Political parties and organisations around Cyprus on Wednesday honoured World Animal Day, with calls on the public to get involved and take more initiatives to protect animals.

Akel issued a statement quoting a report by the UN Convention on Biodiversity, which said that between 500,000 and one million species of plants and animals face the threat of extinction within the next few decades.

The statement highlighted that in recent years, issues concerning the welfare of companion animals are becoming more apparent, with animal abandonment and abuse mounting in Cyprus specifically.

“It is necessary to strictly apply the existing legislation and to strengthen it where necessary, according to modern, international practices,” it said.

The party went on to suggest a series of actions that could help the government ensure animal welfare, mainly through the strict application of the law.

This includes more effective regulation of zoos, pet stores and animal shelters, more support for the Animal Police, and for local authorities, to ensure the welfare of pets and help with drawing up a five-year plan for the spaying of strays.

Akel also suggested the provision of services and structures to inform the public and help house and feed stray animals through local volunteering, and finally for the bolstering of a policy aiming towards increasing wildlife numbers.

World Animal Day is also a day of introspection, a day to reflect on the challenges facing animals worldwide, from endangered species to the millions of animals suffering from abuse or neglect, Dipa said in its own statement.

The party urged the public to support animal charities by donating or volunteering, while also raising awareness about issues surrounding animal welfare.

It also suggested choosing to adopt a pet from a shelter rather than buying from a breeder.

“World Animal Day is a reminder of our responsibility to protect and care for animals,” the statement said.

In its own statement, the Animal Party said that animals and wildlife in general are at risk, adding that “thousands are left at God’s mercy”.

“For this reason, we humans should try to save what can be saved, and protect with all our strength the innocent and defenceless animals,” it added.

In this context, the party announced it will be organising an event on Saturday October 7 at Farm House Aradippou animal sanctuary, which houses farm animals for life, protecting them from being killed for consumption.

Meanwhile, The Pancyprian Veterinary Association said that on the occasion of World Animal Day, it is launching an initiative to record the population of stray cats through a combination of technology and volunteering.

In its announcement the association states that the registration will be done using a free mobile phone app to be made available to the public simply by registering. The data collected by participants will then be shared with the veterinary services.

According to its announcement, the initial goal is to gain an accurate assessment of numbers of strays per region in order to improve the implementation of new sterilisation programs.

In an announcement on Tuesday, the University of Cyprus said that the theme of 2023’s World Animal Day is ‘Great or Small, Love Them All’.

“Each of us can make a difference and members of the university community are taking various actions to protect animals. Such actions concern the care (sterilisation, treatment, feeding) of the cats living on the University Campus by the Environmental and Philanthropic Club of the University of Cyprus with the support of volunteers, the protection of the nests of birds and reptiles,” UCy said in a statement.