Bulgarian AgriMin Under Fire over Stray Dogs Issue

Society | April 9, 2012, Monday // 14:38|  views

Bulgaria's Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, a vet and a former head of Sofia's municipal company "Ekoravnovesie" (Eco-balance), is under fire over the failure in resolving the stray dog problem. Photo by BGNES

Over fifty animal right NGOs have signed a petition demanding the resignation of Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, over long-lasting inactivity and failure to resolve the stray dogs' problem by applying the law.

The organizations, which are not only Bulgarian, but also Dutch, German and Swiss, have sent the open letter to Naydenov, to President, Rosen Plevneliev, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, Ombudsman, Konstantin Penchev, Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, and to the EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, John Dalli.

In addition to the resignation of the Minister, who between 2006 and 2009 also headed Sofia's municipal company "Ekoravnovesie" (Eco-balance) in charge of controlling stray dogs' population in the capital, the NGOs demand applying the national neutering guidelines, recommended by the World Health Organization.

The letter indicates that 47% of all cases of tapeworm in the EU are set out in Bulgaria, not in cities where the population of stray dogs is the greatest, but in small towns where the Food Safety Agency has zero control on unregulated breeding, slaughter and consumption of meat from domestic animals.

According to the NGOs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food refuses to work with their experts and focuses on populist and ineffective methods of reducing the population of stray dogs.

Another reason for requesting Naydenov's resignation is the fact that since 2005 huge amounts have been poured to establish the so-called Pet Register, which had to be completed by 2008, but is still unusable.

Since the passing of the Animal Protection Act in 2008, not even one single person has been punished for abandoning his or her pet or their unwanted babies on the street.

"As a veterinarian and a Minister you allow outright speculations in order to inject tension, to sow discord and intolerance by polarizing the public on the issue of stray dogs, led by the desire to avoid constructive dialogue and analysis of the weak, inconsistent and corrupt work of municipalities and of the Ministry," the NGOs conclude.

Professor Botio Tachkov, a renowned economist, died Sunday after being brutally attacked by a large pack of stray dogs in Sofia. The accident triggered public outrage, as the city has been struggling to cope with its increasing stray dog population for years now.

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Tags: Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, veterinarian, municipal company, Ekoravnovesie, NGOs, resignation, Botio Tachkov, professor, Yordanka Fandakova, sofia, stray dogs, stray, dogs


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