News

To keep the streets dog free – we need mandatory neutering of the yard animals

Posted on 13 September 2013

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The Romanian parliament voted for the euthanasia of stray dogs after 14 days in a municipal shelter. The decision comes after a 4-year old boy was mulled by dogs in a yard 1,5 kilometers away from a city park at the country’s capital. The tragic event was announced as a stay-dog attack by the police press-release and the incident was widely (and wildly) covered in all Romanian media.

Using the “dog card” for yet another time, the former mayor of Bucurest and current president Busesku wins the love of the masses with the politically inadequate “people are above dogs!” As a mayor Busesku already destroyed tens of thousands of dogs (including all that were neutered) in the city. Today, of course, there are twice as many dogs in the streets of Bucurest, but you should see those people voting for such a “decisive and brave politician”.

The well-played set of bloody laws that both president and prime-minister played is no coincidence. The same changes were voted back in 2011, but the Constitutional court of Romania ruled them as unconstitutional and they were dropped in the beginning of 2012. Today, they are written in the blood of a 4-year old child and seem untouchable.

Just like in Bulgaria, the Romanian state has no official data on the number of dogs owned. But, the statistics show that every year approximately 5 000 000 puppies are being born in the yards, courtyards and farmyards all over the country. ½ of them are destroyed by the mother’s owners at an early age, an insignificant number are rehomed and the rest are being dumped at the outskirts or in the closest settlement. It is the ones that survive who make the general, constantly stocked population of stray animals in the country.

The numbers are almost identical with what we have here in Bulgaria – a sociological research by Gallup from the end of last year shows that from 2 400 000 owned animals (both cats and dogs) 80% are being cared for outside the house, and 50% of the owners of female watchdogs admit to abandoning their puppies out in the street at least once. In the same time the number of neutered animals is low (17%) and it is mostly within the “apartment dog population” which is no important contributor to the stray dog problem.

Despite the obvious, the term “watch dogs” or “yard dogs” as the main source of new stray animals is being completely overlooked in both countries. Each spring and autumn season the yards spew thousands of unwanted puppies; closed down construction sites and depos get rid of their guard-dogs; villa owners chase away the animals for the winter. Neither Romania, nor Bulgaria control the dog owners of yard dogs and the few sanctions only apply to urban area owners. Registration is virtually non-existent.

To top this all the stray dog population programs are dumped on the political will and budget of the municipalities – most of which poor and often corrupt. Mayors prefer to invest in radical, lucrative and non-durable methods that bring immediate public approval and votes. The choice is between exterminating and the even cheaper dumping of animals in neighboring municipalities – the long-term solution simply requires too much effort. And a working Spay/Neuter program is by no means exhausted with the simple neutering of the existing stray dog population.

Just as 50 years ago we had to be taught to wash our hands by the then socialist state, today it is crucial to change the culture of dog ownership. People need to learn about neutering and deworming, they need to know where they can do it cheaply or for free. We just need a little control, nothing more – the abandoning of animals was already forbidden in 2008, by law, but since then there hasn’t been a single person fined by it. As the responsibility for this is tossed around between the Ministry of Agriculture, the Police and the Municipalities nothing is done to solve the issue. Instead, when there is a more severe case of a dog bite the most radical and unfounded opinions are widely distributed through the media, causing mass hysteria and putting emotions in the center of a simple, practical problem.

Yes, the Romanian experience is really very important to us. We need to carefully look at Romania’s last two decades and NOT do anything like them if we really want our stray dog problem solved. In some strange set of circumstances this happens to be one of the few things we have gone ahead of our neighbors. This is an obvious fact to anyone who has been to Romanian cities lately.

It can be said that the local populations in Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, Russe have been taken into hand as the municipal workers finally turn to the owners of yard dogs and begin to worry about the neighboring cities dumping dogs in their territory. Sofia and Russe are already offering free neutering to owned animals, you can barely see a dog in Plovdiv, and Burgas even boasts their own animal police unit in the municipal police which monitors registration.

However, steps in the right directions will remain only steps until we create a National strategy to solve the problem. It must include education and control of animal owners and be monitored on a state, not a municipal level, uniting the efforts to target both street populations and the animals in the yards.

