There are many headlines in the international media, with the following questions circulating: "When will it be on the agenda?”, “When will it be its turn?"
One of these topics is stray animals. Even though countries do not have a vital issue to deal with on an international scale, or even though they have the competence to put the issue of stray animals on the agenda at the same time as individual/ society-oriented issues, we frequently encounter those who do not. Furthermore, countries such as Poland, with its practices that prevent despair, and Estonia, Latvia, England, and Türkiye, whose methods of control are opposed by animal rights activists, emerge. Here, we shall examine the policies of the countries mentioned.
According to activists, behind every politically approved but inhumane decision lies the fact that "our animals are objectified". In no world society has animal life been considered equivalent to human life. The term objectification mentioned in this statement refers to ending animal lives with a single green light given by human beings as well as seeing them as worthless. To give an example of the methods of the mentioned countries, Estonia and Latvia in Eastern Europe consider a short period of 14 days as sufficient to exercise their right to put homeless animals to sleep in case they are not adopted after being hosted in the shelter. On the side, the collection of homeless animals from the streets is also carried out systematically as it is mandatory according to the law in Estonia, regardless of the attitude and style followed. When it comes to Western Europe, England cuts this time in half, merely one week is enough. In addition to the negativities, there is also a mass that has taken it upon itself to awaken certain segments of society with their opinions. Commenting on the issue, Anni Anete Moisamaa, Head of Communications of Animal Shelters Non-Governmental Organization Varjupaikade MTÜ in Estonia, said that although there is a "14-day rule", many shelters try to keep animals alive longer by collecting donations.
The part that can be considered worrying for the close-knit friends in Türkiye is that it is turning to the criticized part in the process of managing its policy. A bill was presented by the parliament in the past weeks, without specifying the exact date, to pave the way for animals living in shelters and on the streets to be put to sleep more easily compared to past practices by deleting some items from the list of circumstances obligatory. Various actions have been organized by organizations advocating animal rights and women's rights to reject the bill, which has not yet been approved, and it seems it will be successful for the present. Moisamaa's opinion was as follows: “The government's help is important here, as it is very effective in Estonia. Of course, raising awareness on issues such as how dogs should be treated, the importance of neutering, microchipping, etc. takes time, and changing mentalities does not happen overnight. Because the problem is so big right now, the 'catch, neuter, release' method would be something that would help limit the breeding of dogs. Turkey definitely has the right climate for this."
It would be nothing but beneficial for the little lives of every country to take into consideration that countries like Poland, which have established their order, show shelters as the most permanent solution to the situation regarding homeless animals. According to Polish law, ending an animal's life by putting it to sleep is not practiced unless there is a very valid reason such as an animal suffering from a pain that cannot be treated or relieved unless they are put to sleep. The law prohibits mass sleeping. The protection and care of homeless animals is the responsibility of municipalities. We too can manage to respect our animals by forming an outlook on providing solutions such as opening healthy areas where animals can be kept separate in certain closed areas for the impasse of hygiene, taking muzzle precautions for those who pose a risk as a result of controls to be carried out by municipalities for possible security issues, and seeing examples as a form of learning rather than imitation.
PubMed Central, Animal Shelters and Animal Welfare: Raising the Bar by Patricia Turner,
Jim Berry and Shelagh MacDonald