiz. Now, the aim is to find out more about their destinations.

The question is still there but the principal two theories are as follows:

One, that places such as this one in Italy take in animals whose final destiny is death in Spain, which heads the number of abandoned dogs in Europe with 109,074 dogs picked up last year (16,780 in Andalucía alone). They are usually taken to refuge for adoption and are usually put down after 15 days if, unadopted, they end up at an official dog pound. The system in Andalucía, and probably in most other regions, is extremely inefficient: numerous refuges taking in too many animals are overwhelmed and, because their volunteers are too busy taking care of the animals, do not get together as pressure groups to make sure the laws on animal welfare are applied by the many layers of policing in the country.

However, it is understood that the Italian refuges are in the opposite position, which is curious, given that a law was approved there in 2003 that prohibits animal sacrifice.

The second theory is a matter of money. As putting them down is illegal, the refuges get subsidies: the more animals they have, the bigger the subsidies. Good business.

Whethter the same is true in other countries to which dogs and cats are sent from Spain, we do not know (Do you? Please let us know!).

Neverhtless, the Spanish Guardia Civil cannot do anything about it once the animals have left the country, so they are limited to making sure the animals are transported according to European regulations, which include proper temperature regulation and water supply for journeys longer than eight hours.

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