Bulgaria has already shown, although with great difficulty, we can work adequately to solve the problem. In 5 years of comparatively good work Sofia has 3 times less animals living outside permanently. Just to illustrate this – at the end of his twice as expensive and ineffective dog culling program Mayor Sofianski “boasted” about 30 000 dogs in the street.

Populism is a big thing, but in the last few months the Bulgarian public has indicated that we’ve had enough of it. We are not cruel people either – as strange as this might seem, the very fact that so many animals are being released outside and not destroyed points out that our compatriots are just a step away from keeping their animals in a civilized manner. We only need to show them how and make it available.

Stella Racheva, Sofia 12.09.2013, TRUD

August 15 – September 15 – No admittance of new animals

Posted on 16 August 2013

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Dear friends, as you know – our contract at the Bogrov shelter ends this year.

We began working on this issue from the spring of last year, and have gone through an unbelievable amount of options. Starting at the idea to contract the municipality for a plot of land and build our own shelter on it (we had already made the architectural plan before the procedure was stopped by the municipal council on complaints by the regional mayor); going through the idea of contracting a run-down building from the municipality that we can renovate for our work (where we either had to work with a tiny number of dogs or keep them in unsuitable conditions); and getting to the wild notion that just a few months before the deadline, we must look for a suitable place to purchase for the work of ARSofia (here, as you can imagine – the big problem is money…)

The prolonging is due to the fact that we had to face crazy situations at every single step we made in the process – including having to file reports for an intentional delay of our papers at the Sofia city court… There have been obstructions at EVERY single step to be made, at EVERY single institution. But this is not new to us – in three and a half years we have already learnt that this is the Bulgarian reality and we just have to keep moving no matter what.

In order to not complicate the already difficult situation even further – we need to seriously reduce the number of dogs that we have living permanently in the shelter. As you know – august is vacation time for most of our European partners, rehoming trips are scarce, but in the same time the influx remains the same. Again, we are put in the situation to have to refuse admittance to a large number of angry people.

We understand the tension and worry of all the people who are trying to find a solution for their animals, but we cannot be miracle-makers. One single shelter cannot help all the dogs out there. It is very difficult and nerve-racking both to us and to the people who seek help from us.

We kindly ask you to understand that we have a duty to the dogs we have already admitted to the shelter and cannot compromise their health and safety by endlessly stuffing new animals in, without being certain of the future we can provide for them.

We are not the kind of people who wait for everything to go from bad to worse and scream “our 500 dogs have nowhere to go!” So we must take precautions and we believe that anyone who has made the effort to understand the situation will agree with us. What is more – we do have a huge amount of animals that need us just as much.

We continue to work as hard as we can, to rehome and help as many animals as possible. But who will be there to help them tomorrow if we fail to provide for the future of this organization today?

Thank you for your kindness and support!

P.S. Don’t be afraid – the ones who want to work will work. And we are ones who want to work and will continue to do so, no matter what. For that – we must thank you – the people that make this organization what it is – a citizen’s, non-governmental organization. Made by people, financed by people and ran by people.

However much we feel like saying “damn you, bloody government, it is your work we are doing, give us that bloody place to work” – we know that after all, the key to everything we manage to achieve is that we are not a part of the government machine. Do not worry – it might be hard, it might be hard as hell, but things will work out. Because the decision, after all, is not up to the government, it is up to us. It is us who are that civil society everyone in Bulgaria is crying crocodile tears over. We prove it every single day, and will continue to prove it in the future.

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Dog Behavior International Course – Sofia 2013, July 16-19

Posted on 05 August 2013

 

 

 

 

 

A short report

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We are often skeptical about experts from western countries when it comes to solving our stray-dog problems, because we are aware how different our realities are, but also the people’s mentalities, pet-ownership traditions and etc. But in the case of Steve Goward we have a person with a huge professional experience and one that has been built in countries all over the world. Including places that make Bulgaria’s problems look ridiculous.

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The seminar was of real value – it is impressive to see people who can deliver a new point of view to hard-core dog-people such as ourselves and our colleagues with no pretense, but in the same time with a deep understanding.

We thank all our colleagues who joined us with a real enthusiasm and a great mood! We did have a hard time in the summer heat and managed to demonstrate the famous Bulgarian non-punctuality, but Steve and Ally showed full understanding – after all, we were all there for the dogs.

