Galina Steblovskaya about the animal welfare

    Galina Steblovskaya, chairman of the humane society “Predannost”, Belgorod, Russia.

    The humane society “Predannost” is a non-profit and socially oriented organization. Its activities are aimed at creating a humane attitude promoting responsible handling of animals and ensuring safety for the population.

    - What does the humane society “Predannost” do?

    The main goal is to protect animals because it is a humane society, a regional non-profit organization.

    - Tell us more about the projects of the humane society “Predannost”.

    - Our main project is the humane control of a population of animals, homeless animals. We are very concerned that in our area there is an unfavorable situation with animal rabies and we know that the only way to overcome this terrible disease is the humane control of the population of homeless dogs. Therefore we develop programmes based on the positive experience of foreign countries that have solved this problem locally and the positive experience that we already have in other regions of Russia.

    - What are the main problems connected with pets and homeless animals?

    - Of course we face a huge number of problems that are connected with animals generally with all animals including pets. Among the problems are: irresponsible treatment, a very low level of culture of people in relation to animals and, as a result, animal abuse.

    The main problem with homeless animals is improper regulation of their quantity, an illiterate approach. And in fact, it turned out that we solve this problem by developing programs for humane regulation of animals.

    - You also work with wild animals. Why?

    - Yes, we do. Different animals get into trouble - both domestic and wild. And we have a rehabilitation centre for birds of prey. These birds naturally fall into trouble even on the territory of cities and other settlements where we can find such large industrial enterprises as greenhouses. Owls fly to the light, hit the glass and get injured. Naturally zoos cannot accept such animals and we were forced to create such a rehabilitation center by ourselves. It is impossible to pass by. Once there was a situation when we saved the roe deer that accidentally entered the city and was hit by a car.

    - Tell us about the Trap–neuter–return (TNR) programme: what is it? And why should regions apply this?

     -Actually it is the main method of regulating the number of homeless animals. The fact is that humane control of the population contains certain tools for solving the problem of rabies. TNR is an abbreviation that can be different in various countries. But the main idea is that animals need to be vaccinated against rabies, first of all, it is necessary to neuter and it is necessary to release animals that are          non-aggressive which can survive in the city or settlement where there are good conditions for survival. For us it is a necessity because the population of animals will always be. The main thing for us is that it should be controlled locally, and the animals in this population should be healthy to live longer. This is also necessary in order to be able to vaccinate and revaccinate animals.

    - Has the situation with animals become better for the last years?

    - Yes, of course. The situation is changing because the quantity goes into quality at a certain stage and our difficult work with the prosecutor's offices, the difficult work with the representatives of the executive power brings its results. We were able to convey the essence of the problem and how to solve it. And progressive representatives of the executive branch - the heads of municipal districts - understand that this is beneficial for them because this solves the problem, they naturally cooperate with us. Therefore, we already have the results, we conclude state contracts to solve the problem of homeless animals.

    - Do you cooperate with other regions?

    - Of course, we cooperate very closely with other regions: we adopt practices, we share documents, we cooperate and try not to miss out different events devoted to our topic.

    - What was the most exciting animal rescue story?

    - It was a story about lion rescue. Our region is near-border and at the border there was found a baby lion which was transported in a very small box. Of course, he had a number of different diseases. And since there are no rehabilitation centres, they were forced to take him to the zoo. He lived in a zoo but he was treated like a wild animal. It was impossible to create normal conditions for him there and the lion felt worse and worse.  Finally they decided to put him down and make a dummy for students of the academy. Volunteers who were concerned about this situation and were worried about the lion called me and asked for help. And we solved this problem, we found a new home for this lion within 15 minutes.

    - Why did you decide to work in the social sphere?

    - You know, the sphere in which we are engaged is tightly connected with the help to animals, with the protection of animals. I think that people who come to work in this area, they are probably born this way, since childhood they feel sorry for animals. And the time comes when they start doing this consciously, they understand that someone must solve these problems, someone must help. Because these animals are very unhappy and probably the most vulnerable creatures in the world, at least in our country.

    - Can you recommend a book that will help you to become more effective in your sphere?

    - “Mowgli” by Rudyard Kipling.

    - What is your motto?

    -  If not me, who else?

    - What is “happiness” for you?

    - You know, happiness for me is when the problem that I deal with is solved. Because I can say that it is not only for me, it is a large number of people with whom I have to interact. And I have calls from the early morning and people ask for help for animals, not for themselves. And when they say “please, help” I can’t pass by. If there is a trouble I try to help.  This is the category of people who feel sorry for animals no matter how good they are at home, they are at home safely with their children and everything in the family is good. But the fact that there are animals that are in trouble makes them feel unhappy, that’s why they can’t pass by. This is the problem that exists and, actually, the topic that I deal with probably can make me happy. The solution of this problem can make me happy.

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