November 14 Ecology Minister of Ukraine Mykola Zlochevski has met the delegation of British Naturewatch organization headed by its director John Ruane, ForUm learned from the press office of the ministry.

Treatment of stray animals was among the main subjects of discussion. "We are calling upon Ukrainian authorities to use international experience in solving the problem of stray dogs. They must not be slaughtered, as local authorities in Ukraine usually do," John Ruane said.

Zlochevski informed that Ecology Ministry is preparing amendments to the legislation on treatment of stray animals and would be thankful to international community for consultations. "The responsibility of local authorities will be tougher. Now the Ministry is holding talks on construction of new modern shelters for stray dogs in regional centers of Ukraine. The pilot project will be realized in Kyiv before July 2012. I am calling upon local authorities to allocate land for shelters, and the ministry is ready to consider its participation in shelter construction," the Minister said.

As a reminder, animal welfare groups accuse Ukrainian authorities of resorting to illegal, inhumane methods of stray dog culling that cause long, agonizing deaths. The activists claim that dogs are poisoned, injected with forbidden substances and subjected to severe pain as officials rush to clean city streets of stray animals in preparation for the Euro 2012 soccer championship next summer.

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