By Constantinos Psillides
The government will establish a national committee to deal with issues of animal welfare and protection, said the head of the President’s office Panayiotis Antoniou on Tuesday, following a meeting on animal welfare in the presidential palace.
“Our ultimate goal is to show that we are a civilised country, that we have a civilised society that is sensitive towards animals and their rights,” said Antoniou, adding that animal treatment was an indication of how civilised a country was.
Antoniou said the committee would be responsible for everything that has to do with animal welfare and all the departments in various ministries would have to report directly to it.
He added that all legislation regarding animal rights should be revised and updated.
Antoniou asked of the various animal welfare NGOs, the media and government departments to coordinate and come with a media campaign on animal rights.
“If we can’t raise awareness regarding this issue, then no law and no measure we decide upon will matter,” he said.
Environment Commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou, who was present in the meeting, was tasked with recording all kennels and animal shelters on the island and evaluating their condition.
Antoniou concluded by stressing that this is a major issue for the government and that he would supervise the implementation of the measures personally.
The meeting comes after a string of animal abuse cases last December and January this year. Cases including a man tying his dog on his car and dragging it to death and a kennel that let its dogs starve to death.
The 60-year old Limassol man, who was accused of the crime of dragging his dog to death, will appear before the Limassol district court on Thursday.