Horrifying images and footage have emerged, showing street dogs being rounded up in Turkey to be killed or left to starve to death in filthy cages
Thousands of street dogs are being rounded up in Turkey to be killed or left to starve to death, in what animal welfare campaigners have dubbed one of the world’s largest “dog genocides”.
Grim images and footage have emerged showing strays being inhumanely caught and transported to remote shelters where it is understood they are left to starve in filthy cages.
In other horrific cases, some are left to die after being hit by shovels and metal poles.
Campaigners are now calling for people in Britain to boycott breaks to Turkey.
The brutal government crackdown came after a Christmas Day speech by President Erdogan who demanded city officials round up often beloved stray dogs, which are frequently allowed to roam freely in public squares and streets.
It came after a pair of Pitbulls attacked and seriously wounded a four-year-old girl in the south.
But it’s thought the dogs were not strays – though some accounts claimed they had been abandoned by their owner.
Since then, thousands have taken to the streets to demonstrate, calling for an end to the killings.
Zulal Kalkandelen, a journalist and animal liberation activist, said the orders to place the dogs into “prison-like” shelters “effectively means death for the animals”.
She added: “In many cases, animals die of hunger and diseases in tiny and filthy cages, while at other times, municipality employees kill them as soon as they collect them from the streets.”
Last year, the documentary Stray captured daily life in Istanbul through the eyes of the dogs Zeytin, Nazar and Kartal, who roamed the streets, searching for food and interacting with humans.
Animal welfare campaigner Dominic Dyer said: “Municipalities across Turkey are rounding up and killing thousands of stray dogs in what could be one of the largest dog genocides in the world.
“Street dogs pose little risk to people in Turkey and the most responsible way of controlling their numbers is via neutering, spaying and rehoming.
“President Erdogan could pay a very heavy economic price, as thousands of people in Britain and across Europe choose to no longer holiday in Turkey until the round-ups and killing stops.”
The Turkish Embassy in London said: “Turkey is one of the leading countries in the protection of animal rights, and legal framework for protection of animals is very robust.
“The issue of stray dogs is on the agenda in Turkey as it concerns the safety and health of both animals and individuals.
“What is being planned is moving stray dogs in cities to municipal animal shelters, similar to the practice in many other countries.
“These animals will be looked after in the shelters, as required by related Turkish laws and regulations.
“The ongoing process aims to shelter animals in better conditions and in a way that does not threaten public health.”