One of the abused lions in Padalko private zoo, Porkovsk, Ukraine, is in critical condition, the local animal rights groups reported. In spite of a strong international response the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology did not react to save the abused animals from filthy conditions, and freezing winter temperatures. The inspectors confirmed the situation in the zoo does not meet a required standard, all animals are exhausted, and many of them are ill. The fences also do not meet the lowest security requirements, causing threat to public safety.
However the owner of the zoo Igor Padalko refuses co-operation with international charities, and does not allow local activists access to animals, although they reiterate their readiness to feed the animals, and also help to isolate the cages with straw, to help lions and bears to survive freezing temperatures without any shelter.
“These animals continue to suffer and the government does nothing. The investigator in the case was changed so that this case can be drawn out for as long as possible. This creature “PADALKO” owner of this horror zoo is protected by someone” writes Lionel de Lange, from Lawrence Anthony Earth (LAEO) wildlife charity on his Facebook page. South African, Mr. de Lange came to save the lions from Padalko zoo horrid conditions, and evacuate them to SA sanctuary. He has previously successfully saved lions from of squalid conditions of Ukrainians circuses, transferring them to SA, to their natural wildlife park. But this time unexpectedly his plans were interrupted.
Reportedly all the evacuations of the animals was cancelled due to interference of the Donetsk governor, Alexander Kuz, who is interested to receive solid state funds to reconstruct the zoo to offer it as an ‘entertainment’ for local children. The activists insist that children in Donetsk region close to the front line (!), have other needs, and by no means the fading animals can stay any longer in degrading conditions.
However the question of confiscation of Padalko animals, and closure of the squalid camp, is more than about the respect of the wildlife. It is about the intention of President Poroshenko to reform Ukraine, and align the country with the European Union (EU) norms.
The legendary Brigitte Bardot, and Stefan Eck, vice-president of the European Parliament Animal welfare intergorup (114 members) launched an appeal to President Poroshenko to keep his promise, and respect the EU Lisbon Treaty Article 13, stating that animal welfare is a “European value‘. But their appeal stayed without response – nothing happened, 5 lions, 11 bears and around 100 other animals are dying from cold and malnutrition in Donetsk steppe icy wind, while Ukrainian authorities are ignoring their suffering, and distress of all those across the world, who care.
The reference to the European values is not a theoretical exercise, the drama of Padalko animals happens amid the reception of one billion euro of macro-financial assistance to Ukrainian government to ensure the implementation of reforms, lifting the country to European norms, and standards, also in the field of justice and public administration.
“With Vice-President of the European Commission discussed the progress of reforms, the possibility of completing the current program of macro-financial assistance and providing Ukraine with a second tranche of 500 million euro in early 2019” Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman wrote in his Twitter mico blog.
The question is why the European citizens should agree to transfer the second tranche of EUR500, if the Ukrainian government, judiciary and civil servants do not show a slightest respect the European values?