Estonian Greens submitted to the electoral committee a fully manned electoral list – the applications of 125 candidates to run in parliamentary elections. Among the candidates, fifteen volunteers with the Animal Rescue Group also agreed to run in the elections. The animal rescuers’ principal objective is not to gain a seat in the Parliament but, rather, to support a green way of thinking and to introduce the animal protection domain in the electoral debate.

 “Animal protection will never be the number one topic in any election; however, developed societies do take notice of other species as well. Once again, not one party mentioned in their program the need to protect animals and that is something we want to change,” said Heiki Valner, Head of the Animal Rescue Group NPO.

Katrin Lehtveer, Head Coordinator of Volunteer Work, says the Group seeks to set an example to other non-profit associations and encourage them to take part in the next elections as the views and proposals of animal rescuers are not represented in the Parliament today. Estonian Greens’ promises as related to animal protection are the following:

  1. We’ll establish a national wild animal rehabilitation center and improve national institutions’ competence in assisting wild animals. We must ensure welfare for wild animals in difficult situations. This cannot remain the responsibility of the Estonian Rescue Board, an institution with no special training in this respect, alone.
  2. We’ll establish in the administrative field of the Republic of Estonia Ministry of Rural Affairs an animal protection committee, involving experts from universities and organizations engaged in animal protection. We’ll advance communication between animal protection organizations and state authorities. We’ll form a national network of organizations engaged in wild animal rescue, coordinated at state level.
  3. We’ll ban fur farming. We stand firmly against developing this obsolete and cruel industry in Estonia. Keeping of fur animals for economic reasons must stop and fur farms must be closed subject to a transitional period of no more than five years.
  4. We’ll enforce a universal microchipping and registration obligation. We’ll assist local governments in transferring registered pets into a uniform Europet-linked national register.
  5. We’ll ban high fence hunting and subject hunting tourism to stricter rules. The Republic of Estonia Hunting Act currently does not regulate high fence hunting, yet it should. We’ll ban keeping in captivity of Estonian wild animals in places other than zoos for environmental educational or veterinary purposes. We condemn any killing or injuring of animals for entertainment or sports related purposes. Good hunting practices must be adhered to in hunting. The main objective of hunting is to ensure welfare of wild animals and good condition of natural sites.
  6. We’ll enforce requirements applicable to keeping of animals for agricultural purposes based on recommendations by the Farm Animal Welfare Council concerning consideration for animals’ intrinsic behavior and prevention of pain, diseases, and suffering. In ensuring welfare of all animals used for agricultural purposes, we’ll proceed from species specific needs (incl. behavioral needs) and abolish barbaric practices such as slaughter of male chicks and trimming of peaks without anesthetic in poultry farming, castration of pigs without anesthetic, and premature separation of calves from their mothers.
  7. We’ll increase supervision to ensure animal welfare. We’ll make it obligatory to have cameras in slaughterhouses at slaughter lines, reception, and drugging and keeping pens. We’ll provide for an increased number of the Republic of Estonia Veterinary and Food Board inspections of animal keeping institutions (incl. pedigree dog kennels).
  8. We’ll subject veterinary clinics to the obligation to report cases of animal maltreatment. We’ll make the Republic of Estonia Penal Code stricter, incl. in repeated offices or in especially cruel cases enabling revocation of the right to keep an animal as effective permanently and not only for five years.
  9. We’ll expand requirements related to prohibition on tree cutting correspondingly to the needs of wild animals. If in an area where expansive cutting is planned a bear hibernates, a lynx hunts, or a pack of wolves is located, a temporary tree cutting prohibition must be enacted in the area all year round, effective until tree cutting no longer endangers the welfare of the wild animals inhabiting the area.
  10. We seek to enact restrictions and greater supervision as pertaining to hunting of waterfowl in the fall. We’ll enact as the permitted daily number of hunted fowl at two birds per one hunter.
  11. We’ll find the best practices to restrict the use of fireworks so as to reduce disturbance caused to urban sites and pets during New Year’s Eve and the preceding time period.
  12. We’ll ensure locus standi for animal protection organizations so as to ensure better supervision of fair and legal treatment of animals.

Parliamentary elections are held on March 3, 2019.