Greece’s new pet law meets toughest opposition yet
The government-proposed new Greek pet law met strong opposition from pet owners and outdoor enthusiasts across Crete who gathered on Sunday to protest the project controversial law. They say the law requires owners to sterilize their pets. .
By Phil Butler
Recent protests, which took place in Heraklion, Chania and Agios Nikolaos, took place outside key government centers to challenge the draconian sterilization program that the Greek bill would enact.
Organized by the Cretan Hound Club of Greece and hunting clubs across Greece, the protests took place in reaction to new pet legislation being developed by the Home Office and groups of activists.
Bill “Argos”, named after the legendary canine companion of the Greek hero Ulysses, addresses many animal cruelties and the problems of stray animals.. However, the controversial bill introduces unprecedented measures that put pet owners and breed enthusiasts in the arms.
This new Greek pet law has at its heart new rules that would require pet owners to sterilize their animals or face heavy fines, pet confiscation – or even penalties. from prison. Certainly, the âArgosâ legislation contains long-awaited rules, regulations and organizational strategies to combat animal welfare.
Yet opponents say compulsory sterilization is an affront to the rights of pets and the rights of their owners. And as for the rare and legendary Cretan dog (Kritikos Lagonikos), the owners say at least two rules in the new law could lead the breed to extinction.
Supporters of the new legislation argue that ‘Argos’ mandatory sterilization items must be enacted, alongside rules that would force Cretan dog lovers to change centuries of breeding practices.
The unique Cretan Hound – the oldest dog breed in Europe – has been bred essentially unchanged for over 5,000 years by island-specific hunters and dog lovers. The breed, virtually unknown outside of Crete, is undisputed as a hare hunter, possessing unique abilities and a personality that makes the dog a prize both as a companion and as a hunter.
The president of the Cretan Hound Club of Greece, Nikos Anetakis, said this about the thesis of the new law:
âIf the ancient dogs who were the ancestors of Kritikos Lagonikos had been eunuchs, then these wonderful companions we have today would not exist. Today we are isolated as hunters and even dog owners, but we are also distinguished as citizens and as human beings. This is the basis of our complaint. “
Pet law would require dog and cat owners to sterilize their animals
Anetakis told protesters standing in Eleftherias Square outside the Crete region government offices that they must stand up and fight for the right of anyone to own and raise their pets, regardless of their status. economic or political. The Cretan ordered his comrades to protect these rights for the simple worker and the Prime Minister of Greece himself.
The main problem these people face with the new law is that dog and cat owners would be required to sterilize or sterilize their animals within a specific time frame and according to certain guidelines.
For those who have perpetuated the Cretan Hound and other rare Greek breeds, interference with a tradition that has been successful since before writing was invented is onerous. And the new rules requiring all breeders to overcome sometimes insurmountable technical hurdles to raise litters of puppies also threaten these endangered breeds.
The Cretan Hound problem is a special one, but all pet owners and breeding enthusiasts will be affected. The backlash had a positive effect on the Home Office, which set up an open forum for comments and suggestions before the bill was passed.
In particular, section 5 of the new law has received thousands of comments in recent days, ninety percent of which is a strong ânoâ to compulsory sterilization. Commentators question the humanity of this part of the bill and the constitutionality of such restrictive laws.
Is Greece’s Pet Law Unconstitutional?
‘Pelagia’, one of more than 6,500 people commenting on the Greek Pet Law ministry website, has this to offer:
“NO to the mandatory” horizontal sterilization “of all companion dogs. This is unconstitutional and medically and morally unacceptable. We just show respect for the rights of dogs and responsible owners !!! We support the position of the Kennel Club of Greece (KOE) with the exception of purebred dogs with Pedigree FCI and native Greek dog breeds.
However, even in the face of overwhelming opposition, the drafters of the bill are adamant in their insistence on the sterilization aspect of this new law. Realistically, there is no evidence that forced sterilization has a positive impact on the roaming population or animal health. The American Kennel Club and most veterinarians are in complete opposition to such sterilization and neutering laws. I am told that the Pan-Hellenic Veterinary Association will go on strike on May 20 to show solidarity against these aspects of the new law.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends elective sterilization in some cases, but doctors also say that every breed and every situation is unique. This is why the AVMA and many other organizations are against laws requiring mandatory sterilization and sterilization. In general, the whole world is against regulations like the one the Greek Prime Minister, his Home Office and the Pan-Hellenic Federation for Animal Welfare and the Environment (PVRC) impose.
Natassa Bombolaki, the head of the PVRC, has no doubts that she is anti-hunting, pro-vegan, and does not hide her organization’s contempt for any public servant who has other opinions. His personal Facebook timeline is full of declamatory comments aimed at Chania officials and others. What I mean here is that this is not a frank fight, and it should be obvious to the Greek rulers, whom they are thinking negatively by proxy.
This brings us to a final point, the stoic nature of political agents in general. Since this bill came into the limelight, the authors have not backed down by a millimeter. No outcry, no plea to examine the legal elements of the law – even the most sincere emotional or cultural arguments – seem to have no effect. In my last conversation with Bombolaki and his associates, her organization made it clear that they would not concede, even with the potential endangerment of the native races at stake.
Likewise, Deputy Home Secretary Stelios Petsas also seems unresponsive to these calls. It makes me wonder what is behind such a firm and steadfast position?
Is the government so oblivious to the will of its people? Will Greece venture into the dark unknown of governance with such an inflexible mistake?
On May 20, 2021, the open forum on this issue will end. I guess people will learn the will of the government after that. We can only hope and pray that their decision does not destroy the reality of the hardworking and dedicated men and women with whom I rubbed shoulders in Heraklion on Sunday.
Phil Butler, who is based in Crete, is the editor-in-chief of News Argophilia Travel