07/16/06 Demand to Ministry for Confiscating the Horses

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c/o Mr. Mate Brstilo, Dr.Vet.Med.
Ulica grada Vukovara 78
10000 Zagreb

Dear Mr. Brstilo,

We would like to appeal to you to react urgently in the case of labor horses in Bregana, about which Animal Friends has already informed the public and the media, sent a report to the veterinary inspection, and filed criminal charges at the District Attorney's Office, all of which you can seen in the attached documents. Even though shocked citizens and inspectors could see with their own eyes the wounded and exhausted horses, the latter are in danger of being further mistreated, abused, and lacerated.

We believe that the veterinary inspection has not acted according to the law and the professional ethics, since inspector Tomislav Skenderovic from the Veterinary Station Samobor has known for some time that the labor horses owned by Dario Juric were in very bad health and that one of them even died because of overburdening and a lack of appropriate veterinary care, all of which the aforesaid veterinary inspector considered "normal," given the fact that these are labor horses.

It is shameful that the representatives of veterinary profession in Croatia tend to belittle torture and suffering of animals that they are witnessing, instead of taking action according to their authority – in other words, they protect the abusers instead of protecting the animals. Unfortunately, our organization must face regularly the indifference of veterinary inspectors, who refuse to do what is in their power in order to help the animals or to cooperate with animal welfare associations, which lack the authority to do anything after being alarmed by the citizens apart from sending reports and seeking interventions by veterinary inspectors.

Because of the severe wounds on their bodies, the horses of Dario Juric must not be used for labor any longer. Moreover, they must be granted long-term expert care and veterinary surveillance, which their owner will hardly be willing to offer, since he is only capable of exploiting them for wood transportation. He has proved by his statements that he sees the horses only as labor force, not as living beings capable of suffering and experiencing pain. Therefore we demand that the veterinary inspection should immediately confiscate the horses and give six of them for adoption. Animal Friends organization has already found candidates among experts – associations for therapeutic riding and individuals, who have great experience and knowledge in working with traumatized horses and can thus offer them all necessary care and a dignified life.

Since Croatia is currently negotiating joining the EU, it should comply to the European legal legacy, which includes the laws on agriculture and rural development with clearly defined and valid directives on animal welfare. In case the Ministry of Agriculture fails to react by urgently confiscating the battered horses and offering them for adoption, Animal Friends organization intends to report the veterinary inspection and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Management to the European Commission on the charge of violating the five basic animal rights as defined in the Council Directive 98/58/EC (freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition; freedom from physical discomfort and pain; freedom from injury and disease; freedom to conform to essential behavior pattern; and freedom from fear and distress). Neglecting and ignoring the Directive, which promotes civilized and humane treatment of animals and protects their welfare, will certainly diminish Croatia's chances of joining the EU.

In hope of your prompt reaction and response,

Sincerely yours,

Snjezana Klopotan
Office Coordinator

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