The Olympic Games has become a vehicle for the mass killing of stray cats and dogs. It doesn’t happen every time but it happens too often and too much. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of stray cats and dogs were rounded up and killed, some brutally, to clean up the streets.
In the winter Olympic Games at Sochi, Russia in 2014 stray dogs and cats were reportedly rounded up and killed. I wrote about that at the time.
It is now reported that stray dogs and cats are being killed in 11 Russian cities hosting the Football World Cup which begins in June of this year. Apparently tenders to contractors to rid the streets of stray cats and dogs have already been issued. These contracts are said to be worth £1.4 million. The authorities deny this and they say that they are building temporary shelters. It appears that 2 cities are resisting culling the animals. These are Nizhny Novgorod and Kaliningrad. The authorities in these cities are, we are told, going to house the animals in shelters and sterilize them.
Before the Brazilian Olympic Games in 2014 it was reported that stray cats and dogs were also rounded up and killed. The Brazilian government deny this. However animal activists reported the disappearance of stray animals with no temporary shelters in which to house them.
The role of FIFA must also be called into question. They can make demands upon host countries to treat the animals humanely but they don’t. They allegedly turn a blind eye. It is an unimportant to them apparently to treat animals humanely.
I see the argument that the countries hosting the World Cup or the Olympic Games want put on a good show and clean up the place beforehand but it is untenable and utterly inhumane to treat stray cats and dogs like this. It would be far better from a publicity point of view and from the point of view of doing the right thing to trap stray cats and dogs where appropriate and house them in temporary shelters where they could be spayed and neutered and vaccinated and held until the games were over when they could be released or if possible re-homed.
This is a good moment to practice TNR in these countries. It probably wouldn’t cost that much more to achieve the same objective but in a humane way. It just takes a different attitude by the authorities together with the commitment to exercise a degree of animal welfare and frankly at very basic level. Why can’t countries do this?
I can remember when the Olympic Park was built in the East of London in preparation for the London Olympics. There were some feral cats living on a deserted site that had to be cleared. Those cats were trapped by the Celia Hammond Animal Trust at great difficulty, I have to say, because there remained one black cat who was determined not to be trapped. Yes, I am praising the UK but they did the right thing. As far as I am aware no animals were killed to clear the streets of strays in preparation for the London Olympics.
Olympic Games are becoming a burden on countries. They are too expensive. They don’t make a profit for the country hosting the games. The athletes are not infrequently involved in fraudulent behaviour in taking illegal drugs to enhance performance and to compound these negative factors we have the mass killing of thousands upon thousands of stray animals which humans put their in the fist place. We owe a duty to treat them decently.
Sources: Myself, Metro.co.uk. Petition site.