Around 300 animal activists demanded a ‘no-kill’ policy at municipal kennels in Portugal during a protest held in Lisbon last Saturday.
Organised by Portugal’s most vocal animal welfare association ANIMAL, the action saw hundreds of people, holding posters showing shocking images of animal abuse, gather outside the Food and Veterinary Office (DGAV) building of the Ministry of Agriculture to say no to “torture” and “killing policies” at municipal kennels.
The president of ANIMAL, Rita Silva, compared municipal kennels to concentration camps and said the protest was in memory of the many dogs, cats, donkeys, horses and other animals that are killed daily, in degrading conditions, in Portugal.
Promoting animal rights, the protesters’ message wasloud and clear – “Yes to evolution, no to torture” – while posters included phrases such as “The State’s hands are dirty with blood” and “Yes to sterilisation, no to killing”.
Associação ANIMAL wants the government to urgently review the legislation governing animal rights. Rita Silva told Lusa news agency that the protest aimed to raise awareness about the need to respect animals and their rights, something which was continuously ignored particularly by the powers-that-be.
She accused the DGAV of “autism” as it would not provide an answer to the numerous letters and documents sent by the various associations in Portugal calling for change to the animal cause and for being ignorant to the reality.
According to Rita Silva, dogs, cats and horses are being put down in degrading conditions, and there is no official data regarding the number of animals that are euthanised in these circumstances in Portugal.
“Thousands of horses are abandoned and the solution appears to be to put them down; and matters get worse when profits from the sale of the meat revert to the horse’s owner, who abandoned the animal in the first place,” she said, accusing the DGAV of inaction to bring action against these people.
Another matter which the ANIMAL president hopes to see resolved is the issue surrounding the excessive bureaucracy concerning reporting animal abuse cases.
The legislation must be reviewed as reporting cases of animal abuse is a long and winding process that takes several stages until it reaches the head of the DGAV, who has the authority to sign the document for initiation of an investigation.
Rita Silva is concerned that hundreds of animal abuse cases are in a bottle-neck situation due to bureaucracy.
“Hundreds of animals spend their whole lives in confined spaces surrounded by their own faeces,” she said.