On the 20th of September, our organization, the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation (PFPO), participated in a meeting organized by Hellenic Police, which was held at the Athens War Museum. This very important meeting was organized at the initiative of the chief of Hellenic Police.
The meeting was aimed exclusively at Hellenic Police Executives, and its topic was the role of Hellenic Police in animal protection. The meeting was attended by the leadership of the Ministry of Citizen Protection, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food and, of course, Hellenic Police leadership.
Natassa Bobolaki, the President of PFPO, delivered a speech on behalf of PFPO and animals in Greece. She focused on the illegal animal trade, which has been increasing in Greece, as well as on uncontrolled animal imports into the country, and on severe abuse of hobbled equines and farm animals.
Mrs. Bobolaki also emphasized that appropriate enforcement actions are often not taken by police officers, and that there is a “serious lack of knowledge about all animal legislation” among law enforcement. Recommendations were made in terms of addressing this lack of knowledge, including that officers read a report on Greek animal-related legislation, which has been delivered by PFPO to the Hellenic Police.
Bobolaki noted the important role of police officers in bringing to an end the cruel practice of hobbling farm animals and equines, during which animals are restrained in ways that impede their mobility so that they cannot leave the property they are kept on. Hobbling is already illegal in Greece but is still widespread in certain areas, and enforcement is needed to stop it, along with education campaigns for the public.
Finally, Bobolaki focused on the need to enforce existing welfare laws in puppy mills, pausing to show the audience a video of puppy mill conditions and describing from her own experience the state of dogs and puppies rescued from such conditions. She stated that she hoped to speak to the “sense of duty” of the officers present at the meeting, and to inspire action.
A transcription of Mrs. Bobolaki’s entire speech, translated to English, is available here.
On September 18th, an additional meeting was held with Olympia Teligioridou, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, who is responsible for animal issues. This meeting was conducted in a conversational style, and lasted more than hour. Our first impression is positive, and we expect that actions will be taken to improve animal welfare in our country as a result of this meeting.
Featured image: President of PFPO Natassa Bobolaki delivering her speech at the September 20th meeting. This image and all other images in this story credited to PFPO.