A Dark Cloud
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held across 11 different Russian cities including St Petersburg, Moscow and Sochi. According to several animal welfare groups, these cities' authorities have already started to rid the streets of these animals by poisoning them.
The event, that will take place in less than 6 months, will unfortunately now have this dark cloud looming over it unless action is taken. On the 26th January, the 30 Million Friends Foundation wrote an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling for the end to this awful massacre. The result? No action taken. Almost £1.5 million in government expenditure has been spent on trying to eradicate the stray animals. 'The killing of thousands of animals, under the most sordid conditions is not worthy of the host country of the football World Cup and I don't want such practices to bring the internationally renowned competition into disrepute'.
The massive institutionalised poisoning program was launched several months ago by the Russian Sporting Minister and former President of the Russian FA, Vitali Moutko. The country has spent nearly £1.5 million on getting rid of these supposedly annoying animals. Animal pounds are hiring people to poison the stray animals, who are then are paid depending on the number of dead animals they bring back. It is rumoured that those desperate for money, even poison domestic pets who have homes and owners, just to make a bit of extra cash.
Russia has therefore taken the decision to spend the money on poisoning them through dedicated 'KGB canine death squads' rather than having people capturing them. It's suggested that, in the ancient country of Tsars, stray animals are seen as a "stain on the landscape".
Too small a problem for FIFA
As far as FIFA are concerned, they have shown little interest in trying to rectify the matter. In response they made a rather short statement 'We are sure you will understand that due to our numerous other ongoing planned activities in connection with FIFA's competitions, including the earmarked finances, we are not able to support your cause more actively'. It seems that animal welfare isn't in the economic interest of an event like the World Cup.