Directorate G – Veterinary and International Affairs Animal Welfare

Attention: Mr. Andrea Gavinelli
Head of Unit

Subject: Update Mr. Andrea Gavinelli, Head of the Animal Welfare Unit of the European Commission on the developments regarding the animal abuse in Greece, on the imperative need to reform the Greek Constitution on animal rights and on the urgent need for measures to manage the stray overpopulation on a integrated EU level

Dear Mr. Gavinelli,

Being the largest Greek Animal Welfare Federation, we continue our efforts to change the status quo of the Animal Welfare in our country especially on animal abuse and non-compliance with the minimum standards for their welfare. In this context, we would like to inform you about the actions we have taken since our last communication.

1. We submitted to the Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Kefalogianni, complete evidentiary material on the barrel-dogs issue, (an issue we have shared with you in our previous correspondence) as well as many letters of protest by many tourists visiting our beautiful country describing their moral disgust for the bad behavior of its citizens towards animals. In fact, a British tourist went a little further; he chained himself publicly to protest and show to the world what torture these animals are enduring. A follow-up meeting with the Minister is being scheduled to further elaborate on the subject.

2. We met and discussed in length with the Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection, Mr.Kikilias. The result of this meeting was a directive circular to all the Hellenic Police Force on the importance of addressing all animal abuse cases and enforce the existing laws. A similar circular was issued by the Supreme Court Attorney General, Mrs. Koutzamani, to all the Public Prosecutors of the country, calling for immediate investigation and attention to any kind of information-complaint-accusation regarding incidents of torture, abuse and cruelty towards any kind of animal or acts of violence against them, such as poisoning, hanging, drowning, crushing, amputation, etc.

3. We continue our campaign launched at the beginning of this summer with the Press Conference held for the chained animals, with the adoption of a resolution on the revision of the article 24 of the Greek Constitution related to animals, which currently is posted as a petition for public vote.

For your information, the Greek Constitution is soon expected to be reviewed. This resolution will be delivered to the Prime Minister Mr. Samaras, the members of the Greek Parliament and the Heads of the Political Parties. This proposal for the revision of the above article is written by the Professor of Constitutional Law and Member of the European Parliament Mr. Kostas CHRYSOGONOS 

Here is the english translation of this revision proposal:

“It is proposed in the Greek Constitution to guarantee the obligation of the State to ensure the respect for the life in all its manifestations and the protection of the rights of all living beings. This will have particular significance in order to become a public conscious that animals must not and cannot be assimilated with inanimate objects. Consequently, in paragraph 1 of the article 24 of the Constitution could be added three new subparagraphs with the following wording:

The State is obliged to take the appropriate measures for the protection and the respect for the life in all its manifestations. Particularly the State ensures the welfare of all animal species, their living conditions, their safety, their transportation and their import imposing prohibitions and restrictions where appropriate and in particular, in matters such as the experiments and the surgeries over them as well as in matters of their killing. It must also be obliged to ensure the protection of the wildlife and in particular of the endangered species. “

4. In order to give continuity to the the initiative taken with the letter of Opinion by Mr. Paolo De Castro, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, on the motion for a resolution by Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris on dealing with the problem of stray animals – B7-0079/2014, under Rule 120 – an opinion that was submitted to Martin Schulz and was scheduled for discussion on 17/18 March 2014, we sent a letter to the Greek and other European MEPs asking for their dynamic involvement to produce results on this very important Animal Welfare issue [6].

5. This summer, we assigned to an opinion survey company to conduct on our behalf a survey on the impact of the animal abuse on our country’s tourist product. Unfortunately, it was not possible to extract safe conclusions due to the fact that part of this investigation was assigned to volunteers in order to reduce the cost, thus the sample was too small. Surely, it is absolutely certain that in a high degree, the Europeans and especially the Scandinavians stated, that they do not want to visit our country again because of our behavior towards animals.

However, we present to you an older surveyPresentation_abuse conducted by the same company on our mandate, where you will find useful information on the extent of abuse of animals by region, age, gender, level of education etc in Greece, the Greek students ‘ view on this topic as well as the inertia of the Greek authorities, which are responsible for the care, neutering etc. of stray animals.

We would be very interested to further discuss and analyze these conclusions in any meetings your Animal Welfare Unit organises in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Anastasia Vyssinou-Mpompolaki
President of the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation (50 Associations)
and the Panhellenic Steering Committee of 115 Animal Associations