‘Peaceful March’ for animal welfare rights fills Faro’s streets

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in Algarve · 13-09-2018 10:22:00 · 0 Comments
‘Peaceful March’ for animal welfare rights fills Faro’s streets

A well-supported first ‘peaceful march’ to raise awareness and “fight for animal welfare and rescue rights” was staged in Faro this past weekend, in which around 100 people took part including members of the PAN Party for People, Animals and Nature and representatives of various animal rescue associations.

Participants walked 2.5km along a main artery through Faro city, from the Forum Algarve shopping centre to the riverside Manuel Bívar gardens, to raise awareness and fight for the rights of “all animals that suffer and experience abuse and neglect in Portugal, and for all animals unnecessarily put down”.
The march was organised by Faro native Luísa Power Canário, an animal welfare activist and student of veterinary medicine at Évora University.
Ms. Canário explained the march was staged “to draw attention to the lack of sterilisation programmes, lack of or little government support, lack of municipal facilities and resources to help the animals, lack of implementation of laws to protect animals, lack of punishment for those inflicting animal cruelty, and delays in the implementation of laws including non-kill municipal kennels”.
A minute’s silence was also held in memory of all animals that have been mistreated.
In comments to The Portugal News, the organiser explained the idea for a march came about following the “APAR shelter situation”; an Olhão-based shelter that was given two months to close following a noise complaint. The shelter has appealed the instruction in court and is currently awaiting a final decision.
“This situation showed me that no shelter is safe, no matter how much work it does for the animals or the community”.
During a speech delivered at the march’s end point, Ms. Power highlighted the plight of Portugal’s stray and abandoned animals, saying “every day is a never-ending battle for animal welfare groups, rescue shelters and individuals”.

The speech also emphasised the escalating numbers of unwanted animals in Portugal, as well as drawing attention to the cash-strapped and “overcrowded” municipal and charity shelters, many of which are “at breaking point”, despite being relied on heavily by the likes of Portugal’s GNR police force to “deposit the abandoned and stray animals they are called upon to collect”.
“The government has long been aware of the escalating problem and has passed various legislations which, if adequately enforced, would be an important step towards protecting all animals from human abuse, ill treatment and abandonment.
“Sadly, without the enforcement of these laws, nothing changes except that the statistics of animals rescued and collected grows every year, as does the number of those put to sleep”, the organiser stressed.
Campaigners are appealing for “extensive government sterilisation programmes, not token ones”, education programmes in schools, and support “to seek meaningful and enforceable improvements to the law, for the sake of animals and for the sake of Portugal”.
Touching upon the turnout, Ms. Canário said, “I believe it was great, especially since it was the first march on the Algarve focussed on these issues”.
The march took place two weeks ahead of Portugal introducing a major change to the way its state-run shelters operate.
From next month (October 2018), council kennels will no longer be allowed to euthanise animals as a means of population control, a move that is of concern to veterinary professionals and activists, due to the consequences the impending growth in care will entail.
It has emerged that, to date, over 90 percent of government funding made available for council kennels to invest in an approved sterilisation campaign ahead of the abolishment of euthanasia is still available.
By the start of this week, just €40,365 of the €500,000 budget freed up for kennels to implement the campaign had been allocated.
According to figures from Portugal’s Veterinary Directorate General, in 2017, 40,674 stray and abandoned animals were taken in by Portugal’s state-run kennels. Of those, 11,819 were euthanised (around one animal per hour) and 16,144 were re-homed.
PAN said that up until May 2018, 23 percent of state-run shelters were still exercising euthanasia as a means of population control.
Anyone interested in joining this cause or upcoming initiatives can join the Facebook group Animal Welfare and Rescue Rights Protest Algarve.


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