Target: Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov
Goal: Halt the planned slaughter of stray dogs in Sochi
In preparation for the upcoming Winter Olympics, the Russian city of Sochi has contracted a private company to round up and kill 2000 stray animals of the city. By no means an unusual practice—stray animals were subjected to the same treatment in Beijing and Athens—the slaughter of strays is still both shortsighted and unethical. Euthanizing these animals en masse through the extermination company Basia Services will not solve the problem or address the root cause. Though city authorities cite the understandable danger of these animals as motivation, it must be asked why no steps were taken to address the issue before Sochi was chosen to host the Winter Olympics.
Packs of stray dogs are nothing new in Russia, and there have been ongoing battles in Moscow between animal rights groups and citizen ‘dog-hunters.’ These neglected animals do pose a danger and a risk to human populations, but the issue could and should be addressed through other means than the use of poison and traps in Sochi. Originally, Sochi claimed that it would dispense with the plan, but recent developments prove otherwise. Adoption plans were scrapped as well, allegedly because placing the animals in shelters would be too time-consuming.
Packs of stray dogs are dangerous, admittedly, but mass slaughter will do nothing to address the root issue of Sochi’s stray animals or educate the public on ways to reduce the population. The plan is short-sighted and troublingly evident of disregard for the welfare of the nation’s animals that, through no fault of their own, are left to survive and reproduce without human help or intervention. They are subject to starvation, untreated disease, exposure, and now the possibility of slow or painful deaths through poison because it is too time-consuming to get them humane treatment and, if necessary, painless euthanasia. We must ask that Sochi city authorities consider and implement more humane, long-lasting solutions to the problem.
Dear Mayor Pakhomov,
I was very disturbed to learn of the plan to exterminate 2000 of the city’s stray animals in preparation for the Winter Olympics. Though I understand the reasons for the plan, and the dangers these animals pose to people, I urge you to implement more humane solutions to this problem. These animals should be rounded up, placed in shelters, sterilized, and, if necessary humanely euthanized. Culling the population is a short-sighted and ineffective measure that does not address the cause of stray and neglected dogs and cats. Therefore, I ask that the Sochi government consider other solutions—including public education and spay and neuter programs—in dealing with their stray animals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Andrey via Wikimedia Commons