One of the most famous peacemakers in the world, the famous Mahatma Gandhi left behind a popular thought: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way animals are treated."

Admittedly, the fight for animal rights in our area due to the pandemic, poverty, and other reality factors somehow naturally falls into the background. That's why this week's roundup of charity news is dedicated to animal welfare: because it's important to highlight the acts that help their rights and the individuals across the region who take care of them every day.

We used data from our Giving Balkans app to find out how much our neighbors and fellow citizens invested in animal welfare in 2021, and the results indicate that Croatia was the most successful: recorded donations show that Croatians invested approximately €28,000 in this area. Serbia follows, with a recorded €8,700 in donations for the welfare of animals. It is followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina with €1,500, Albania with €340, and Montenegro with €300 during that year.

Below, look at the graphic display of recorded donations in Croatia in 2021 and find out which place the topic of animal welfare occupies.

Find out below how the Western Balkan region encouraged the environment to focus on improving the rights of domestic and wild animals, our furry and feathered friends, in recent weeks.

A family estate that grew into a zoo and a place of education

A farmer from Kovilj in Serbia, Đorđe Plavšić and his family have been breeding domestic animals for many years, which in different ways and for different reasons ended up on his family farm.

Everything you see here I made, first of all, for myself and the love for animals that I inherited from my father. Apart from the fact that I love animals and have the need to take care of them, over time I also recognized the need for educating children about the animal world, as well as bringing them closer to nature. That's how I came up with the idea of ​​creating a specific place where visitors, especially children, can not only see different domestic animals, but also pet them, and then learn something about them, says Đorđe.

This zoo is different from the others in many ways, so one of its characteristics is that children are allowed to have direct contact with the animals. Thus, the youngest visitors can hang out with a quail, rabbit, or chicken or ride a pony, and then go through the workshops of a small educational center, which is again not typical for such places.

The educational center of Bački Zoo includes outdoor classrooms and includes three workshops led by Đorđe's partner Tatjana Kojić. Workshops take place on Fridays and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and every child who comes to visit the garden participates. Although the plan is to expand the garden, as well as the educational center itself in the form of indoor classrooms, soon children will be able to study in the winter, and the garden will be able to welcome its guests undisturbed even after the end of the summer.

At the first workshop, children have the opportunity to learn what turkey, hen, and cuckoo eggs look like. When the first lesson is mastered, children take animal figurines out of a box full of corn kernels, guess their names, and learn to recognize the sounds they make, as well as what they eat. The third workshop includes painting, where children, after being in the garden, transfer their experience to paper. While the children are playing, hanging out with the animals, and learning, parents can sit on the benches under the treetops and try some of the local products, such as juices from lovage, cherries, and acacia.

Another peculiarity of the garden is that only domestic animals have found their habitat here, because, as Plavšić believes, wild animals do not belong indoors, but in nature. Bački Zoo currently has about 80 animals, namely quails, parrots, canaries, Cameroon dwarf goats, horses, ponies, and others.

There are different ways in which they got into this household, and one of the most common is by adopting neglected animals or rescuing them from poor living conditions. Some animals were given as gifts to the owner, so canaries, Dutch white-crested chickens, and rabbits arrived in the household. On one occasion, a goat arrived from Despotovo, and then a colorful goat arrived as a gift from the Agricultural School in Ruma to keep him company. Last year, the mare Lutka arrived in the garden from the Belgrade Hippodrome. She most often hangs out with the mare Dunja, who turned 28 this year.

There are also those animals that come alone as guests. Thus, the male Đura stork has recently been a regular guest in the garden. He has breakfast here every morning, and along the way, he refreshes himself on a small green lake, where domestic and wild ducks swim.

However, the most common way animals contribute to the Kovil zoo is the goodwill of our interlocutor to adopt them, and save them from poor living conditions, illness, and even death. That's how the donkey Picasso arrived here and very quickly became the main star of the garden. Picasso arrived from a farm where animals lived in terrible conditions. When an animal protection association contacted us and asked us to adopt him, we immediately agreed. Fortunately, he had no major health problems. We only had to trim his hooves and clean him of parasites, says the interlocutor.

