Sir,
I know I speak for so many on this island who were heart sickened by your report about allegations of cruelty towards dogs waiting to be put down in Majorca's dog pound. This article came in the same week that new statistics were released showing 11'000 animals were abandoned and 5'000 put to sleep last year. How can this scale of suffering – taking place on one of the wealthiest islands in the world – be squared with Majorca selling itself as a “Paradise in the sun”? Try selling that to those who discover behind their luxury hotel, a desperate other–world of ill and starving cats, abandoned and cruelly treated dogs. It is a sight many do not want to endure ever again. Last August, it was a kitten thrown out of a passing car in the village square, crying pitifully, that wrecked my visit. This year it is a lovely old Alsation that no one wants. If it wasn't for Liz Whitehead and the good people who run the Centro Canino refuge I would be in despair. Catalina Terrassa deputy mayor for the Environment, it is said, is looking into the allegations of cruelty at her dog pound. I hope Catalina goes much further than this and instigates a full scale investigation into the entire issue of animal welfare on Majorca. If she can do anything to turn this desperate situation around, she will have the gratitude of thousands. And I don't mean deploying the final solution – rounding them all up and wiping them out which has so often happened in the past. A free veterinary programme of neutering and treating sick animals found abandoned, would be a start. Educating youngsters at school about the care of pets in their possession is another. In the UK the Cats Protection League looks after and neuters cats before releasing them to loving homes. Why can't Majorca have something similar? Is there, also, nothing that can be done to stop people owning dogs which end up tied to a short chain for their entire lives? Numerous little animal refuges do their best up and down the island to right the situation, but most are overloaded and struggling to cope. There are so many decent people here, doing what they can with very limited resources but with much love and affection for animals deposited on their doorsteps. They must wonder how it is that millions of euros of Government money can be found for tourist projects in Majorca, but the one most desperately in need of cash and which touches the hearts of most of us, hardly gets a look in. Isn't it also time to closely at the grants given by government to theme parks which use wildlife as visitor attractions? A documentary I made about ivory poaching, back in the 90*s for the US network, CBS allowed the world to see for the first time the true extent of cruelty inflicted upon elephants in Kenya. That documentary had such an effect that it changed the world law on ivory poaching and also, as it happens, devastated the Kenyan tourist trade. Majorca has been lucky. Shots of the rich playing in the Med don't sit happily alongside some of the other sights so many of us have witnessed on our visits here. If Catalina wants help to sort out this horrible mess, I know plenty of people – Mallorquins, Germans, and Britons among the many nationalities – who would be willing to do whatever it takes to bring an end to the distress 11'000 animals (at the very least) endured here last year alone.
Selina Scott
(by email)

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