VeggieGlobal Supports Animal Welfare Bill Proposal
After the invitation of Mr. Stjepan Mesic's - President of Croatia - cabinet, organization Animal Friends Croatia started the initiative of making a bill for the new Animal Welfare Act of Croatia which is now supported by the whole world!
Hundreds of letters of support are arriving to the addresses of AFC, Croatian Parliament and Government, President's office and Croatian media. Now, VeggieGlobal and Looking-Glass web sites also actively support this initiative. Their author Mr. John O'Donnell sent these days hundreds of letters to the media in the UK and contacts in the USA with the following content.
VEGGIEGLOBAL PAVES WAY TO SUCCESS FOR CROATIAN ANIMAL WELFARE BILL PROPOSAL
London - United Kingdom
A UK animal friendly website has become a key factor in helping Croatia to establish a major new animal welfare bill.
UK run VeggieGlobal.com is a Looking-Glass.co.uk vegetarian site that also presents various campaigns and appeals of a compassionate nature. The site's VoiceOver campaign has been providing an easy way for Veggieglobal and Looking-Glass visitors to send letters of protest to world leaders.
The letters ask leaders to consider creating new laws in their country, usually to stop appalling treatment of animals and the environment. The current campaign was inspired by Animal Friends Croatia, a recently formed animal welfare organisation. Together, Animal Friends and VeggieGlobal have helped to flood Croatian president Stjepan Mesic with hundreds of public E-mails from around the world stressing concern about a barbaric Croatian law. At present, the law allows shocking conducts of animal cruelty that would put any European country to shame.
Hung From the Branches of Trees
According to Croatian law, any cat or dog more than 300 meters beyond town limits is considered strayed and therefore allowed to be killed. Cats, kittens, dogs and puppies have been found hung from the branches of trees, most notably in the Medjimurje area of Croatia. Throughout the last year, there have also been numerous cases of puppies, dogs and cats being intentionally shot by hunters. In one example over the last few days, a 14-month-old dog was brutally killed by two hunters in front of 12-year-old boy. The incident happened in Slakovci, again in Medjimurje area.
In the Balkans and eastern regions of Europe, animal abuse is widespread, and even before the wars it was common. Similar to countries like Brazil, they culturally view strays in a way the west views cockroaches. In some Eastern European countries where animal welfare education and laws are almost non-existent, cruel and painful acts of killing unwanted animals are rife. Typical methods are tying up live kittens and puppies in airtight bags then throwing them into dustbins. Or else, dumped alive into the sea and rivers. There are also allegations that some governments periodically lay hazardous poison on town streets outside the tourist season, ultimately leading to horrific slow deaths for the animals.
VeggieGlobal has been helping Animal Friends Croatia to put together a draft for this much needed new animal welfare bill, which they want to base mainly on the UK animal protection act with consultations of the German, Swedish and European Union laws. One of the proposals is to introduce a spay and neutering program throughout the entire country, and at the same time an educational program to encourage the Croatian public to learn and ultimately respect the welfare of their animal population.
Right to the Heart of International Leaders
The response to the Croatian appeal and other online petitions like James Bond star Pierce Brosnan's whale appeal, is showing how the internet is maturing into a useful tool that allows street level interaction from and across all cultures. It can alert and raise awareness right to the heart of international leaders.
VeggieGlobal and Looking-Glass creator John O'Donnell says, "I put the VoiceOver appeal on line in late February and also alerted a colleague in America who has reliable links with animal groups there." Heather Chase, a popular American model and animal welfare author was distressed by the report and passed the VeggieGlobal details onto the Humane Society of the United States. The combined results meant that hundreds of e-mails flooded the Croatian government.
Animal Friends Croatia only formed at the end of 2001 and is run by a few dedicated pioneers in raising awareness of Croatian animal suffering. "We couldn't believe it when the government contacted us to discuss putting together a new law," says Bernard Vjeran Franolic from Animal Friends. "As a result of the international pressure through the e-mails, our organization's president Domagoj Pintaric was invited to Stjepan Mesic's cabinet," says Bernard. "The outcome of the meeting with Mesic's representative was that Animal Friends were asked to draft a bill for the new animal welfare law of Croatia. I believe it is needless to say how much we were surprised by this turn of events. Actually, we were kind caught off guard, because we weren't expecting anything like this at all!"
Getting the Balance Right
Animal Friends have now signed a contract with Zagreb's Department of Agriculture and Forestry, who have given them only L400 for a 6 month project to deal with the stray animal problem in the city. Animal Friends' president Domagoj Pintaric is very disappointed and deeply insulted with the contract. "In 6 months, and just L400, we are supposed to solve a problem that the town council weren't capable of dealing with over many years!" Bernard Vjeran Franolic says that the department usually gives L570 each month to various organizations for their projects. "However, many of these organizations are only 'on paper'. They readily take the departments money, but are unable to properly justify on what they are spending it on. And altogether they get L6,830 over the year. Whereby we have L400 for the same period, to deal with the hundreds of stray dogs on the streets of Zagreb."
In the meantime John O'Donnell of VeggieGlobal.com has worked from the UK side, sifting through animal protection acts and amendments from every available resource. "I've been researching, reinterpreting and re-examining ways to wrap together the best of past, present and most importantly, future ideas in managing quality animal welfare from all angles of conservation," says John. "It's a matter of getting the balance right, by designing an overall treatment, which should help the Croatians generate a substantial bill relative to their culture and kind to all their animals." "It's also important that the bill includes clauses on introducing an educational curriculum on the subject of animal treatment. This way, the country's people can be educated to understand the importance of alleviating animal suffering, and at the same time learn to respect and conserve their environment."
