Bologna takes more action! Ms Federica Salsi goes on radio.
Ms Federica Salsi, a member of The Bologna Council, who, following our petition for their City to confront their Korean Sister City, Seongnam, about the dog-meat trade, has been actively supportive in our request by working together with the Mayor of Bologna, who then contacted Mayor Jae-Myung Lee.
Now Ms Salsi is taking further positive action by going on air on the radio to talk about their efforts to address Seongnam: https://youtu.be/pfCZiSzPIq8
English subtitle available. Click on the icon with “CC” on the lower right hand corner if you don’t see the English subtitle.
This is wonderful news, and, once again, we want to thank both Ms Salsi and Mayor Merola!
And, we are looking forward to hearing about their City’s continued action to help end the Seongnam travesty!
Click for more info about this: https://koreandogs.org/update-seongnam-bologna-friendship-city-campaign/
We are still waiting for the City of Aurora, Colorado, to take similar action to that which the City of Bologna did. Please ask the Mayor of Aurora to contact the Seongnam Mayor today! Click HERE to take action!
The below is translation of the interview:
Federica: Good morning. Good morning everyone. Thank you for the invitation.
Interviewer: Good morning and welcome.
Interviewer: We have the pleasure to speak with Frederica regarding the twinning (sister cities) of Bologna with a Korean city. Our conversation will highlight something that concerns our city directly, the horrors of the Moran Market, which we know to be for people who follow the animal chronicles or issues related to the animal world, the greatest dog meat market in South Korea.
Interviewer: Do you know if some council members or the mayor himself viewed the video and pictures of what happens there daily before signing this friendship agreement? Friendship agreement with the Korean city?
Federica: I believe that no one knew or had knowledge of what is still happening in South Korea so I do not think that the council members or the mayor himself have watched those videos. When I knew about this fact (the horrors of the Moran Market) I have to say I struggled myself to look at them because they are quite graphic. I think rather the knowledge of the horrors passed quite unnoticed.
Federica: The attention (to this issue) in my opinion arose when a lot of mail started to arrive explaining what was happening. One might assume that the city council and the mayor were paying attention to this issue because of the content and complaints being expressed but truth be told it was the inconvenience of receiving so much mail all at once, being bombarded with mail which unfortunately is not always welcome.
Interviewer: By the way we are now seeing the terrible images on our channel – 196 of these dogs crammed in these cages. Those who love animals or otherwise have a minimum of sensitivity towards (such images) may have a difficult time watching.
Interviewer: Do you think that a friendship agreement between two international cities such as Bologna and the city of Seongnam can be signed without taking account violation of the protection of the animal welfare practiced in this city (Seongnam), which is in total contradiction with our own laws?”
Federica: I think that such agreements are interesting. Of course they must be signed knowingly, being fully aware of the other party with whom you will enter into an agreement with. I think they are interesting especially when made with countries that have customs and traditions very different from our own. I believe that this kind of diversity (in customs and traditions) can be a cultural enrichment for both countries. On the other hand, this cultural diversity should also be a driving force for change when, for example, there are situations like this where the respect and the protection of animals in South Korea are practically nonexistent.
Interviewer: This certainly should be considered and it was recently announced that Mayor Merola wrote to you that “we are in friendship among animal lovers” and also informed you of having contacted the mayor of Seongnam to draw his attention to the issue of the mistreatment of dogs and cats in his own jurisdiction, asking for a position on the subject, and pointing out the international online petition that has collected thousands of signatures. So how do you explain this change of course (with Mayor Merola) since the first response to your interpellation, which was quite different?
