Have you ever wondered why the animals grazing in the fields of Paros have their legs tied?
In the local dialect, the practice of tying the legs together, usually a front and a rear on the same side or tied in pairs, is called “pastouroma“. Since decades, it is being used in the Cyclades by owners to prevent their animals from jumping fences, from escaping, or simply for making it easier to catch them. In all cases, the animals are subject to a ceaseless torment, to injuries, bone fractures, sprains, painful movement, and forced immobility – some of the worst forms of continuing abuse – their whole life. Although since 2012 hobbling is officially considered in Greece as abuse, the use of this practice continues out of convenience and habit, with no improvement in the condition of the animals. It is also unfortunately observed that while legal complaints are an easy solution, the extent of the phenomenon impedes their enforcement and can become ultimately detrimental to the animal itself (e.g. to avoid being punished for hobbling, an animal owner is more likely to permanently hide the animal in a warehouse or even get rid of it).
The GAWF / Animal Action team visits Paros since 2010 and this year again, its equine care team, under the guidance of its veterinarian Ms Eliza Geskou, were on the island on 23 and 24 April 2016. The team does not only help many injured animals but seeks to initiate talks with their owners. They therefore know about the animal owners’ fence placement difficulties (financial, and geophysical reasons) and the creation of conflicts with neighbors when these trespass. This is why the team’s main ambition is to first inform that, apart from making proper fencing or supervising their animals as expected, owners also have other cost free options. For example, when there is no fence, the animals can be tied at the halter or neck with a long rope. There is also the alternative of using an electric fence, giving the animal the space to move freely and to develop. A target price for a basic electric fence of about 100 meters can start at EUR 140, while for a 200 meters fence the cost starts at EUR 270, always considering that the animal will then live and work for more years. Following an increasing number of complaints at the sight of animals subject to hobbling, mainly from foreign visitors in the summer, it was observed that as well as impacting animals’ well-being, this barbaric tradition also affects the tourism sector and has financial side-effects, as a large number of visitors leave the island with a bad impression of Greek rural culture. Since 2015 Naxos residents have already notified the continuing practice of hobbling to the Naxos District Court, the Supreme Court Attorney Ms E. Koutzamani, the country’s Ministry for Sustainable Development and Energy, the Veterinary and Police
Departments and the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece. Isn’t it time for Parians to also raise the issue? The GAWF / Animal Action organization, knows that the only way to efficiently help animals is to first seek contact with animal owners, children, vets and people. This is the reason why, under its Equine Care Program, it provides free veterinary care for free and conducts information and educational seminars when and where needed. For more information about the GAWF / Animal Action programs and actions, you can contact them at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org and/or by telephone: 210 38 40 010.
For information regarding the organization’s visits, you can directly contact the local organizer Ms Marielli Andreopoulou by phone 6974 902297 or the on-the-field mission officer, Ms. Eliza Geskou at, 6945 444992.