Few weeks before accession of Bulgaria to European Union we are still witness to worsening legislation taken by the Government in the field of cat and dog protection, e.g. like trying to adapt a whole new Act conflicting the European Commission's Regulation No.998/2003 and the European Council's Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals.
In 2003 and 2004 we've pointed out to the Government numerous simple but effective measures, some included and some not in the active at that time ordinance, but no adequate reaction followed. Instead, in 2005 the Bulgarian Parliament voted a new Veterinary Act, which prohibits experiments with cats and dogs as well as reduction of their number by killing; but neglected to include an effective restraining measures for their habitual mass breeding, offering and abandonment. Meanwhile it delegated the enforcement part of the pet registration process to the municipalities.
In last months the Bulgarian Parliament initiated procedure to debate a new Animal Protection Bill introduced by Mrs Vanya Tsvetkova MP and a group of Representatives. The Minister of Agriculture is also making an effort in this direction through popular local SPCAs publishing and promoting on the internet a draft for similar to the above Bill.
In regards to cats and dogs the authors of the two drafts are asserting their intentions for banning population control by killing; in the debated by the Parliament Bill there is also a provision for banning the laboratory use of the both species. But again both drafts are not including so called "No-Kill Solutions" - all effective preventive measures for curbing the home breeding and movement of them, measures that will lead to the stabilization of population shift.
- In the programs for education of the pet owners/lovers there is no provided place for moral discouraging of the amateur breeding and trade.
- There is no provided public service for the owners, including low-cost sterilization of the pet animals.
- There are no provided timely marking of all pet animals by microchips, permanent registration of all the owners, and effective registration of the change of the ownership. There is no provided obligatory acompaniing documentation for the animals for every case. The enfocement of the registration regime was postponed after the preparation by the Minister of a National Program for Dog Counting and Registration.
- There is no provided strict licensing control over breeders and traders. The establishment of such control is connected with the future creation of the separate Rules by the Goverment. So the unlicensed, domestic breeding still exists.
- There is no provided control over the activities connected with the collection and transportation/traffic of the free roaming animals, including lost ones.
- There are opportunities for different reading and overlaping of the deffinitions, wrights and obligations (shelter - protected zone; National Commission for the Protection of Animals - Inspection of NVS - Zoo-Police - Police - few Ministries).
Such an Act won't bring the percentage of the registered and sterilized animals up, as well as restriction to collecting and abusing high number of them. It will be ineffective regarding to their protection and welfare.
In November 10 2006, in a letter to the President of Republic and the Agricultural Parliamentary Committee we insisted that pointed by us shortcomings in the present legislation are to be taken under consideration and be overcome in the drafting of the new Bill. We've also suggested that the new texts are to be composed with the help of reputable in this matter professionals.
In the protection of animals up to May 1st of 2006 in Bulgaria there were in effect the rules and regulations of the 1999 Veterinarian Act. In year 2000 it was appended by Governmental Rules and some of the appendices are in effect in the present. In 2004 Bulgaria ratified the European Council's Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, binding itself to make an extra and effective effort of bringing about improvements in this field.
In the meantime we are witnessing lack of any whatsoever practice of legal control by the bureaucrats in those directions. In a few weeks time Bulgaria will become a full EU member and will have to comply with the European Commission's Regulation No.998/2003.
Since 1990 in Sofia we are witness of an ongoing process of unrestricted mass breeding, offering and straying of cats and dogs; and last but not least their mass disappearing as a result of illegal collection. At the same time the so called "street population" has been constantly re-filled by grown up and growing tame dogs of unknown origin. Usually they are cross-bred and that fact is used by the authorities for keeping the public delusion that the stray dogs are separate population, reproducing in the streets. Meanwhile the loudly proclaimed initiatives connected with the "street" dogs in Sofia have successfully hidden the process in his integrity.
The problem with the habitual mass breeding and leaving of unregistered animals stays neglected by Sofia's newly elected Mayor Boyko Borissov. In February 2006 we've offered to Mr Borissov to meet and review the circumstances and solutions connected with the great number of appearing strayed dogs; but he declined. Despite of the existing municipal resources the Mayor does not accept adequate policy for providing of public service for re-homing of lost and abandoned dogs, low-cost and early-aged sterilization and registration.
