Following the most recent investigative reports of puppy mills in Lithuania, that have exposed the incompetence of the State Food and Veterinary Service, as it continues to ignore country’s long-standing animal welfare problems, 24 animal welfare organizations have signed a letter to the Government today, urging the Prime Minister to initiate substantial changes in the subordinate institution.
The State Food and Veterinary Service is being increasingly criticized by non-governmental animal welfare and protection organizations for its institutional incompetence as well as the incompetence of their inspectors. According to the representatives of the animal welfare organizations, the State Food and Veterinary Service inspectors are unable to perform a physical assessment of animal’s health and are unfamiliar with the requirements of legal acts. In most cases, after negligent inspections, animals are left in the care of breeders who then continue to break the law and torture the animals. This way, the State Food and Veterinary Service is informally registering illegal activities that facilitate the ever-increasing exploitation and torture of animals.
“For several years now, NGOs have been presenting the government with video records of violations done by illegally operating breeders. Each of the organizations were continuously informing the government about the horrible histories behind the footage: horrific conditions and cruelty in the illegal pet animal breeding industry. However, a pro-active response from the responsible The State Food and Veterinary Service department was never received. Meanwhile, the State Food and Veterinary Service inspectors who come to inspection sites to assess the animal’s physical health, tend to only inspect the site at a distance, not wanting to get dirt on their hands when visiting difficult-to-access premises – barns, warehouses – where animals are usually kept ruthlessly, ”says Brigita Kymantaitė, the head of GATO.
To get the court to decide in support of the confiscation of an animal kept in poor conditions, it is necessary to have not only visual evidence but also a detailed inspection report of the State Food and Veterinary Service inspectors, which is crucial in resolving a case of cruelty towards an animal in the court. Thus, unqualified or irresponsible, superficial inspections done by inspectors make it not only impossible to protect the animal from further suffering but also create an impression of impunity for animal abusers, which further encourages both the cruel treatment of pets and the expansion of illegal puppy mills.
“Poor quality inspections done by the State Food and Veterinary Service inspectors mean that illegal breeders remain unpunished and avoid any liability. Recent events show that for many years, an institution, which should be responsible for animal welfare and protection, has had inspectors who do not possess any veterinary knowledge and sleep peacefully knowing that illegal puppy mills, that transcend all limits of humanity, will remain unpunished,”says Beatričė Vaitiekūnaitė-Pliuskė, head of the Animal Welfare Initiatives, another organization that has signed the letter to government, regarding animal welfare.
A total of 462 animals was taken into the of NGOs from puppy mills for two weeks (383 dogs, 11 cats, 68 animal pets of other species).
Read the letter to the government: Kreipimasis_del_VMVT_veiklos