Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s wish to join the EU

Sandra Jensen, on how to make a difference in Bosnia, from Dalida Kozlic, lawyer and activist in BiH:
"All our politicians are involved in stealing of money from illegal shelters and hygienic services. Since money laundering through shelters is one of the most popular criminal activities for our politicians so there is no one who can help from politics.
If Prosecutor's office reacts, which it is obliged to do, our politicians will stop their illegal practice, but our prosecutors and police officers are one of the most corrupted in the world.
The only way to force our political establishment to leave this illegal practice is pressure from international organisations and especially embassies. Activities of foreign activists and organisations should be focused on writing letters to embassies of UK, USA, Germany, Italy and France. Foreign politicians are able to make a difference, not our own."
Send a (sample) letter to the Embassies below (a few will bounce)

Dear Ambassador:
Millions of EU citizens care deeply about animal welfare and are sickened to see constant reports of horrific animal cruelty, and look to the EU to help improve animal welfare across Europe. Countries seeking to acquire EU membership need to demonstrate certain standards of animal care, and so I want to bring to your attention Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are seeking admission, and yet who constantly contravene their own animal welfare laws.
There are countless dog shelters in the country that are documented by animal rescue organisations and activists to be inhumane and 'death camps' for dogs, and are in fact used for money laundering purposes: money destined for the dogs and the shelters is pocketed.
I am writing to ask your assistance in ensuring in particular that the dog shelter at Gladno Polje be monitored to ensure that the conditions are improved and that the dogs there are safe, that animal activists be allowed to document and ensure that the laws are applied.
We have been advised by BiH lawyers and activists that as the BiH politicians themselves are involved in stealing of money from illegal shelters and hygienic services, and that since the prosecutors and police officers are also corrupt, the only way to force the BiH political establishment to stop their illegal practises is pressure from international organisations and especially embassies.
The existing Animal Welfare and Protection Act of Bosnia-Herzegovina is in fact a good and enforceable law. The only reason the law is not being enforced is because certain political and professional circles do not want to do it.
The law states that every city and town has to build shelters for stray animals. All shelters for stray animals have to provide a NO KILL policy and adequate care, including veterinary care for the animals housed there. Again, the truth is that the conditions in most public shelters are horrific, with dogs being left for days without water, food or care of any kind. There is documented evidence of this.
As you will be aware, the European Union provides the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with many millions of euros worth of financial aid each year. I believe the allocation for 2012 was around €107.8m.
My understanding of the provisos attached to these aid packages is that there is a requirement for the recipient country to abide by EU laws which would include the laws related to animal welfare. The Commission has stated that aligning national animal welfare legislation with EU law is a pre-requisite for EU membership!
I would urge you to please  raise the above issues with the European Commission and the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of animals ( and, critically, with your representatives in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The issue of the failure of the BiH authorities to apply even the barest minimum of the law to ensure the safety of the animals must be addressed.
It is imperative that the European Commission and the Parliament discusses this matter with their Bosnia and Herzegovina counterparts.
The European Parliament states that “The EU has among the world’s highest standards of animal welfare”. The Eurogroup for Animal Welfare ( )is strongly urging the European Commission to adopt adequate measures to ensure that all pet animals are properly treated to protect their health and welfare.
If it is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s wish to join the EU it would seem that until their government takes crimes against defenceless, sentient animals seriously they will not be a fit country to be accepted into the EU.
We urge you to help ensure that the Bosnia Herzegovina authorities implement internationally agreed-upon guiding principles on humane stray dog population control, and that resources be allocated to ensure such principles are followed.
Please see the petition regarding Gladno Polje shelter, which has already garnered over 6000 signatures since the 11th of January, 2015.
Many thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards,

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