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We are happy and proud with the success of this meeting, we are very happy to have worked with colleagues who know the importance of being up to date with the latest in dog ethology. To our regret, as usual, most of the municipal representatives showed little interest. But we are very happy to see more and more people willing to work professionally and with a profound knowledge in dogs.

Our warmest appreciation to Steve, Ally and Dogs Trust for this wonderful opportunity. We can say with a satisfaction that we have been putting our new knowledge to work already. We wish our old and new friends from the Seminar great success and many rescued dogs!

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Invitation

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Dear animal welfare workers,
We kindly invite you to take part in a Dogs Trust International course on Dog Behaviour.

Held over four days the course will include many activities which then you can put to use in your own daily work with dogs, making it easier to handle dogs, assess and correct their behavior.

The seminar is specifically aimed at animal welfare workers who deal with dogs in distress on a daily basis – shelter workers, veterinary personnel, CNVR assistants, and other professional animal rescue workers.

This will be the perfect opportunity to meet other proffecionals and share your knowledge. Delegates travelling long distances from Sofia will be provided with accommodation for the duration of the workshop.

The seminar is divided in two segments:

  • Theoretical part (July 16 and 17): Do’s and Dont’s of positive reinforcement – the Dogs Trust experience. Takes place in the ATM Hotel conference room;
  • Practical part (July 18 and 19): Working with dogs in the field. Takes place in the Bogrov shelter, hosted by Animal Rescue Sofia.

Please note that the course will be held in English and does not include a translator.
The seminar and trainings will be kindly hosted by Animal Rescue Sofia.

Dogs Trust

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Dogs Trust is UK’s largest dog welfare charity. Formerly known as the National Canine Defense League, the organization was founded in 1891.

The charity rehabilitates and finds new homes for dogs which have been abandoned or given up by their owners. It also runs microchipping and neutering schemes in the United Kingdom and abroad, in order to reduce the number of unwanted litters of puppies and stray dogs put to sleep by other organizations.

Dogs Trust has 18 rehoming centers across the UK, and its first International rehoming center opened in November 2009 in Dublin. The organization has a brilliant rehoming record of over 16 000 dogs per year.

The Dogs Trust are known for their slogans: “A Dog is for Life, not just for Christmas” and “Dogs Trust Never Put a Healthy Dog Down”.

Speaker

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Steve Goward (Animal behaviourist)

Steve works as the Deputy Head of Canine Behaviour & Training at Dog’s Trust. His career started as a canine carer at the DT Shrewsbury centre 10 years ago. Steve continues to study canine behaviour in order to help dogs that are struggling to cope, both in the kennel environment and once they go to new homes.

Steve enjoys sharing his expertise on subjects including stereotypical behaviours, learning sets, dog aggression & learning theory. He has led training workshops for a number of Dogs Trust’s partner organisations overseas and spoken at the International Companion Animal Welfare Conference, as well as seminars for the Scottish Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the National Dog Technical Support Group.

Previous experience

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This is the second Dogs Trust Educational Seminar to take place in Sofia. In September 2011 Animal Rescue Sofia hosted a Dogs Trust International Training Seminar for Animal Welfare representatives with the topic of educating school children on responsible dog ownership.

During the 2 days of the seminar Dogs Trust speakers Alison Russell and Hollie Sevenoaks covered every topic on child education on animal welfare in schools and outside. The delegates also had the opportunity to see a real live lesson, hosted by the 201 “St. Cyril and Methody” elementary school.

How to apply for participation

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To register for the seminar download THIS FORM, fill it in and send it to office@arsofia.com by June 19.

The training course has a capacity for 25 people. Participants will be chosen on account of the topics covered in the seminar and their daily experience with dogs.

The doggies will get food from our friends at Chicopee for another 3 months!!!

Posted on 26 June 2013

As you know, our 500 doggies have been receiving 300 kilos of dry food from our friends at Chicopee every month since February:

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This month, along with the 300 kilos of food that were brought to us, the Chicopee car brought good news to the shelter – Mr. Anton Antonov and his colleagues will continue their donation for another 3 months!

