Monday marked the end of a three-month project by the İstanbul municipality’s “Existing is a Right, Love for Animals and Animal Rights,” a program which has seen 10,000 children educated on the importance of respecting every form of life on Earth, with a concert at the Cemal Reşit Rey concert hall in İstanbul’s Harbiye quarter.
Speaking at the concert, İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş underlined the importance of recognizing animal rights. “All life is holy and precious, be it of humans, animals or ecology, and no person has the right to take away the right of another living being to live,” he said.
Addressing a range of animal rights-related issues, Topbaş announced that the municipality has decided to close down the İstanbul-based Dolphinarium Dolphin Display Center when its contract expires in two years time. “You can’t base entertainment around a process that makes animals suffer and causes them pain,” he said.
Topbaş also addressed the issue of people trying to smuggle small dogs or other animals into Turkey from outside the country in suitcases, declaring this to be both an illegal and a cruel activity. “Sometimes smuggled animals suffocate and die during flights and the ones that do make it are sold,” Topbaş said, adding that he would highly recommend those who want to buy pets not to approach such individuals but to go to shelters where the animals have been taken good care of and are in need of safe, caring homes.
At the evening of entertainment, attended to by approximately 2,709 students, the results of a drawing competition organized by the municipality for primary school children were also announced. The first prize of TL 3,000 went to Karina Tabashnikova of the TOKİ Kayaşehir Primary School, with the second and third prizes of TL 2,000 and TL 1,000 awarded to Buket Akçelik from Ata Primary School and Eran Aksoy of Kemal Arıkan Primary School. Three runners up were awarded prizes of TL 500.