Charities have highlighted the plight of circus elephants. :: R. L.
Four animal charities unite to fight animal cruelty
The first meeting of a new organisation, Unite for Animals, that will bring four existing animal charities closer together took place last Friday. With around 40 members of the public in attendance, volunteers from ARCH, SOS Animals, CHAIN and SEARCH explained how working together would help the four animal charities achieve more for abandoned, abused and rescued animals.
Jill Newman-Rogers, President of ARCH horse charity talked about how the combined efforts of local charities helped persuade the council in Alhaurín el Grande to ban a travelling circus from operating in the municipality in 2013 after the mistreatment of circus elephants was highlighted in letters and personal representations to the town hall. She added that more work is planned with neighbouring councils this year to try to prevent the circus from operating right across the Costa del Sol.
“There is evidence that baby elephants are ‘taught’ to do circus tricks by using electric cattle prods. It is too late to help the animals already in the circus but if we want to work with a nationwide organisation based in Barcelona to get these kinds of animal circuses banned across the whole country,” said Jill.
Another successful example of charities working together, explained Jill, was the new animal welfare standards for the donkey taxis in Mijas, where a system of penalties means negligent and cruel donkey taxi operators are served with council licensing sanctions that prevent them from earning money and thereby encourage the owners to improve the welfare of their animals.
Plans to involve local councils in promoting neutering programmes for cats and dogs were discussed and questions from members of the public covered topics such as what to do if you find a stray animal and how to stop dogs barking at night.
Representatives from the four charities also explained that despite the work that they do to rescue animals that have been neglected or mistreated, they have no powers under Spanish law.
“We do encourage people to make an official complaint (denuncia) when they witness animal neglect or cruelty but we do have to remember that for most of us here, we are guests in someone else’s country and that sensitivities and culture around animals can be different,” said one representative.