Authorities in Ukraine have begun culling thousands of homeless dogs and cats on the streets of Kiev, in a bid to clean up the city ahead of the Eurovision song contest.
Vitaly Klitschko, mayor of Kiev, and his team are accused of poisoning homeless animals in order to “improve” the aesthetics of the city to visitors.
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On 22 April, 12 animals were found poisoned in the Vinogradova area, which were known to have been been sterilised in the past and were tame.
Eurovoix.com reports: Back in 2012 when Ukraine co-hosted the European Championship, over 20,000 dogs and cats found wandering the streets were shot or poisoned before being cremated – some reports even talk of the animals supposedly being burnt alive.
Ukraine’s stray dogs were killed in order to ‘cleanse’ the streets of Ukraine’s capital city before thousands of visitors entered the country.
Now it’s happening again as the country prepares to host the Eurovision Song Contest – and over 14,000 people have already signed the leading petition against it.
Ukrainian news outlets are reporting that hunters plan to poison dogs on the left side of the river that runs through the centre of Kyiv prior to the hosting of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in May when thousands of international fans, artists and delegations will arrive in the city. Hunters’ posts on social media read how “The municipality gives green light to start”.
No official comments have been made regarding the petition, supposed cull, or concept of street-cleansing for the contest by the Ukrainian Government, City of Kyiv, National Television Ukraine or Eurovision Song Contest organisers.
The Ukrainian authorities are planning multiple ‘improvements’ to the city prior to the hosting of the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in May. Improvements to the city travel infrastructure will be key to a successful contest.
There are also plans to improve the city’s electricity grid, pavements and the city airport. Though described as a “long-term investment” by Viktoria Romanova (the contest’s executive producer, National Television Ukraine), there are fears that the people of Ukraine will pick up the bill in future taxes.
Last year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm generated a “significant profit” for the city through tourism revenue and thanks to a well-budgeted edition of the contest.