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The first workshop on Animal Welfare for Eastern Europe and the CIS –
“Companion Animals – questions & answers”

Moscow, 15-16 May 2003

On May 15-16th, 2003, the first workshop on Animal Welfare for Eastern Europe and the CIS – “Companion Animals – questions & answers” took place in Moscow. It was organised by the Humane Society International. Participants came from more than 10 countries within Eastern Europe and the CIS, together with representatives from WSPA, the RSPCA and IFAW. Following the workshop, the delegates have agreed upon the following resolution – An appeal to international organisations, funds, Governments, the business community and the media.

The Resolution

The problems of animal protection, welfare and the promotion of a humane attitude towards animals in our countries has unfortunately been somewhat disregarded during the political transition period. This has led to a development of negative tendencies in stray animal control and has created a fertile field for the development of inhuman, brutal attitudes towards animals in society, resulting in the infringement of animal welfare principles concerning wildlife, companion animals and livestock.

At the same time, we have seen a growth in the number of non-governmental animal welfare organisations, giving proof of the growing awareness within society of animal protection problems.

Over the last few years we have witnessed a similar change in the focus of ecological issues; from one of just preservation of the animal world to one of the principles of animal rights and welfare. The idea of an ethical mutual existence between humans and animals has found more and more supporters in society. Thus we have a number of necessary pre-requisites for a radical change in the principles of co-existence between man and animals in the countries of Eastern Europe and the CIS.

The Moscow workshop 2003 has shown that our countries have similar problems and almost comparable launching sites for the successful realisation of programmes and projects concerning animal protection, especially with regard to effective stray animal control, the humane use of animals for entertainment, as well as outreach and education programmes within the community etc.

However, the quality of the State and private veterinary services in our countries, as well as the systemisation of standards of pet care leaves much to be desired. This is mainly because of the lack of qualified vets and a system of dog-wardens.

The lack or weakness of legislation regarding animal protection also reduces the effectiveness of animal welfare organisations.

But most importantly, although the non-governmental sector in our countries has been able to develop thanks to grants from international funds and other financial bodies, the animal welfare non-governmental organisations have been existing all this time on meagre donations from citizens, membership fees and the enthusiasm of volunteers within these organisations. Financial and technical problems have greatly slowed the development of this area in the CIS.

Considering the above, we, the participants, of the first workshop of this kind organised by the Humane Society International present the following appeal to the Humane Society International, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, other international funds and donor organisations, other animal welfare organisations in Europe and the USA, Government bodies, the business community and the media:

Taking into account present conditions and the growing positive pre-requisites and tendencies, we call upon:

  1. The international animal welfare organisations to focus their attention on the countries of the CIS by increasing technical, organisational and financial support to the animal welfare movement in our countries so that effective animal welfare programmes can be realised.
  2. To create a animal welfare coalition and strengthen the co-operation of non-governmental animal welfare organisations within the countries of Eastern Europe and the CIS in order to, together, be effective, develop, exchange experiences, lobby intergovernmental treaties and carry out wide-ranging animal welfare campaigns in our countries.
  3. Government and Municipal organs to work together for the expansion and legalisation of animal welfare activities in the CIS. Animal welfare problems require constant attention especially from the ministries of Agriculture and the Environment.
  4. The legislative organs of the countries of the CIS and Eastern Europe to increase the attention given to the development and adoption of local, national and international laws for the protection of animals and to promote their implementation in our countries.
  5. We consider it important to ask international funds and major donors, the business community in our countries and particularly large multinational companies working in our countries to show support to non-governmental animal welfare organisations as an essential element in the development of democratic reforms and principles of rights and humanitarianism in the countries of the CIS.
  6. The mass media, with an urgent request, to give more attention to animal welfare issues, disclose cases of cruelty towards animals and advertise and popularise animal welfare activities.
  7. We are grateful to the Humane Society International for organising such an important event for animal welfare societies in our countries. We believe that it will become a starting point for fundamental changes in attitudes towards animals in our countries and will promote the development of friendship and further integration of our countries into the international community.

Moscow, 16 May 2003

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