Victory in Croatia!
Animal Friends Rescue 32 Beagles, Shut Down Experiment
from No Compromise Issue 28
 

The animal liberation movement has grown from humble beginnings into an international force for change. In the past decade, grassroots organizations have sprouted up in areas of the world previously barren of animal rights activity. This spread of ideas and action is inspiring, and perhaps no recent victory has been as inspiring as the “Battle for the Beagles” in Croatia.

In early July, Croatian activists heard rumors that a shipment of beagle puppies had arrived at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb. Further investigation quickly proved the rumors were true: The beagles had come from a supplier in Italy. A student working undercover in the labs sent pictures of the beagles to Animal Friends Croatia. The group decided the situation was urgent and immediately contacted activists around the country asking them to attend a demonstration the very next day, July 13th. The media gave excellent coverage to the protests, and soon the cause of these beagles was a top news story around Croatia.

Once the media became involved, facts about the experiments began to surface rapidly. It was discovered that the dogs were being held in quarantine until they would be shipped to the University of Zagreb Medical School. Once there, their bones would be broken to test morphogenic bone protein, a substance already tested numerous times on both animals and humans. Furthermore, documents filed by the University’s faculty were found to be falsified, vague or missing necessary signatures. Within 24 hours of the first protest, 70 more people from around the country descended on the school demanding answers and freedom for the beagles.

With the school facing a public relations nightmare, its Dean, Dr. Liljana Pinter, contacted animal rights organizations and began assuring them a full investigation would take place. Activists announced that an investigation was not enough and planned a loud demonstration for later in the week. Every major media outlet announced the protest, and when it arrived 500 people were present with banners and bullhorns in the streets of Zagreb.

By now the organizers had discovered the names of the vivisectors responsible for bringing the beagles to Croatia. Professor Antun Brkic and Professor Slobodan Vukicevic quickly become villains to compassionate people across the country. The protest was an amazing success, but the following day it was discovered that Prof. Brkic had already illegally begun the experiment.

Luckily, the Dean of the school kept her promise. She suspended the professor and allowed Animal Friends of Croatia to guard the dogs 24 hours a day. News media joined them, and soon people from the area came to join the vigil. Even the Croatia’s president, Stjepan Mesic, sent his best wishes for the beagles. Soon the pressure on the university was too great and they announced that all of the beagles would be turned over to animal rights groups for rehoming!

All of the dogs were soon placed in new homes while cameras documented this historic victory. For the first time people across Croatia were asked to seriously consider the rights of animals, and they responded with surprising empathy. In a recent poll, 92% of Croatians said they do not believe animal tests are necessary.

This is not the end of the story, however. One month after the beagles escaped to a better life their new human companions brought them all back together to be re-united. The dogs are all recovering well, although some of them were badly injured in the labs. Animal Friends Croatia is fighting for criminal prosecutions of many faculty members and is continuing to use protest and education to smash speciesism.

This news story was complied from online accounts of the protests as well as articles written by Anita Euschen and Bernard Vjeran Franolic of Animal Friends Croatia. For more information please visit www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr