OIPA International has many times shone a light on the most dreadful realities faced by dogs and cats in countries unable to ethically deal with stray animals.

OIPA’s last summer campaign focused on raising awareness for the voiceless animals of Dubai (Holiday for you/Hell for us/#EthicalTravel), this year the objective is to point the light on animals’ conditions in Albania.

Although the country is under negotiation for joining the European Union (process started in March 2020), hence it should ensure respect for EU animal welfare laws and regulations; at national level minimum standards concerning animal welfare and protection are actually not even observed.

The situation is alarming, particularly if we consider the cruel treatment meted out to stray dogs. Albania in fact carries out one of the harshest – often tourism related treatment for handling stray animals among European countries.

Despite under the existing EU animal welfare legislation, the welfare of stray animals is regulated only in limited circumstances; the Commission supports the guidelines for stray dog population control proposed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), of which Albania is also a member.

Guidelines indicate that a specific mass sterilization and vaccination programme is the most appropriate method for managing correctly the population of stray animals. A solution that provides long term and successful results, including an adequate public health level, without killing or causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

While local institutions in Vlore, Pogradec and other Albanian cities affirm not to have enough funds to allocate for the mass sterilization/vaccination campaign of stray dogs; the major of Tirana keeps ordering sterilization campaigns that turn out to be legalized “mass culling” programmes. The result is that thousands of dogs across Albania are claimed to be cruelly killed every year by lethal injection, poisoning or shooting as revealed from video footage, photos and reports provided by local animal protection associations, animal activists and tourists.

A terrible episode of animal cruelty was registered in Pogradec few months ago when municipality workers had tied more than 40 stray dogs to trees leaving them to starve without any food or water and die in the snow; but summer is even worst. The arrival of international tourists is the “best excuse” used to justify the regular practice of killing strays.

Local associations and volunteers, as our member league Animal Rescue Albania in Tirana or our international representative in Vlore monitor constantly street dogs on site. They feed and take care of them daily, and even provide vaccination, spaying/neutering and medical care when needed.

Animal welfare is an important factor to ponder when you plan your vacation. It is not just about choosing your destination based on the best landscape, the best price, the best hotel, the best entertainment. It is also about awareness. It is a matter of respect and love.

Do you think you will spend a nice holidays knowing that animals around you are neglected or even killed before your arrival? Do you think you will be able to lay on the beach while stray animals around you suffer? If the answer is no, start collecting information about animal welfare standards and animal protection laws before planning your next international trip.

Choose your destination carefully!

If you need to collect more information or you wish to help animals in Albania, you can contact our member league association in Tirana Animal Rescue Albania or our OIPA Representative in Vlore (Entela Guberaj).

You can also make a donation for our International campaign “SAVE A STRAY” and help us support stray animals mistreated and neglected across the world