Greece has one of the largest populations of stray cats and dogs in Europe, many of which are fed and taken care of by local people. Visitors who come into contact with them during their stay will find such encounters uneventful and frequently enjoyable. However, where animals are not looked after in the local community, this can cause problems both for local people and tourists, while the strays themselves frequently suffer, having an average life expectancy of just two years. In response, the Greek Animal Welfare Fund/Animal Action Hellas has initiated the Model Island Approach to Animal Welfare project (MIAAW), which aims to address the issue of stray animal populations on Lefkada as a model for other islands


A participatory, bottom-up approach
Solutions emerging from local communities are often better suited to their needs than those imposed from above. Therefore, the MIAAW project aims to bring together various groups on Lefkada and to pave the way for effective community engagement, encouraging a participatory, bottom-up approach to the management of stray animals.

A long-term plan that is both humane and sustainable
During the course of the project, stakeholders on the island will take part in workshops to develop a shared understanding of the problems associated with stray animals and to explore possible solutions. Local residents, visitors and professionals will become part of these efforts through public events to raise awareness on animal welfare issues. The ultimate aim is to produce a long-term animal population management plan that is both humane and sustainable.


Enhanced animal welfare
Integrated planning methods and management measures will be employed to enhance animal welfare on Lefkada, fulfilling the demand of the local community for an environment of respect and protection for animals that is compatible with sustainable economic and social development.
The project will aim:
• to manage stray animal populations in a humane and sustainable way
• to educate residents, tourists and business owners, improve the holiday
experience and contribute to the local economy
• to ensure that local authorities formally adopt and implement the project’s
best practices and guidelines (e.g. in the form of a Humane Community
Action Plan)
• to engage the local community in this project, in order to ensure that
the actions and measures outlined during the process will be implemented beyond the initial duration of the project
• to establish a successful model island approach in terms of animal welfare
standards.

GAWF/Animal Action Hellas is funding and implementing the MIAAW project as part of its work with stray animals. It is collaborating on the MIAAW project with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), applying IFAW’s Humane Community Development tool, which encourages communities to develop management plans that address the specific needs of dogs, cats and people.

Download the Model Island's Approach to Animal Welfare leaflet here