Local Moldovan government promises a better animal welfare policy following the visit of Dutch MP Esther Ouwehand

3 October 2018

Last weekend – for the first time in Moldova’s history – a lecture was given on the importance of animal rights. Dutch MP for the Party for the Animals Esther Ouwehand held the lecture at a university in the capital Chișinău, in a packed lecture hall. After that, Ouwehand talked with local animal protectionists and experts in the field of organic arable farming. The council of Chișinău promised Ouwehand that a professional centre for sterilisation and vaccination of stray animals will soon be opened.

The lecture was held at the invitation of animal rights lawyer Ion Dron. During her lecture, Esther Ouwehand pictured how the efforts made for the welfare of animal also benefit people. She showed that society needs to be more connected with nature and that it should be led by compassion.

After the lecture, Ouwehand talked with several animal protectionists, who all pointed out the lack of regulations and legislation for the protection of animals in Moldova. Lawyer Dron wrote a legislative proposal in cooperation with a Moldovan NGO, which proposal is to legally enshrine the adequate protection of animals. Animal protectionists are now fighting together for adoption of this legislative proposal by the Moldovan Parliament.

Ouwehand was impressed by the many brave people in Moldova who dare to stand up for the interests of animals. And they do so quite successfully: animal protectionists’ protests helped to close down the dolphinarium of Chișinău . Also, a first step was taken against animal abuse by making cruelty against animals punishable in the Moldovan Penal Code.

Ouwehand: “Choosing the interests of the vulnerable instead of the right of the strongest can be done close to home too. The cruel treatment of (stray) animals is not acceptable in a civilised country. And we are so happy to see that here in Moldova brave people are standing up for the interests of animals and with that for the Moldovan people themselves. Wonderful!”

Ouwehand praised the fact that Moldova is doing relatively well within the region in the field of organic arable farming, where nutritious crops are grown, such as walnuts, fruit, beans and sunflower pits. However, she warned for the growing lobby of foreign companies to expand industrial livestock farming in Moldova. Now that the Western livestock industry is suffering a crisis and people in the West are less tolerant of the industry destroying their living environment, it sees opportunity to move its polluting practices to Eastern-Europe.

Ouwehand: “Moldova is well capable to provide food for the future: it has fertile soils and a great variety of crops, as a result of which a natural resistance against insects and plagues can be cultivated. Agriculture without overfertilisation and pesticides, with plenty of vegetable proteins for human consumption: that is what Europe needs. We hope that Moldova will not make the same mistake as the West did and will oppose to importing Western livestock practices, as this would mean a disaster for Moldova’s nature, animals, people and the environment.

Municipal policy

Moldovan animal protectionists told Ouwehand that local governments do very little to achieve animal welfare and that they even actively participate in the cruel approach of stray animals by facilitating so-called “Killing Stations”. That is why Ouwehand, together with animal protectionists, talked with the political advisor of the Mayor of Chișinău.

The council admitted that a lot can be improved in the area of animal welfare policy. The Mayor’s advisor then promised that the council will start to conduct an animal-friendly stray animals policy soon. The first step towards this is the opening of a professional centre for the sterilisation of stray dogs, where 50 dogs can be looked after and treated according to European standards. Ouwehand told the Mayor’s advisor that she will follow the progress through the local animal welfare organisations.

During the meeting with the council, animal rights lawyer Dron again emphasised why an appropriate animal welfare policy is essential: “Animal welfare is not only important for animals, but also for the entire society. An inadequate animal welfare policy will harm our society as a whole.”