Opanasenko: “It is difficult to implement an animal welfare policy in Ukraine. It is time to change this»

Civility of a country is determined by its attitude towards children, elderly people and animals. One cannot but agree with this statement. Unfortunately, when it comes to animals, Ukraine is far from being an example to follow. Thus, nowadays there is an urgent need to improve legislation on the proper pet care, identification and registration of animals.

To solve this problem, a bill was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada for reviewing certain legislative acts of Ukraine regarding the introduction of identification and registration of animals with the aim of promoting responsible treatment of them (draft law #7267). The authors of the document focused on world experience in the first place.

Leading international organizations believe that a comprehensive solution to the issue of regulating the number of homeless animals is impossible without the application of such components as:

sterilization;

cultivation of responsible pet owners;

identification and registration of pets.

During the studies conducted by world-class public organizations (for example, the British International Fund for Animal Welfare), experts came to the conclusion that the emergence of stray animals in the streets is due to certain reasons. Thus, the “street” population is replenished by:

“free range” animals – that is, those that have owners and which are let go into the streets for a certain period of time;

animals that are lost or that ran away from their owners;

animals left by their owners;

animals that were born in the streets.

It is obvious that in three out of four cases these are irresponsible owners that are guilty of the emergence of stray animals. The conclusion is simple: the key to successful solution of the problem of neglected animals is the realization of the responsible animal owner concept.

One of the elements of this concept is the mandatory identification and registration of all pets. In addition, due to the implementation of this strategy, it will be finally possible to find the irresponsible owners and bring them to administrative or criminal responsibility for cruel or negligent treatment of animals. The implementation of these norms will bring Ukraine closer to the civilized states of the world that effectively implement this concept.

In order to make this law efficient, we need to spell out clear definitions that would correlate with those that are used in international documents in this sphere. So, one of the important tasks of this bill is the clarification and expansion of the terminological apparatus, definitions used in the sphere of animal protection. In particular, it is suggested to clarify such definitions as “animal”, “pet”, “cruel treatment of animals”. The draft law also clarifies such concepts as “animal owner”, “captivity”, “semi-free conditions”, “abandonment of pets without supervision”, “animal injury”, “animal suffering”, “infrastructure for pets and their owners”, ” identification of animals”, “registration of animals”.

Introduction of the concept of “animal welfare” will be another evidence of Ukraine’s readiness to join the European community, will demonstrate our perception of modern development trends, of the so-called “animal rights” in civilized states of the world, will implement the key provisions and standards for animal protection – specified both in international treaties and in the acts of the European Union – into Ukrainian legislation. Adaptation of these things is the task of Ukraine within the framework of European integration, in particular, within the Association Agreement with the EU.

A clear distribution of powers between the central authorities and local government is the key to the practical implementation of the project’s provisions; because nowadays different categories of animals fall within the competence of various ministries and departments. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to effectively implement policies aimed at humane treatment of animals, control over their well-being and well-being of Ukrainians. This is a very important point that should not be underestimated.

It’s no secret that in almost all cities there are flocks of wild dogs that pose a real threat to the lives of children and adults. A competent policy of controlling the population of such animals, a clear definition of those responsible for these processes is what can ensure our security.

I also hope that thanks to new approaches we will finally adopt the habit of cleaning after our pets. Now Ukrainian animal owners do not bother to do so; meanwhile, parks, squares, streets, and even playgrounds often resemble animal toilets.

This bill provides for a large number of changes in various laws of Ukraine, so it is rather difficult to cover all aspects of the proposed innovations. General public should be engaged in the discussion of conceptual changes and amendments, since these innovations affect a significant part of citizens of Ukraine. The bill is available on the website of the Verkhovna Rada, so we encourage you to read, analyze it, and submit your proposals, because we are responsible for what we have tamed.”

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