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Animal lovers protest over lack of protection

By Natalie Hami
Published on April 26, 2012

AROUND 40 animal lovers and animal protection organisations gathered outside the Veterinary Services in Nicosia yesterday to protest against the importation of exotic animals and the lack of animal welfare.

'We're here to protest the issue of zoos importing exotic animals as well as the welfare of pets and farm animals,' said Andrea Barlow, of the Cyprus Animal Liberation Front (CALF).

Barlow said there was the need for someone who would solely deal with animal cruelty issues, saying that animal protection organisations get lumbered with the financial and emotional costs because there is nothing official in place.
'We have no one in the police specifically for this and we want a specific person,' said Barlow.

Protester Evita Charalambous agreed saying: 'We want police [who will deal with this]'...a place we can go and report these things.'

She said they wanted the Veterinary Services to intervene in cases of abuse and if that was not possible then it should be the police who approached the owners in question.

Protesters carried banners saying: 'Siberian tigers belong in Siberia' and 'Don't let animals die in agony, do something now.' In the first instance they were referring to the recent importation of two Siberian tigers by a Paphos zoo.

As part of the protest Barlow along with a few others were allowed a quick meeting with some veterinary officials to see what could be done regarding the island's long-standing issues with animal protection.

'Not a lot happened,' said Barlow, who added that despite the lack of positive action from the Veterinary Services they would reconvene in 15 days' to look into forming a committee that would talk to animal owners.

'We definitely want to organise another demonstration too,' she added.

A report from the Born Free Foundation on Tuesday said out of the nine zoos in Cyprus, only one was licensed. None fully complied with animal welfare regulations, it said.

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