Animal protectionists in Albania demand better animal protection by law
NGO’s, animal protectionists and veterinarians in Albania demand improvement and enforcement of the law to protect animals. At the first Albanian Conference for the Protection of Animals, organized by the Albanian Institute for Environmental Policy with the support of the Dutch Party for the Animals, they presented a seven point action plan to national and local authorities and the assembled press.
The first ever national conference on animal protection, recently held in Tirana, assembled organizations and people committed to the protection of animals, nature and the environment as well as veterinarians from all over the country, Kosovo and neighbouring regions. It’s focus: the alarming situation in Albania regarding stray animals and wild life, opportunities for cooperation, and ways to enhance public awareness and to improve the animal protection and veterinary law.
“This conference comes at a critical moment for the protection of animals in Albania,” says Endri Haxiraj, Executive Director of the Institute for Environmental Policy (Instituti i Politikave Mjedisore) and organizer of the conference. “For although some law progress has been made, the killing and mistreatment of strays continues, just like the capture and abuse of wildlife for entertainment.” Research by global animal welfare organization Four Paws has indeed shown the illegal wildlife trade in Albania is out of control and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) has rung the alarm concerning increased environmental crime in the country.
Under considerable media attention, the assembled organizations presented seven requests to the authorities, from pet registration and education to a ban on the use of animals for entertainment. Besides improvement of the animal and veterinary law and the involvement of relevant NGO’s in the process, they demand tougher punishment for animal abuse; regulation of animal sales and breeding; the registration of stray animals, pets and their owners; a national strategy for companion animals; a ban on keeping wild animals in cages as a tourist attraction; and animal welfare regulations for zoos.
Animal rights and environmentalism: the worldwide eco-centric political movement
Member of Parliament Christine Teunissen of the Dutch Party for the Animals gave an inspiring talk about the growing eco-centric political movement and on how to successfully influence politics and put animal rights, nature conservation and climate action on the political agenda. “In these times of climate and biodiversity crisis, it’s important to re-evaluate the relation between humans and animals. If we make sure animals are valued more, it also has a positive effect on how humans treat each other, and on how we treat nature, the climate and biodiversity,” MP Christine Teunissen explains.
Just like the Party for the Animals and its sister parties worldwide, the Albanian Institute for Environmental Policy raises attention for animal rights, environmental issues and the climate- and biodiversity crises. It addresses the devastating impact of animal industries and actively seeks to promote positive change through education, awareness raising and the improvement of laws and regulations. “I really hope people in Albania will now make the next step and join our new social movement by introducing eco-centrism into Albanian politics. Now is the time to do it,” Christine Teunissen urged the audience.
Cooperation between the IEP and the Party for the Animals was established when the latter organized a conference in Tirana in 2015. For almost a decade now, through its international foundation, the party has been connecting people from all over the world committed to bringing the interests of animals, nature and the environment into politics. By now, the Animal Politics Movement encompasses 21 sister parties and numerous sister organizations.