Athens 20th September 2018
Re: Submission of 10,000 signatures to save the animals at the wildlife rescue centre (EKPAZ) on the island of Aegina.
Dear Mr Famellos
Dear Ms Teligioridou
We wish to draw to your attention that more than 10,000 individuals have now signed the petition that Animal Action created in August 2018, aiming to take action on behalf of the animals living in intolerable conditions at the Greek Centre for the Protection of Wild Animals (EKPAZ) on Aegina.
The number of signatures on our petition demonstrates the increasing importance people attach to the welfare of animals in Greece. Over the past 9 years, a number of organisations and individuals with expertise in wildlife protection have repeatedly filed reports and complaints to every competent authority (Ministries, Directorates, Prefecture of Attica) concerning the horrifying state of the EKPAZ Centre. In spite of this, no effective action to remedy the situation has been taken.
Currently, although some of the animals have been removed, there is still a large number held at the Centre with no apparent prospect of release. These range from domesticated species to wild ones such as boar, fox, tortoises and turtles as well as many species of wild birds. The latter include species that are rare or endangered and are consequently to be found on the IUCNC’s Red List and/or the CITES lists of species in which international trade is prohibited.
Appalling conditions prevail throughout the neglected Centre, with many factors putting the animals’ lives at risk. There is stinking rubbish piled up everywhere and a shameful absence of even the most basic hygiene, while the lack of running water and the tinder-dry vegetation surrounding the installations presents a real and present fire hazard. Critically, the Centre is known to be deeply in debt and there is reported to be an ongoing and chronic shortage of suitable feed.
Our organisation has been active in the welfare of animals in Greece for over 50 years and although we principally deal with companion animals and working horses, donkeys and mules, we cannot understand why government departments have for a long time now appeared indifferent to the suffering being caused to wild animals at EKPAZ.
Animal Action sincerely hopes that the voices of so many people, raised in protest at the state of EKPAZ both from within Greece and internationally, will now motivate you to take immediate action. Since it seems unimaginable that, after such a prolonged period of financial distress, EKPAZ will be able to secure the very substantial funding that would enable it to achieve the complete refurbishment of its facilities and provide the level of professional management that is so urgently needed, we call upon you to:
- Announce the immediate closure of the EKPAZ Centre
- Issue a Confiscation Order for the remaining animals and proceed, under specialist supervision, with the immediate release of any of their number that would be able to survive in the wild
- Hand over all non-releasable animals to institutions and organisations that can offer the expertise and infrastructure necessary to care for them and provide them with a suitable environment in which to live out the remainder of their lives.
We respectfully request your response, outlining how you intend to proceed to address the urgent need for action in Aegina.
Paul McGlone Anna Stamatiou
CEO Animal Action Hellas Chair Animal Action Hellas