#WorldCup2018: Russian animal rights groups demand to stop stray slaughter
The situation around slaughter of stray dogs in Russia ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018 is becoming critical: the animal rights groups, pet owners, and animal lovers are protesting against mass slaughter, organizing manifestations in cities hosting the championship. They blame local authorities to poison, shoot, and burn alive stray dogs, presumably to avoid any nuisance for sports tourists, expected to stream to stadiums in one month time. There is also strong suspicion in corruption, and diverting budget foreseen for dog shelters construction into civil servants pockets.
“FIFA and the LOC, in no way, condones cruel treatment of wild and stray animals. We take this responsibility seriously and seek to set a good example to others. With that in mind, we have developed a procedure on responding to the appearance of stray or wild animals in the stadiums. The procedure involves a number of stakeholders in monitoring and responding to any case in a humane manner to avoid any inappropriate reaction. The procedure was in effect during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and will be used for the FIFA World Cup this summer” – FIFA spokesperson said.
“Furthermore, FIFA and the LOC have made a legal analysis of Russian legislation and the management of stray animals in each of the host cities. We are in contact with the Host Cities with regards to the measures employed and expect them to ensure the welfare of the animal population“.
However the official position of FIFA does not correspond to the realities in Russian cities, massively eliminating stray in the cheapest way as shooting and poisoning.
Russian animal rights groups vow to continue organising the protests until the authorities stop the stray animals killings. They also promised to organise actions during the championship, in case their demands of humane treatment of animals is not heard. In Russia there is no law, protecting animals against human cruelty, although the draft legislation was proposed during the mandate of President Yeltsin, and had in view European ethic standards, it has been blocked by President Putin administration ever since.
“Our demands are very clear. We request to end the stray dogs slaughter immediately” – said to Europe Diplomatic Yuri Koretsky – the chair of the Alliance for Animals, promoting their welfare in Russia. The group understood that it is useless to continue writing letters and collecting signatures under petitions to Ministry of sports and Duma (parliament), when tenders for companies offering services of catching stray in 11 Russian cities hosting #WorldCup2018 were announced for the total amount of 110 million rubles (apx €1,5 million). The situation aggravated recently, Koretsky continued, explaining that his Alliance receives complaints from animal rights groups on daily basis with mounting evidence of barbaric slaughter, including dogs poisoning in the cities, embellishing their environment to host the championship. “We have to unite our efforts, and mobilise all those who want to stop barbarism to prevent further mass slaughter of stray in name of football”, Koretsky concluded, indicating that the next protest actions are on the way.