There isgrowing concern concerning the eradication of stray animals in Ukrainian cities poised to co-host the footballing tournament Euro 2012 with Poland next June.
The Ukraine has a reputation for having streets overrun with strays, and animal-rights activists are convinced that the only solution is to move all football matches to neighbouring Polish cities. However Poland, while maintaining a pro-life stance on the animals contained within its shelters, is not known for sanitary living conditions for stray animals. In fact, reports have shown that dogs treated in shelters are kept on a leash for several years, among increasingly overcrowded pen areas.
Even so, if all Euro 2012 matches are moved to Poland, a country that does not view euthanasia as a popular means of eradication, will animal deaths decline in Ukraine?
Many Ukrainian citizens do not agree, nor do they see match-shifting as a palatable fix to the animal cruelty issues that plague their cities. Instead, they view it as a problem that needs to be addressed via the civil service sector of government, who are believed to be supporting eradication practices.
Indeed, many citizens have reported multiple instances of stray food laced with pills containing Isoniazid, which is known to cause serious damage to an animal’s internal organs. It is this practice that is most worrying, as many have expressed concerns that children could consume some of these poisonous substances.
Ukraine is now under the international microscope in the months leading up to what is perceived to be a large economic boon for the country. How it chooses to handle its animal rights image, while protecting the lives of its younger citizens, will be up to Kiev and the rest of the country in the months to come.