Cyprus Mail

It’s not supermarkets giving to charity, it’s their customers

The failure over many years of the Cyprus government and the municipalities to address the wholesale failure to register or licence the vast majority of dogs in Cyprus has made it far too easy to abandon dogs without any comeback on the irresponsible. From just one charity’s figures for the year ended 2012 some 10,000 animals were rescued. Of the 3585 dogs rescued/ abandoned only 158 had been micro-chipped (less than 5% i.e. 95 in every 100 had no microchip) and only a pathetic 0.3% that is 12 of them had been computer registered with the government Vet! At the same time 531 were reported missing whilst of those 305 were returned to owner.

The peak times for abandoning animals seem to have been over Christmas and New year together with ‘Hunting’ dogs left behind by impatient hunters who cannot be bothered to try to find an insufficiently trained or controlled missing dog, so drive off and leave them. They still expect animal charities to rescue and feed them though, without even thinking that these charities need money and support to do so.

From my own fundraising for animal welfare charities experience a disproportionate amount of care and support for Cypriot charities has come mainly from the relatively small number of British expats and associated small businesses who work tirelessly holding and supporting fundraising events, together with donations direct from the UK. That is not to say that the help and support from local Cypriot small business and farmers is not appreciated, it is. Most Cypriot companies do not operate a donate to charity from salary scheme or support a particular charity on a regular basis. The tax benefits like the ‘Giftaid’ scheme do not seem to apply to Cyprus, but could have been introduced years ago.

Cypriot owned large companies and the big supermarkets need to do a lot more. A huge amount of food is still being wasted by the supermarket chains which appear to consider that they are doing their bit by just putting a box out for the ‘needy’ for their customers donations, the customers having paid the full price for the items and given maximum profit to the Supermarket.

It is not the supermarket giving to charity it is their customers, no matter how this fact is distorted by claims of vast potential sums being given by them in an attempt to improve their market share customer throughput. It would be different if they matched the customers donation with one of their own or sold the goods donated at cost or half price, but they have not done so. A few have operated a loyalty scheme for some years where Customers opt to give their points to a charity to redeem, again this is misrepresented as the company donating thousands of euros when it is not, the customers have earned them. One or two have done nothing at all to help and one in particular that has just opened another huge new store in Paphos (3/6/2012) had  to be shamed into eventually putting a ‘ for the needy’ box by the tills just a few days ago at its older Paphos store as they had not done so before. As for helping feed any abandoned animals that seems to be well beyond them.

This lack of thought or support from big business is not a new phenomenon nor can it be blamed on the current financial climate.

They need to help out a lot more particularly to support abandoned animals in Cyprus.

Paul Dobson, via email

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