The large-scale of unchecked home breeding goes on animated by the misconception and illusion, that "no-kill policy" proclaimed by Boyko Borissov could be accomplished through sterilization of all unwanted animals plus the ban to their killing. Cat and dog lovers are continuously misinformed and misled about the cruel destiny for the better part of the steady-bred animals and to their potential end use.
The Convention and Act provisions stay totally ignored by Government and Municipality alike. So the missing legal control is replaced by criminal collection and abuse of the great number of healthy animals. That leads to the real reduction of both increasing populations. The ignorance of Law is left without reproof by the Bulgarian Parliament. The Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Finance stay tolerant to the illegal traffic and money laundering.
We sincerely hope that Bulgarian institutions engaged in this process will vote and enact a lot better working and effective measures in the new Act. By failing to do so will make us think more so that Bulgarian institutions are colluding with black-marketers in their revolting industry. It's revolting to us watching the team efforts of media and local SPCAs (most popular as "nature-defenders") to water down the above mentioned process.
I can't change the strangely kept by Bulgarian institutions trend. Here all my efforts are being thwarted and ignored. Here and why I call on the concerned institutions and world community alike to boycott the meetings of all Bulgarian officials abroad till enactment and enforcement of a modern low takes an effect, one which will guarantee the animal's protection and welfare. I plead to you: Limit your official contacts and avoid the unofficial ones.
I appeal to be avoided/limited all visits to Bulgaria. Please, do not fix the date of international forums, congresses, conferencess, seminars, symposiums, festivals, expositions and sport contests in Bulgaria. I dare all world known artists, actors, musicians and entertainers to shun away Bulgarian venues too.
I urge you to write reproachful and demanding letters, faxes and e-mails to Bulgarian officials responsible for this peculiar situation. Please, see below the short list of contacts.
Emil Kuzmanov, founder
The Animal Programs Foundation of Bulgaria
List of responsible officials:
Mr Georgi Parvanov
President of the Republic of Bulgaria
2 Dondukov Blvd
Tel: +359 2 9239333
Contact form: <http://www.president.bg/en/contacts.php
Mr Georgi Pirinski
Chairperson of 40th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria
2 Narodno Sabranie Square
Phone: +359 2 9392513
Fax: +359 2 9813131
Mr Sergei Stanishev
Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria
1 Dondukov Blvd
Tel: +359 2 9402999
Fax: +359 2 9802056
Mr Boyko Borissov
Mayor of Sofia
33 Moskovska Str.
Phone: +359 2 9814515; 9377261
Fax: +359 2 9810703
Contact form: <http://sofia.bg/en/display.asp?ime=contact
Mrs Meglena Kuneva
Minister of European Affairs
2 Al. Zhendov Str.
Phone: + 359 2 9482110; 9711408; 9713778; 9482218
Fax: + 359 2 8703041
Mr Nihat Kabil
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
55 Hristo Botev Blvd
Phone: +359 2 9811896; 985-11-226
Phone/Fax: +359 2 9806256
Mr Rumen Petkov
Minister of Interior
29, 6th September Str.
Phone: +359 2 9825000
Contact form: <http://www.mvr.bg/en/contactus.htm
Mr Plamen Oresharski
Minister of Finance
102 Rakovski Str.
Phone: +359 2 9859-2021; 9859-2078; 9859-2022; 9859-2024
Mr Vassil Kalinov
Chairman of the Agriculture and Forestry Parliamentary Committee
1 Kniaz Al. Batenberg Square
Phone: +359 2 9871758
Fax: +359 2 9872441
Mrs Vanya Tsvetkova (author of the draft)
Head of the Parliamentary Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe
1 Kniaz Al. Batenberg Square
Phone: +359 2 9393469; 9393008; 9392133; 9393247; 9862759
Fax: +359 2 9875011
Mr Atanas Paparizov
Chairman of the Parliamentary Delegation to the Joint Parliamentary Committee Bulgaria – European Union;
Chairman of the European Integration Parliamentary Committee
1 Kniaz Al. Batenberg Square
Phone: +359 2 9873888; 9393282
Fax: +359 2 9875503
Mr Younal Loutfi
Head of the Parliamentary Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
1 Kniaz Al. Batenberg Square
Phone: +359 2 9861133; 9392106
Fax: +359 2 9818568