12/22/15 Animals Must Not Be Placed Under the Christmas Tree!

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Animal Friends organization invites everyone not to buy animals and not to use them as gifts

- An animal in the house must be a well-planned decision of the whole family, not imposed responsibility

At the end of the year many people think of imaginative gifts for their dear and loved ones. It often happens that the gift is an animal being, i.e. a living creature - dog, cat, rabbit or some exotic animal. Statistics show that the puppies bought as Christmas gifts, especially those which are bought for children, often end up as abandoned dogs before summer holidays. Animals require a long-term, responsible, and daily care – commitment and coexistence with them must be a result of deliberate decision of a responsible guardian and the entire family, not an imposed and unwanted gift.

Animal Friends invite everyone not to buy animals like they are buying a scarf or a perfume. If you have the facilities to take care of an animal, visit one of the shelters for abandoned animals. Perhaps a warm sight of man's best friends attract someone for adoption, but, even if you do not house an animal, visiting the shelter can encourage someone to help find a home for a trembling and sad animal in a cage.

Except for dogs and cats, which often end up under the Christmas tree, exotic animals are especially popular to be given away as a gift, which is not only devastating for the unfortunate animal, but can also have tragic consequences for both the people and the environment. Inability to achieve complex living conditions in captivity, dangerous zoonosis, and the lack of veterinarian education about exotic diseases threat other species in the wild when they are rejected. Aggressive and toxic nature of many animals is just one of the reasons why no animal should be a gift.

In Croatia, there is no clear regulation of sale and keeping animals as companion animals. Animal Friends have suggested that the Ministry of Agriculture, by following the well established practice of Belgium and The Netherlands, in the Animal Protection Act, include a positive list, a list of the species that can be kept as companion animals. In that way there would be more effectively regulated a huge cost of repairing harmful effects of keeping exotic animals at the EU level. In addition, such a list means a concrete step toward the cessation of using animals as pets.

If you want to do something noble for the holidays, do not buy animals as occasional gifts, but help abandoned cats and dogs to celebrate the New Year in a warm house. Remember that the breeding and animal sale results in their suffering, and that no living being should be reduced to the subject of trade. Write to the Ministry of Agriculture to implement a positive list and, thus, prevent the suffering of wild animals, and ensure the reduction of the number of animals that would otherwise end up in shelters or centers for the rescue of wild animals.

If you want to give away the gifts that are related to animals and literally save their lives, let it be cosmetics that are not tested on animals, a lipstick without carmine, candies without animal ingredients, vegan food for dogs and cats, cotton gloves instead of wool, toy dog or cat from a pet store that does not sell animals, a DVD about animals, or donations of old towels to animal shelter.

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