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Blog Posted in avatar   Johnny Summerton's Blog

Euro 2012 - Ukraine's stray dog "massacre"

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By Johnny Summerton
Posted Oct 31, 2011 in Sports
Football fans will know that next year sees the finals of Euro 2012.
It's a footballing feast held every four years and a showcase for the Beautiful Game in Europe.
This time around it's being hosted jointly, by Poland and Ukraine, who together with 14 other countries will take part in the tournament.
Millions of television viewers will doubtless be glued to their screens from the kick off in the Polish capital Warsaw on June 8 to the final in the Ukraine capital Kiev on July 1.
Concerns have been voiced over the past couple of years by Uefa (Union of European Football Associations) - the game's governing body in Europe - especially about the infrastructure and progress of the scheduled venues in both countries.
But the marketing and promotion machine is now in full swing and everything looks set to kick off as scheduled.
Except in all the hullabaloo and spin in the run up to the tournament, there's one subject that hasn't been getting so much media coverage: how Ukraine is going about the job of getting rid of its stray dog problem.
And it is a huge issue as Russian-based RT television news recently reported.
With "tens of thousands of animals roaming the streets of the country's cities" Ukraine's stray dog population presents a health risk. People are apparently being bitten regularly and there's the risk of infection.
The solution as far as the authorities are concerned has been to "remove, kill and burn stray dogs in a mobile crematorium".
But the methods used have apparently outraged animal rights activists in Ukraine who deem the practice cruel and claim that some of the animals are still alive when they're being burnt.
They've been gathering signatures in an online petition for some time now in an effort to bring wider attention to the way in which authorities have been going about the clean-up campaign and to urge former French international and current Uefa president Michel Platini to use his influence.
And last week they were joined by the French animal charity Fondation 30 millions d'amis.
"Is the killing of thousands of animals in the most squalid conditions in keeping with the image of a world class sporting event?" asks the Fondation on it website.
The answer, as far as the charity is concerned, is clearly "no" and it has launched its own petition in an open letter to both Platini and the Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych.
It's demanding that a stop be put to the "massacre" and a suitable sterilisation, transportation and rehoming programme be set up.
Watch the RT clip (the presenter warns that the images might be disturbing) and see what you think.

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