Contrary to what most people expect – it is the summer months that are most difficult for us at the shelter, not the winter. Although the expenses and troubles do grow in proportion with the temperature plunge – our winter doggies are not easily forgotten. The people that love them think of them every time they shiver in the cold wind; when they open the trash bin lid, heavy with snow; when the see the ones still out in the street, trying to find little warmth closer to people, being chased away…

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But in the summer, we humans are rather less capable of compassion – who wants to think of pain and sadness when it is such a lovely sunny day outside?  So, in the summer we must make it with half of what we usually find – donations, adoptions and volunteers are scarce in the hot days of Sofia. We still remember that first summer at the shelter 3 years ago, when no one had heard of us. Then, a special Person who would never have her dogs go hungry turned every piece of jewelry she had in her family into food and medications for the shelter dogs… Today things are different. Today, our dogs have friends!

Here is Anton from Chicopee – bringing this month’s donation – 300 kilograms of kibble:

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And this is just a tiny bit of the 500 hungry throats that manage to gulp down 300 kilograms of dry dog food on a good day:

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The thanks for this donation go to Anton and his Canadian colleagues. Anton told them about our work and together – they made the decision to spend their advertisement budget for something that matters – helping us feed the 500 hungry doggies at the shelter.

We tell them a huge – BRAVO! by clicking a Like on THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE.

Bon appetite, doggies! You will never starve again now that you have friends who care for you!

ARSofia RELOAD Party!

Posted on 24 June 2013

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E 895 were raised for the dogs and cats of the Bogrov shelter by the 111 guests on Saturday’s ARS- reload party! Thank you for joining us – it was a real treat seeing you and speaking to you in this fun and relaxed environment, after so many months of work-only meetings with so many poor creatures to help out.

The fabulous amount you raised was enough for us to make this Monday’s medication order for 2 weeks ahead; also cover the bill we already had for Spay&Neuter materials and order a new batch that should last the first 10 days of July! We wish for your health and happiness, may you be as lucky and blessed as the animals you are helping find care, shelter, a family and love.

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The little cat on the last photo was dumped at the venue a while ago, he is looking for a home and is a ve-e-ery sweet character

We thank all the kind people who brought stuff for a charity sale. A big hug for the volunteers and staff-members who “sacrificed” for the organizational duties whilst all the rest of us had fun in the spitting contest or just blabbering on with friends with a beer in hand.

See you soon! We will be organizing a meeting again when everyone is back in the city – in the autumn, meanwhile – see you in the shelter!!!

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Kremmy Ivanova made all the colleagues fun t-shirts for our 3-rd annivercary!

We all have our orange outfit with our shelter nickname on the back! 

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5000 neutered.
2000 rehomed.
3 years of ARS.
1270 days of work at Bogrov.

Long enough time to get tired and dull. Yes… If it weren’t for Danny Vassileva and USMIVKA children’s center, it would have been half a year without a party in 2013.

IT’S TIME FOR A PARTY!

We haven’t seen you for such a long time, friends! And so many exciting things have happened – we have achieved so much together! Yes, there is loads to talk about. Also, the shelters’ contract runs out at the end of this year – changes are ahead of us that will require all our energy and wits… Definitely a lot to talk about!

  • We will be meeting at our traditional venue – the diner with a garden on James Bourchier blvd 23.
  • The date is June 22, the longest day of the year – 15h and 19 min.
  • The party starts at 17. As usual there is a “ticket” of BGN 10.
  • Our t-shirts will be there as well!

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What:

Dear friends, you are invited to a charity party!

SIGN UP AS A GUEST ON FACEBOOK

When:
22.06.2013

The party starts at 5 p.m.

Where:
Sofia 1164, James Bourchier 23 blvd

See photos from a previous event at the same venue HERE.
Вижте по-голяма карта

Shocking animal cruelty: A dog dragged by a car for kilometers (16+)

Posted on 10 June 2013

Еdit

12.06.2013

The police found the dog’s body burried just outside the village. Raycho, the owner, has been detained for 24 hours. The Procecution is said to be working on the case.

The Bulgarian public was once again shocked by a case of animal cruelty in a village near Plovdiv. Tied to the draw-bar of a car and dragged on for many kilometers, a helpless dog suffered horrible injuries as it left a long bloody trail to the margins of the village, before it was dumped to die there.

