"What animals are going through breeding for meat, milk and eggs cannot be described by words!"
The Institute "Koki" ("Zavod za zaščito rejnih živali Koki") in Slovenia (Bresternica near Maribor) provides shelter for so called "farm" animals and their work is closely observed by the Slovenian public.
Animal Friends association is the largest organization in Croatia which is fighting for the rights and protection of animals.
A few days ago we got visit and cheered up with some treats by "Koki" ambassadors saved from slaughter and taken out from the system of cultivation. We seized the opportunity for a brief interview on the issue of "farm" animals in general and we invited the president of Animal Friends, Mr. Luka Oman, for a "chat with an apple in the company of pig Dora".
1. By your estimation what are the key issues in the cultivation of "farm" animals?
Farmed animals suffer from birth until the end of cultivation, from transport to death in the slaughterhouse. What animal is going through a process of being cultivated for meat, eggs or milk is almost indescribable. Very few manage to grow up; most are slaughtered in their adolescence and some are being killed a day or two after birth. These animals are invisible although there is large number of them all around us. Every year the number of those killed animals in the world exceeds the horrific documentary "60 billions". They are invisible because the industry doesn't want them to be seen as living beings with whom we share this planet and for whose exploitation we do not have any excuse. Also because people as individuals do not want them to see and to confront the terror in which they take part. However, there are enough courageous people who are willing to fight against this great injustice by changing their own lifestyle and by spreading ideas of compassionate eating and veganism.
2. In Croatia you have havens for “farm” animals which we have visited. What is your assessment of the shelters role around the world? Why is their existence so important?
Shelters for those suffering animals are extremely important because they are happy places where each animal is free to show their individuality. These places show humanity as it should be; showing treatment of animals as it should be the rule, not the exception. Sanctuaries educate about the most basic and most important knowledge that people need to experience. The knowledge that animals are sentient and conscious beings like humans and that we need to treat them on that way from the earliest age. Cooperation between animal right groups and shelters is very important to send positive message that needs to get through after each animal suffering has been pointed out. Also, because of the direct link to join efforts and promote veganism, which is often missed, because we do not see animals that we save. For example, giving someone flyer with reasons for a vegan diet. Havens also provide an oasis of peace and hope for activists and give them the strength to persevere and to pass the idea to the new generations.
3. What is the attitude towards "farm" animals from Croat point of view and how is legislation regulated in this area?
The consumption of meat, milk and eggs grows each day. People eat animals and their secretions more often than three times a day without knowing it. One's body parts are packaged in colorful pots and they represent products in which many do not see the suffering and death of animals, world hunger, ruthless water consumption, environmental pollution and global warming, as well as human disease and further instability. Instead, they are reaching (as addicts) toward products that kill animals, people and the planet on which all of us are. On the other hand, there are more vegetarians and vegans every day; and this number is continually increasing. In Croatia there are more than 160 thousand people living on the meatless or vegan diet. Many vegetarians decide to step forward and become vegans. People are becoming aware of carnism that houses and leads to unstoppable change. There are more of those who are not ashamed to take an active part in the animal rights movement and be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
4. What projects are carried out in order to make a change?
As an association we are working on amendments for the Animal Protection Act and regulations. We cooperate with the state and local authorities and we have good results thanks to the individuals who help us by volunteering, signing petitions and giving us other kind of support. However, we are aware that this is only part of the activities to be implemented in order to encourage positive changes. Therefore, we organize demonstrations, lectures, public actions and we respond in public. We use many different ways to educate and draw people's attention to the situation in which those animals are. Every year in September, at the main square, we organize ZeGeVege Festival which promotes veganism and sustainable development. An important part of our work is to create cooperation among organizations and individuals and encourage personal activism for animals, which knows no boundaries.
5. What is your motto and what would you like to carry out to people?
Let’s seize every day - we live in order to live, not to survive. Animals need us all and everyone can help, no matter where we are and in what situation. By changing ourselves we change others. We are part of major, the most important change to mankind and let’s be part of the movement. Let’s encourage everyone around ourselves to make the smallest step and the smallest change because it is important to move in the right direction. Challenge everyone to change today because every step forward saves someone’s life and creates a better future. Join us or act independently and if you need a boost just visit the "Koki" Institute.
Prepared by: Ksenija V. Kutlačić
Photo: AFC, Institute Koki
Posted on zavod-koki.org 21. 10. 2015.
Published in November 2015.