Activists Call On Ukrainian Government to Protect Stray Animals

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Ukrainian animal rights activists call on their government to protect stray animals they claim are being euthanised as Euro 2012 cities try to beautify ahead of the tournament. The activists seem to have plenty of video and photographic evidence of the slaughter. Here's more.

Dozens of animal rights activists protest at a government building in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Wednesday.

They're demanding authorities protect stray dogs and cats, which they say are being maltreated and killed as cities try to beautify for the upcoming Euro 2012 tournament this summer.

Protesters distributed amateur video of animals they say have been killed.

[Zoryan Kis, Activist from "We Are Europeans"]:
"We are protesting today against the killing of stray animals which takes place in Euro 2012 host cities, that's why we have brought these symbolic blood-covered balls, symbolizing these inhumane killings."

Kis and other activists say killing stray animals has recently gained momentum, and that dogs and cats have been poisoned and shot.

[Kim Veremiychuk, Activist from "We Are Europeans"]:
"There are two aspects of this problem. First, stray animals attack adults and children, and can hurt people in some way. But another problem is that in response to that local authorities and some 'activists' are physically exterminating animals in horrible ways - cremating them, shooting them, etc."

The activists are asking the government to provide funding for shelters and sterilization instead of killing animals.

[Tetyana Motylyova, Protester]:
"Today's action is aimed at pushing authorities to find a humane, civilized solution of this problem."

Ukraine shares hosting duties with Poland for Euro 2012, which begins in June.

Four Ukrainian cities and four Polish cities will host matches between Europe's top national football teams.