08/31/10 Distracting Attention from the Death of Animals

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Continued denial of failure by the responsible

- Even though the Macedonian media announced a lawsuit against the Zagreb Zoo, the director of Skopje's zoo now denies that in front of the Croatian media

Animal Friends yesterday presented information received through the collaboration with the Macedonian association for the protection of animal rights Anima Mundi about the shameful, slovenly and irresponsible transport of nine animals from Zagreb's to Skopje's zoo, which ended with the death of four animals – two deer and two antelopes.

The Director of Zagreb's zoo Davorka Maljkovic and the director of Skopje's zoo Dane Kuzmanovski resolutely denied any responsibility for the death of animals. They claim that the guilt bears only the transportation company Bero d.o.o., which is very irresponsible and far from truth.

At the press conference in Skopje a week ago, Dane Kuzmanovski clearly announced the launch of a lawsuit against the Zagreb Zoo and the transport company because of the death of four animals during transport. Together with the representative of the Macedonian Veterinary Administration in front of Anima Mundi and the media representatives he confirmed that animals were transported in tight trunks with only two openings for air in which they were not able to turn their head, without water, air conditioning, on a temperature of 40 Celsius degrees, and that four animals died in terrible agony. They said they paid for the transport, but that they blame the transport company and the Zagreb Zoo. Macedonian media reported about this, already in the headlines mentioning the announced lawsuit against the Zagreb Zoo.

Under the pressure of the embittered Macedonian public, Dane Kuzmanovski announced the lawsuit he now denies, although there is proof that can be verified. A few weeks ago after the first information in the media, the director of the Zagreb Zoo missed to call the press conference during which she would inform the public that nine animals instead of eight were sent to the Skopje's zoo and that four animals instead of two died. The animals were squeezed into too small trunks with only two openings for air in which they were not being able to move or stand upright and were sent to a thousand kilometres journey during the hottest days in early August. Employees of Zagreb Zoo should have seen that already during the boarding of animals. But, at Zagreb Zoo they deny any failures, which could be determined by an internal investigation of the liability of employees for placing animals in a vehicle with improper conditions for travel for the survival of the animals.

Zagreb Zoo sent nine animals on the long journey in a vehicle of the transport company with which it has already work and which openly admits that their animals 'happen die' during transportation. On the press conference Dane Kuzmanovski stated that the animals should have arrived to the Skopje's zoo in May, after they paid for transportation in February, but the Zagreb's zoo postponed the trip due to the pregnancy of six animals. The majority of animals was, therefore, sent to the journey quickly after giving birth, so it could be presumed that after obtaining the younglings they were no longer attractive enough to stay in the Zagreb's zoo.

If the director of Skopje's zoo, despite the announcement, will not sue Zagreb Zoo, this does not diminish the fact that the animals died unnecessarily and that those who sent them on the trip should also take the responsibility for this.

Animals are not items that are used for breeding and exchange, but beings who deserve respect for their natural needs. They alone would not choose life in captivity as exhibition pieces for entertainment of visitors, and they certainly wouldn't choose transport from one prizoon to another once they become less attractive.

Based on misdemeanor and criminal charges against the transportation company Bero d.o.o., Animal Friends demands from the competent authorities to also determine the potential responsibility of zoos for abuse and death of animals. They expect the inspectors to do their job responsibly and professionally, regardless of whether the anonymous individuals or well-known institutions violate legislation. From the representatives of the zoos they expect transparency in the work, the open expression of their own failures and taking responsibility for the health and lives of the imprisoned animals, because only in this way they can ensure their reputation and the trust of citizens.

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