The pressure is on in Croatia for Animal Friends' Domagoj Pintaric, who says they are planning to propose a bill that would include banning the following: Experimentation on animals for cosmetic and cleaning products, the fur industry in Croatia, raising and breeding of exotic animal species, circuses with animal acts, transportation of farm animals over Croatian territory, fishing with drift nets, blood sports and dog fights, using animals in pornography, abusing animals for tradition, religious killing and cultural expression.
"Animal Friends Croatia and myself are amazed at the compassion Stjepan Mesic has shown towards this appeal," says John O'Donnell. "This simple, straightforward response of good will by a country's president should certainly set a great example for other world leaders to follow. We hope that the Croatian public, and the world can soon applaud Mr. Mesic once this groundbreaking new bill comes into play. We are working on forward thinking outlines at the moment and also hope that the completed bill will stand proud as a useful template for any other country that currently shows negative regard for its animals and environment."
Corporate Hospitality With a Compassionate Twist
"The response by the Croatian Government lays a huge responsibility for all of us concerned in putting this bill together," says John. VeggieGlobal is now looking into ways of generating sponsorship through UK and US animal and environmentally friendly organizations, and even commercial businesses. "It's a bizarre situation really," says John. "Croatia seems unable to afford the costs of putting together the bill's draft, so they can't finance any of the research needed for such an important environmental law."
Compassionate public response to animal welfare appeals is higher in the UK than many other countries. But John O'Donnell feels that since animals don't live by political boundaries, why should one country's animal life suffer so severely against another? "In my view, if any poor country shows the consideration to improve their animal and environmental well-being, but not the money to afford the administrative process, then rich nation corporates can surely offer help by digging into the pockets of their charitable funds," says John.
The entire Looking-Glass web system is non-profit and runs on thin air, and VeggieGlobal needs UK sponsorship to help it provide the Croatian group with the support and expertise they desperately need.
John says, "Corporate hospitality for an entire country's animal population, its supporting environment and its future stability... all saved for the cost a few thousand pounds!... That's how I see it, and it seems like a good deal to me!" "If there are animal friendly funding organizations out there in the UK, then do get in touch with us," he says.
Amongst its other campaigns around the sites, VeggieGlobal.com will continue to support the Croatian appeal. Its parent site, Looking-Glass is also launching a major vegetarian/animal testing labelling campaign soon. "In the meantime we are keeping up the pressure with the Croatian Voice-Over appeal," says John. "This is to ensure that the Croatian government recognize the international importance of making this bill a reality."
More about Looking-Glass and VeggieGlobal
After realising the internet's potential to generate powerful international awareness towards world healing, composer and musician John O'Donnell launched Looking-Glass and VeggieGlobal at the stroke of midnight on the turn of the millennium. He turned his visionary skills to the web after producing animal welfare fund raising projects with vegetarian animal activists such as Carla Lane and the late Linda McCartney.
While the dot-com industry boomed and busted, John continued as a lone independent to create one the worlds largest free independent on-line environments of its kind. It is now drawing together a growing community of people compassionate about animals, the environment and humanitarian issues in general.
"The idea was to build a cool and easily absorbed resource that bridged the gap between street level mainstream and compassionate living in general," says John. "These sites generally stay focused on what would otherwise be considered as side fillers - usually pushed out of the public eye in favour of Big Brother, football, Popstars and other general pap for the dumming downers." "When I say Looking-Glass attracts interaction right from street level I literally mean it ... An e-mail came in recently from a woman in Canada. She's part of an awareness group who are going round cities writing quotes on sidewalks that relate to links on their website... Looking-Glass and VeggieGlobal being two of them!"
Looking-Glass / VeggieGlobal Opinion
Has the web learnt to speak?
The web is finally beginning to grow up. Like any toddler it needs find its feet by learning how to walk - then finally it learns how to speak. Before this, it would have fallen over and hurt itself a few times - accompanied by a string of incomprehensible babble. But eventually, stability, coherence and comprehension all begin to take shape.
Perhaps now, the diapers are no longer needed as the Internet finally begins to take control of its true usefulness in an otherwise pulp-info-overloaded planet.
The web's greatest asset is the ability to leap back and forth across international boundaries indefinitely. Sharing awareness by crossing continents in a way that can bypass a country's spin doctoring and propaganda. A voice of compassion across the web can touch the hearts of millions regardless of creed or colour. In this public domain, ordinary people from every cultural background have the ability to voice their concern from the heart - and around the world those words will be noted and felt with more personal effect than any TV or newspaper can express.
However much the commercial sector may have suffered in the dot com gold rush and bust, the web has created this entirely new way to mediate a positive thought, and potentially heal a bad situation on many levels. It's the tool, and therefore the ability of any person in the street - or even jungle - to make a genuine difference. Much of the world now has the ability to heal through this global maize of cyber consciousness.
Apart from this, the Internet somehow shows that we are all not so different than we might have once thought. The web is proving that we can all become friends, from one cultural extreme to another. Break through the surface of a country's politics, traditions, customs and propaganda, and we soon realise that we all feel the same passion, joy and sorrow. Internet email, messaging and chat, show how this moral fibre of life touches our inner emotions in much the same way, whatever part of the world we live. The web strips away the façade and prejudice that we have otherwise grown up with in the past (before the day that the world's public could step outside its own cultural back yard).
Perhaps the web is beginning run on its own pulse now, and it's in this refreshing new stage of its development that we can fully realise the power of its voice. The surprising turn of events that we at Looking-Glass & VeggieGlobal find ourselves in, just goes to prove this very point. As we strive to make the Croatian Animal Welfare bill proposal succeed from our efforts and input, we hope that this marks the first signs of a World Wide Web that is truly coming of age.