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A witness to the crime – Nikoleta Angelova, a student, saw the horrible scene on her way to Greece last Friday and tried to stop the torture. She was dismissed by Mr. Ivanov who told her:  “the dog has to suffer”. She photographed the crime and posted it on Facebook. After it sturred great anger online, a report was filed with the local police.

The police report to have found the person whose car and dog this is. The man is 55 year old Raycho Ivanov from the village Topalovo (near Asenovgrad), a plumber. He was taken into custody briefly and dismissed.

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The media have broadcasted a photo of the alleged perpetrator 

The reports on the dog’s condition and whereabouts are conflicting – it is said to be taken to a veterinary assistance the next day – Saturday. We do not have information whether the dog is still in veterinary care, or returned to the owner.

Raycho Ivanov’s neighbours comment that he is a man of bad temper and quickly becomes agressive when he is upset. According to the Police this was supposed to be a punishment for the dog who had somehow misbehaved.

Bulgaria was the last EU country to list animal cruelty as a crime – in 2011. The Procecution Beauro in Assenovgrad has begun an investigation on the case of animal cruelty. If Raycho Ivanov is found guilty he will be facing a fine up to 5 000 Bulgarian leva (2 500E) and up to 3 years in prison.

ALSO READ: The story of Borko, the puppy who was paralyzed after a beating in his own home – a petition

Kalcho’s new clothes

Posted on 06 June 2013

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Our lovely transport bus got a new branding in correspondence with the new EU regulations thanks to the wonderful team of Sphere Design!

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We also got a huge discount for his new tires from our friends at Kristo-2! Our friends there already helped us once before, we thank them for not seeking profit from the doggies.

To everyone who is helping – a bow and great admiration from all people and animals at ARS.

Kids’ party – June 02!!!

Posted on 02 June 2013

The recupperation

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We had a lovely, fun-filled party for Chidren’s day this year at USMIVKA Children’s Center! The grumpy clouds and cold weather stopped many of our friends from coming, so it was a bunch of the craziest and most steadfast of dog friends showed up! It was a super comfortable and easy-going afternoon in Boyana, we felt at home!

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518 BGN were raised for the ARS animals this time!

We are very, very grateful to Danny Vassileva and USMIVKA Children’s Center for their hospitality and support! Here is their FACEBOOK PAGE – Smiling Party, they are a great team of professionals, remember them next time you need a place for a kid’s special occasion.

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The invite

JUNE 02, 4 pm
Childrens centre USMIVKA

Sofia, Boyana
Kumata № 47 str

We welcome you to a re-run of our fabulous kids party at child centre Usmivka! There will be a lovely dog representative from the Bogrov shelter and many exciting games for the kids!

As the space is limited, please make sure you sign up in advance with organizer Danny Vassileva – via her phone 0888 191 001 or Facebook profile.

TICKETS: 5 BGN per child, 10 BGN per adult, 25 BGN for a family ticket (2 kids, 2 adults)

SIGN UP TO OUR FACEBOOK EVENT

YOU ARE WELCOME!

See some photos from last year’s fun:

ARSofia at the 13-th BMW national gathering

Posted on 31 May 2013

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ARSofia took part in the 13-th annual BMW gathering, organized by the Bulgarian BMW Club enthusiasts! The club members raised 206 BGN for the cats and dogs of Animal Rescue Sofia, handed out leaflets to the show visitors and made sure our cause reached loads of new people.

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We are very grateful to the Bulgarian BMW Club for the hospitality they extended on their holiday. Our kind regards to the Governing board and the CEO Rossen Kolarov for their support! And a big hug for Valeria Dimova who organized everything on the spot!

ARSofia at the Career With A Cause forum

Posted on 17 May 2013

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Over 30 organizations from the NGO sector will be attending the first ever “Career With A Cause” forum that will take place in the yard of the Sofia University on June 18 from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.

The representatives of the non-governmental organizations will be introducing the visitors to the opportunities they could have in terms of internship, volunteer work and a career in the sector.

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Animal Rescue Sofia is also among the organizations at the forum!

Volunteer Marietta will be there, together with a furry representative of the Bogrov shelter!

Besides the brochures and information about the work they can do as volunteers, people will also find our new t-shirts at Marietta’s table!

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We thank the wonderful people who organized the event – the “Re-Act” society. You can download a press-release in Bulgarian HERE.

