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The animal friends of Croatia

Animal Friends Croatia's yearly city march against the country's farming and export of chinchilla fur.
Animal Friends Croatia's yearly city march against the country's farming and export of chinchilla fur.

South East Europe's most promising hope to end animal cruelty

Many Eastern European countries are notorious for their lack of animal protection laws, but Animal Friends Croatia is attempting to bring their country's appalling animal cruelty to a halt - and at the same time set an example to the rest of East Europe ... and perhaps the world.

The war is over - give animals a chance

Animal Friends Croatia began in around 2000, and their first target was the antiquated modus operandi of the Croatian Government. With next-to-no animal welfare laws, which commonly leaves cats and dogs hanging from trees by roadsides, Animal Friends set out to persuade bureaucrats in Zagreb to adopt a new bill. This move particularly impressed Looking-Glass, because it reflected a growing trend of a new generation of Croatians who simply wanted to climb out of an archaic, war-torn incumbency and step onto a road to recovery with a strong sense of compassion as their guide.
Any tourist with a keen eye will realize that not all is well with the animals of Croatia. According to Croatian law, any cat or dog more than 300 meters beyond town limits is considered strayed and therefore allowed to be killed, and hanging of the animals is permitted.
Other typical methods of disposing of the unwanted are similar to Greece; tying up live kittens and puppies in airtight bags and throwing them into dustbins, the sea or rivers. And again like Greece, there are also allegations that the government lay poison on town streets outside the tourist season, leading to horrific, slow deaths for the animals.
But the Croatian tourist industry is growing fast, even outstripping popular destinations like Spain and Greece. Above all, the property market is booming, as British and other west European buyers continue to clamour for a piece of Croatia, causing the fastest growing property phenomena anywhere in Europe. At worst, it may mean Croatia begins to adopt the vulgar characteristics of the Costa Del Sol, but on the good side, this transition and popularity could eventually be what turns round the government's way of thinking. As Ghandi suggested, ''You can judge the moral progress of a nation by the way it treats its animals''; and no western tourist wants to see dead animals on the street, and certainly don't want to be part of a culture that causes any kind of unnecessary suffering to them. So along with Animal Friends pushing from the inside of Croatia, things have to change for the sake of growing relations with the rest of Europe.

Young people of all ages are keen to educate fellow Croatians about the negative impact of animal cruelty.
With more tourists flocking to the country each year, the sight of animals hanging from trees (too shocking to show on this page) means traditions and laws have to change.

Goran Višnjic spreads the word accompanied by a faithful friend
Goran Višnjic spreads the word accompanied by a faithful friend.

Passion and desire for an animal-friendly Croatia

Today, Animal Friends Croatia has grown and stretched in various directions, spreading the animal welfare message across their country. Thousands now support the organization who put on effective and peaceful events in their main cities, often with artistic flourish.
Much to the dismay of a growing army of Croatian animal lovers, fur is high on their country's export agenda, being the largest producer of chinchilla fur in the world.
But Animal Friends have some famous celebrity friends at hand to offer support with their anti-fur campaigns. Star of American TV Series ER, Goran Višnjic even lends his dashing looks to their campaigns, and on the streets, performances by fire-eaters add extra high-octane drama to the anti-fur message. Inventive outdoor "theatrical" performances, fashion shows and concerts are regular campaign activities on the organization's calender.
From campaigns on circus animals, beagles, birds, seals, dolphins and even promoting vegetarianism with free tasty treats for passers-by in city squares, Animal Friends are hammering their message home to a new, more environmentally sensitive wave of East Europeans.
All it needs now is a change of heart from legislators inside a picturesque building at St Marc's Square, Zagreb. But although the government still hasn't warmed to the mass appeal young of Croatians, there's always hope, thanks to the continued pressure from their country's foremost voice for the animals.

What Next?

Looking-Glass hopes that Animal Friends will continue pressure on the Croatian Government as their No.1 priority; the proposal of a Croatian animal welfare bill for the 21st century to be proud of - and which might inspire all countries of Eastern Europe to follow suit.

If you would like to offer support to this passionate and inspiring organisation, visit their website and find out ways you can help.
(Choose English button on their front page)

A high octane anti-fur message for the people of Croatia.
A high octane anti-fur message for the people of Croatia.

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Find More Charities and Animal rescue organisations at our Directories Gateway
Read the news feature Pride, Poison and Prejudice around the Parthenon at Looking-Glass Global News
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