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Star-crossed creatures

Tom Washington

THE MOSCOW NEWS, 06.08.2010, 06.08.2010

      While readers of The Moscow News expressed their horror at the fires threatening a shelter for homeless animals, celebrities have been taking up the flame for furry down-and-outs across the city. A new edict from city chambers rules that stray animals taken into municipal care will be destroyed within 17 days of capture if no-one has claimed them.
      Celebrities banded together to write an open letter to the Kremlin and offer emotive comments at a press conference. But the glitterati have not impressed professionals in the field.
      Its a necessary measure, Animals Protection Tribune Project Director Svetlana Ilinskaya told The Moscow News, referring to the new law. She added that state shelters receive unlimited numbers of animals and without killing, their work would be paralysed.
      Open letter
      For those who have languished a long time in shelter, the letter to President Medvedev read, a death sentence may be imposed at any time, Metro newspaper reported. Star-studded signatories included Alla Pugachyova, Andrei Makaryevich and Leonid Yarmolnik. They believe that practices like castration could be used instead of killing the animals.
      It seems these are people who have never had children or dogs, an indignant Yarmolnik said at a press-conference on Thursday. If these animals are killed in shelters then how will we be different from those who built the concentration camps? Let more people be shotOur question to the authorities is an ultimatum. If you are [humane] people then apologise and cancel this new order!
      The new rules for which animals can be put to death are extensive, varied and are not based on any existing veterinary principles, Chief Vet at international veterinary centre Zoovet Ekaterina Kornyushenkova told Izvestia. As such, almost any captured animals can be liable for euthanasia.
      No faith in the stars
      But the showbiz glamourites have still got some dazzling to do, These people have not spent a single day dealing with this problem, Ilinskaya said. And they are not interested in [realistic] solutions.
      The involvement of celebrities is a lobbyist tactic, said her husband and President of the centre, Evgenii Ilinskii. [These] people are far removed from the problem and are trying to force the governments hand.
      Unworkable practices
      It is very hard to find a home for a lost dog in 17 days when they all resist their new owners at first, claimed Makaryevich. If the authorities are going to decide upon as unrealistic a period as 17 days they might as well kill them on the spot, he added.
      The existence of a law in our country does not actually mean that it will be implemented, he said. Until this actually comes into effect volunteers can start going to shelters and keep track of whats going on.
      But Ilinskii believes attempts to spare the animals are themselves destructive, The only country in Europe which has tried to solve this problem [of homeless animals] without using euthanasia is Greece, and it is the country with the worst ecology in the continent. Russia must not follow her footsteps.


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