In addition to the mentioned animal species, visitors can also see turkeys and domestic chickens. Another advantage of this zoo compared to others is that there is no entrance fee, but every visitor has the opportunity to leave donations in the form of food for the animals or money.

The costs are high, but we are an agricultural farm that has our own land, and we feed them with what we produce ourselves, reveals Plavšić, who spends twelve hours a day taking care of the property, adding that people are increasingly interested in donating money and food. In addition to the ongoing works on expanding the garden, the owners of this oasis are planning to organize a multicultural evening in September, which will undoubtedly raise Kovilj to its feet, but also gather all lovers of animals, nature, and culture in one place.

Equestrian club and zoo in Smetovi about to close: How can we help

After two months of promises, the city administration and the mayor of Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fuad Kasumović, and the head of the mayor's cabinet decided that Zenica does not need an equestrian club and a mini zoo and withheld the promised help, says owner and founder Amer Beganović.

If we don't collect funds for food for the winter soon, we will start shutting down and closing the zoo, which is the joy of children, young people, and adults of the city of Zenica and beyond. Once again, I appeal to good people to help us survive the winter if the City won't, Beganović adds.

Support them at:

  • Amer Beganović
  • Foreign currency account BA393060292700404829
  • Account in KM 3060292730265309
  • At Addiko bank DD Sarajevo
  • Or to the Equestrian Club and mini zoo Smet Zenica
  • 1346681007038077 At ASA Bank DD Sarajevo

A humanitarian exhibition organized by the Association SOS Šape Poreč opened in Galija

The humanitarian exhibition of artworks by the artist Istra Lazarić Toner was opened in the gallery space of the Club Galija Poreč Pensioners' Association in Croatia, organized by the Animal Protection Association SOS Šape Poreč and with the help of the Poreč Art Association that operates there.

Lazarić Toner lives and works in England, and she dedicated her life to art, but also to her love for nature and animals, so she decided to donate ten of her works to the Poreč Association for the Protection of Animals SOS Šapa, the organizer of the event, and all proceeds from the sold paintings will be used for taking care of animals. Therefore, the motto of the exhibition is "Buy a painting and save a life".

Horse asylum "Staro Brdo" is an example of selfless humanity

The editors of the Srbija Today portal presented an example of the nobility of Željko Iličić and Violeta Jović, the founder and volunteer of the "Staro Brdo" animal shelter.

Asylum for horses "Staro Brdo" is the first and only asylum for horses in Serbia and the Balkans. Before this asylum, there was no place for organized reception of horses that were abused, neglected, starved, or rejected, but only if there were some rescue actions and came, it was in rare cases.

The founder of the asylum, Željko Iličić, started rescuing horses on his own in 2012, and in 2015, with the initial support of the English animal aid organization Serbia's Forgotten Paws, the asylum officially started working.

According to Željko and Violeta, the main problem is that the horses remained under everyone's radar. The Animal Welfare Act does not provide for measures after the seizure of the horse by the veterinary inspector (where the horse would be placed after the seizure, from which finances, with whose work, and so on). A horse is always someone's private property, there are no abandoned horses, and abuse and neglect unfortunately often go without reaction, because the problem is not systematically and legally regulated.

Opening an asylum for horses is a way to change the situation at least somewhat for the better. It is incredible that in recent years only two, sometimes three people have been actively working in the asylum, without a single day of rest.

When asked how many animals the asylum takes care of, given that they don't have a single day of rest, Violeta says: So far, about 80 rescued horses and donkeys have passed through the asylum, most of which have been happily adopted, for some, unfortunately, it was too late. while some are still in the asylum, due to their age and health. In addition to horses and donkeys, many abandoned cats and dogs, roosters, seven abandoned pigs, dwarf goats and a water buffalo that was left without a mother found salvation in the asylum, and at the moment there are about 60 animals in total.

Despite the high costs, we manage to fulfill our mission

Hay for horses is the most expensive item in our budget because to feed 12-13 horses and donkeys, as many as there are on average in the asylum, about 400 bales of hay are needed per month, and the price of hay has risen sharply in the last year and it is difficult to find below 300 dinars with transportation. In addition to hay, we also need forage (grain feed) for the elderly and recovering horses (about 20 kilograms per day, also almost doubled in price), we need a straw for the mat, and in addition to food costs, there are all other regular and extraordinary costs - veterinarian, pruner, fuel, repairs, materials, transport...

