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Following backlash, SYRIZA-led government withdraws absurd legislation on pets and stray animals

In a country where the population of stray animals continues to be an issue, SYRIZA aimed to outlaw their care and adoption

Stray cat near the Acropolis in Athens. (Photo: Michael Nevradakis)

For those who are unaware, SYRIZA isn’t a traditional political party. It was a coalition of various “leftist” groups based around the old “Synaspismos” (“Coalition of the Left and Progress”) party. “SYRIZA” itself is an acronym, which means “Coalition of the Radical Left,” a masterpiece of Orwellian doublespeak if there ever was one. This coalition, before being officially abolished in 2012 to create a “unified” party, included at least three fringe “ecological” parties and movements.

In other words, SYRIZA is, in part, comprised of political personnel who we are supposed to be believe are sensitive to such issues as environmental rights, and by extension, animal rights.

Greece is a country which is infamous for its population of stray cats and dogs. Stray dogs are a common sight in Greece’s urban centers, although the problem today is seemingly less acute than in years past. Stray cats, on the other hand, are an omnipresent feature of the Greek landscape and could be considered an unofficial “trademark” of the country, featured on tourist calendars and postcards.

While many of these animals are essentially the beneficiaries of “community ownership” and are treated well, life on the streets is difficult, and unfortunately there exist many unconscionable individuals who often hurt and abuse these animals. On the part of the official state, little to nothing is done to control the population of strays, other than scattered local initiatives.

In comes the SYRIZA-led government to “save” the day. Or is it? Recent draft legislation prepared by SYRIZA and uploaded online for public deliberation would have essentially outlawed the care of stray animals (including spaying/neutering them). According to the Hellenic Animal Welfare Federation, some of the most adverse aspects of this legislation include the following:

  1. Outlawing animal welfare activities of citizens and organizations, including the rescue, spaying/neutering, and housing of stray animals.
  2. Prohibiting citizens and organizations from placing stray animals up for adoption.
  3. Outlawing all animal adoption initiatives and networks.

Essentially, the law would place all animal welfare organizations and groups out of commission, or require them to operate under the aegis of local municipalities — most of which do not possess the requisite capabilities to handle stray animals or perform animal rescue operations.

Furthermore, anyone found to be housing or rescuing stray animals or placing them would adoption would be considered an “illegal trafficker” and would be liable for imprisonment of one year and a monetary fine of €5,000 to €15,000.

Feeding of stray animals would, in turn, only be permitted at designated locations in each municipality. Those currently housing stray animals would be required to turn them over to their local authorities. Municipalities in Greece are generally not set up to handle the housing of animals, which means that such a law would likely lead to their mass euthanasia.

In addition, the number of household pets a citizen can possess would be determined by the size of their residence, and would be subject to monetary fines if this limit is exceeded. The spaying and neutering of all household pets would also be mandatory.

As a final touch — and a sign for things to come for humans as well if the “powers that be” get their way — veterinarians will face a €3,000 fine for treating an animal that is not electronically tagged and which has not been entered into a database.

Following a general outcry which followed the introduction of this draft legislation for public deliberation, the “radical leftist” SYRIZA-led government’s minister of agricultural development Vaggelis Apostolou announced that the legislation would be withdrawn and will be reintroduced with “alterations.”

At a time where the only living beings the aforementioned government seems to care about are its foreign paymasters in Brussels, Berlin, and Washington — and the massive waves of migrants which are being imported into Greece in the name of “humanitarianism” — while thousands of Greek citizens are homeless or have lost their livelihoods, it should come as no surprise that the otherwise “sensitive” SYRIZA-led government should show no concern for homeless and vulnerable animals either. There’s no money to be made from them or their rescue. Just ask FRONTEX.

Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.

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