12/21/11 Institute of Immunology is Sending Horses to the Slaughter

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Institute of Immunology Zagreb
Dr. Sc. Darko Dvornik
Rockefellerova ulica 2
10000 Zagreb

December 21, 2011

Dear Mr. Dvornik,

We address you appalled by learning from the media that the Institute of Immunology, which you are the director of, is sending 24 horses to the slaughterhouse because the Institute of Immunology is discontinuing the production of antidote for snakes, which is what the horses are continuously used for.

After publishing in the media, in a very short time we received a series of e-mails and inquiries from citizens who were shocked with this decision and the knowledge that yesterday and today some of the horses were already slaughtered. Although some individuals and organizations were prepared to buy the horses, provide accommodation and care for them, to rehabilitate the horses and allow them to continue with the peaceful life they deserve, the urgency with which horses are sent to the slaughterhouse is astounding. Although until recently they were used to extract blood to produce serum, you have made a heartless and immoral decision by condemning them to death instead of ensuring their "retirement," which is the least that should be done for them.

We emphasize that your actions are illegal, since according to the Rulebook on protection of animals used in experiments or other scientific purposes (Official Gazzette 047/2011), after the completion of the experiment the animal must be killed if there is the slightest possibility that they will suffer long term pain and exhaustion (Article 9, Paragraph 1). Therefore, you have ordered healthy horses to be killed and sold them to the slaughterhouse, without taking care of them adequately, which is why we will have to submit a report to inspection.

From your statements in the media, all we can see is financial interest regarding the functioning of the Institute of Immunology, whereby you refer to horses as unimportant expendable commodity. "It has been done this way for years, IIZ had 130 horses before, but the horse fund must be renewed at about 30 per cent a year because their liver suffers."

We remind you that we live in the 21st century, when the citizens' awareness of the value of non-human lives is increased, when animals should and can no longer be treated as objects without the capacity to feel suffering and pain. "Horse fund" which you speak of are animals exploited to the maximum whom you are sending to the slaughterhouse because they gave the best "offer." Such action disgraces your person and the Institute of Immunology as an institution, by condemning these sensitive and emotional animals to a brutal death in a slaughterhouse.

Business decisions in the 21st century cannot be made without taking into consideration the right to live of the animals which are being manipulated. These worn out and tortured horses deserve to continue their lives peacefully with people who are prepared to provide long-term care and love, or the Institute should take care of their "retirement." It is especially tragic that such a crime toward animals is done during the holidays, when the need for compassion to the weak, those who cannot help themselves and protect themselves from violence from people.

We demand that you show ethics and revoke the decision to slaughter the horses, and take care of their adoption or adequate "retirement." We will inform the interested public and media on your decisions.

Awaiting your reply, we send you our best regards.

Luka Oman
President of Animal Friends

Second letter to Dr. Sc. Darko Dvornik:

Dear Mr. Dvornik,

Thank you for your reply to our letter and you readiness to help the horses.

We ask that you tell us how many horses were slaughtered so far, and how many more line horses you need homes or adequate accommodation for. Also, we ask that you direct an invitation to the media to adopt horses, with more information on the remaining horses, on the basis of which they interested guardians can contact you, and we will help with adoptions as an organization.

We are aware that the horses, as you state, were worn out and butchered for years and we severely oppose such unethical practice, but that is precisely why they must be taken care of properly, so they could spend the rest of their lives in peace, instead of, after being used, being punished by slaughtering.

We are glad to hear that in the European Union such immunization practice was abandoned, but at the same time we regret that the Institute of Immunology, i.e. responsible institutions in Croatia, are forced to end such practice by European Union legislation, instead of conscience and ethical progress. In this situation it is obvious that citizens' consciousness on the need to protect animal rights has grown beyond the narrow pragmatic framework of the legislation, often motivated by profit and economic interest at the expense of living beings which are manipulated.

Although in the media you have clearly expressed that the Institute of Immunology is ending the practice of immunization of horses since it is financially not payable, we appreciate that you have expressed readiness to take into consideration protecting animals from exploitation and taking them to the slaughter. We thank you for suspending slaughtering the horses and intervening personally on the behalf of the remaining horses.

Also, we ask that you make public information regarding the financing of the stables of the Veterinary clinic Zlatar Bistrica, since transparency of the functioning of Institute of Immunology is very important to the public.

Awaiting further contact, we send you our best regards,

Luka Oman
President of Animal Friends

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