Volunteers fundraising: Online charity bazaar

Posted on 15 May 2013

Dear friends,
as you well know – the work of our organization is funded through donations solely. This means that: first – there is a group of wonderful people who are generously giving for the animals in need, even though they don’t have much themselves; second – the shelter is constantly penniless, working in constant financial uncertainty.

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Although she cannot afford a donation towards our 500 doggies herself, Irena Nedyalkova from Blagoevgrad has found another way of helping them financially! She has organized an online charity bazaar in benefit of the shelter on Facebook.

Everything that the bazaar manages to accumulate will go to the Bogrov shelter. So far the bazaar has raised over 160BGN, which have been transferred to us by Irena and used to pay a part of an urgent medication bill. Here is an excerpt:

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You can contact Irena and get involved in the charity bazaar here:
БЛАГОТВОРИТЕЛЕН ОНЛАЙН БАЗАР В ПОМОЩ НА БОГРОВ

We thank all the donors who make the existence of this shelter possible!
And thank you, dear Irena, for your effort, enthusiasm and support!

irena  Irena and her best friend Raya

We can stop vivisection in Europe

Posted on 10 April 2013

Dear friends,
as citizens of the EU, we have the mechanism to change legislation. 1 000 000 signatures of adult EU citizens from minimum 6 countries are enough to provoke a hearing in the European Parliament.

Vivisection is cruel and unnecessary. It costs the life-long agony of over 12 000 000 of animals every year only in the EU. There are new alternatives to it that multimillion companies ignore. Act now!

SIGN THE CITIZEN’S INITIATIVE HERE

Visit the web-page of the initiative:
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What is “Stop vivisection”?

It is an official European Citizens Initiative, registered under the number ECI(2012)000007. You will find the complete information about the aims, committee and sponsors of the Initiative AT THIS LINK. It is the first European Initiative for animal rights.

This Initiative is official, legitimate and multinational. It aims to the collecting of 1 000 000 signatures of legal aged EU citizens, in order for the EP to have a public hearing, followed by a change of legislation.

The object is to prove to the EP that the European community is not in favor of animal testing and wants vivisection banned, and the companies producing chemical house supplies and medication move to more advanced, cruelty-free methods of testing that will cost them a little more, but will spare the lives and agony of hundreds of thousands of lab animals.

From Bulgaria, we need to raise at least 16 500 signatures. Although the initiative has been active for many months, there are only 355 people who signed from our country, as a whole – 200 000 signatures have been raised so far. The deadline for the initiative is 2013.

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Биглите са най-популярни като лабораторни животни заради едрото си тяло, ниския си ръст и добрия си характер.
Кликнете на снимката, за да посетите сайта на американските Beagle Freedom Project.

What is vivisection?

Wikipedia: Vivisection (from Latin vivus, meaning “alive”, and sectio, meaning “cutting”) is defined as surgery conducted for experimental purposes on a living organism, typically animals with a central nervous system, to view living internal structure. The term is sometimes more broadly defined as any experimentation on live animals.

We use the term to describe all forms of testing on live animals.

For more information visit the webpage of the International Association against Painful Experiments on Animals.

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Въпреки, че е незаконно, Медицинският университет в Пловдив използва живи зайци, за да демонстрира шокови показатели чрез изтезание, вместо запис.
Кликнете върху снимката, за да прочетете повече.

What has been done so far?

Citizens of the EU, such as ourselves have long been fighting the horrible and mass practice of animal testing. Thanks to their efforts many new rules have been applied to the animal testing in cosmetics.

Step by step, test by test, friends of animals defeated the cosmetic giants, leading to a great victory – March 11, 2013 was the day that totally banned the selling of cosmetic products tested on animals.

You see a timeline in details about everything that has been achieved so far AT THIS LINK.

How to sign?

It will only take you 2 minutes to sign the petition. The requirements are your names and a number (ID, social security, or personal – it depends on your country of origin).

SIGN THE INITIATIVE HERE

Thank you! Please share with friends and relatives!

osvobodeni shimpanzeta sled 30g v lab

Шимпанзета виждат слънчевата светлина за първи път след 30 години живот в лаборатория.
Кликнете върху снимката, за да видите първите им стъпки на видео.

Hoarder Victims

Dashboard

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