If you want to help their work, contact the "Staro Brdo" horse shelter.

An Albanian woman from Switzerland helps street dogs in Albania

A seemingly unspectacular event in Valona, ​​Albania, prompted Ms. Miller to volunteer for the welfare of abandoned animals in Albania. Something that started as an inner calling and love for animals gradually turned into professional work for a more progressive coexistence between animals and humans, which is the animal protection association founded by Müller: "JETA Tier und Mensch" (LIFE, Animal and Man).

As a person who knows the Swiss and Albanian languages and cultures, I do not have a biased view of the harsh conditions of animal shelters in Albania. And yet I get a kind of culture shock when I compare the means and possibilities of animal shelters in Albania with those in Switzerland. However, what fascinated me at the same time in "Protect me Albania" was the voluntary engagement of local staff. With minimal resources, and little or no respect from society and politics, workers devote themselves wholeheartedly to each abandoned animal.

Action for street kittens launched in North Macedonia

On the North Macedonian crowdfunding platform eCrowd, a fundraising campaign was launched to cure Klio, a four-month-old street kitten who is fighting an illness.

As highlighted in the campaign, four-month-old street kitten Klio was found on the street and because her eyes were infected, she was taken into care to find her a home. Her sight was saved, but she was recently diagnosed with wet FIP (infectious peritonitis).

We feel that even though she's a nonpedigree cat, even though she's ownerless, and even though we don't have enough funds to provide the precious medicine, she still deserves a chance at life. Help us give her that chance!

Get to know the shelter for endangered animals in Vršac

During one year of operation of the Temporary Shelter for Endangered Wild Animals in Vršac, which operates within the PUK "Second October", about a hundred injured birds were saved, which, if they had not been taken care of in the aviaries there, would surely have died or remained permanently disabled.

This shows that the establishment of this rehabilitation center, the second in Vojvodina, has immeasurable importance, especially since there are many protected species among the "patients".

Currently, there are three young and malnourished storks, which were injured after falling from the nest. The question is whether they will fly south at all this fall. Also, there is a short-eared owl, a tawny owl with a severe wing injury, as well as two strictly protected buzzard eagles, which, thanks to adequate care, managed to survive, but, unfortunately, they will never be able to fly again.

We have witnessed a large number of wild animals suffering, poisoning, and injuries, especially when it comes to birds. People often find them injured and emaciated somewhere in the atar or in the city center. These injuries are usually not of a serious nature, but if they are not healed, the individuals usually die. That's why shelters like this are extremely important because, after only a little care, they will be ready to return to nature again, says Milivoj Vučanović, Vrsac ranger, and amateur ornithologist, for "Novosti".

Nikola from Srbobran saves animals, and Snoopy is one of them

Nikola Stojković from Srbobran has been rescuing different dogs since he was eight years old. Both those who found themselves in trouble and those who were abandoned by their owners. He has his own shelter and reception center for accommodating and adopting dogs, where he faithfully guards them, and later finds new owners for them. He just chose this humane job because he wants to help those who need love the most, and in this case, abandoned pets. He also brought with him a beautiful dog, Snoopy, who he introduced us to and who is only two months old and weighs the same.

I found Snoopy ten days ago on the street together with his brother "Sasha". He was wet, scared, and hungry. Someone left them in a box next to a busy road. And so I decided to take them home because I'm in the business of rescuing animals. Snoopy is a mixed breed dog and he will be of medium height we want to find him a home this time during this show, says Nicola.

The job of finding lost and abandoned animals is performed upon the report of the owner, as well as concerned citizens who do not know what to do when they see an abandoned animal.

People are usually less likely to adopt black dogs because they believe in stories about black cats, so they think that black dogs also bring bad luck. They think it's true, but it's just prejudice. Black dogs, like any other dog, are happy and cheerful and can be our best friends. It is only important that we love them, and they will return our love threefold, concludes Nikola.

If we have missed any action in the fight for animal rights in this text, send us your story in the comments. To receive regular stories about philanthropy and social responsibility, sign up for our newsletter.