Federica: I believe the change is due mainly to two factors. The first one is surely the high number of signatures that the petition has collected in such a short time and especially from around the world. Hardly have I seen petitions have such a viral interest so quick and so massive and this gave credibility and importance to the fight that is fought. The second (factor) had to do with events that occurred once, at the end of a city council meeting. The leader of the PD (Patito Democratico) commented on the mail bombing, not understanding the meaning and so I took him aside and explained the reason behind the initiative. Since I had already received a first response from the mayor (regarding concerns about the mistreatment of dogs in Seongnam) and it was in fact quite vacuous (without true intent to remedy the situation) I realized that they (the mayor and council members) had never viewed the video and had never pursued the matter so I urged Him (leader of the PD) to come forward to the Mayor so that he could explain to the Mayor that he, himself, was not making a good impression on behalf of the city in this situation.
Interviewer: Absolutely. Sure. So we have to be mindful of these situations when we consider entering into agreements with cities; that they should represent the values in which we believe and our city believes in.
Interviewer: What are then your suggestions or ideas to relate with the mayor of Seongnam so that he could address the cruelties of the dog meat trade? Do you think there could be the ability to amend the friendship agreement, inserting a new point that provides a cultural exchange in matters of animal welfare and interventions for safeguarding the protection (of dogs) and abolishing, once and for all, these horrors. There are images you cannot watch and I do not understand how someone can call himself a man – someone who does such things for me is incomprehensible.
Federica: The integration of the agreement is surely a valid proposal. It would provide a way for both parties to commit (to standards of care and protection of animals) in a practical and effective manner. There are moments in which you put on paper a commitment then you cannot pretend not to have signed it.
Federica: Bologna has a high degree of support and respect for animals. In these five years as Councilor I have to say that I have often dealt with animal issues and I always
found enough support and attention to back change. The municipal pound has been the subject of a change of regulation and a prime example of how I and my fellow colleagues have dealt with animal issues. Because of this I think that Bologna could be a good mentor city, showing Seongnam how its people demonstrate positive relationships with pets, in particular with the dog, who is considered man’s best friend.
Federica: We could provide some examples (of how companion animals are beneficial to man) like pet therapy that is used in Italy and then explain the role of animals not only as companions but also from a medical point of view. There are many other examples that we could provide such as dogs for the blind, detector dogs, and police dogs. Then Seongnam may engage from an educational point of view because I believe that it is essential to intervene with the young generation because it is hard to dent or alter the habits already rooted in older people. Something could be done at schools (from an educational perspective) that raises the level of awareness amongst children who are surely more receptive and more sensitive to the respect and care of animals.
Interviewer: Sure. So we can say that by nurturing a change in certain aspects of this culture to provide instead for a respect for animals and of his welfare, they would be taking many steps forward. It is absolutely clear that we must press on with this challenge to encourage change regarding animal issues and not be indifferent to what happens even thousands of kilometers away from our city. This particular case has touched us because there was a friendship agreement between the two cities, but it should touch us in every way because the animals are patrimony (part of the human heritage) of everyone and their welfare must obviously relate to everyone.
Interviewer: I thank you very much for your commitment to this issue because it is really necessary that there are more and more people who commit. Thank you for your work in politics as you try to change certain situations and I hope this change can also give more luster to the city of Bologna, and more precisely that we should stand as a city careful to the animal issues that concern obviously all of us. I hope to have you back soon as our guest to mention the successes gained in this specific situation involving our city and also broadly with regards to the issue of animal welfare.
Federica: Certainly. Thank you a lot.
Federica: I must say that this initiative would not have success if it were not for the support of animal welfare organizations who have made it an important tam-tam (banging the gong to bring attention to the issue) and I am happy to update you shortly about this matter.
Interviewer: Hopefully, fingers crossed, that things work out to create change thanks to Bologna and Bologna could in turn give a boost to change things in Korea.” This would be really a great success (if things progress as they should) because there are unspeakable horrors – the images are clear and it’s not necessary to add anything. So Federica – a thank you for all you do and I hope to have you back soon here to know what happened.”
Interviewer: Thanks – good April 25th. Thanks to everyone.
Interviewer: Grazie, equally to you as well.
Interviewer: Thanks to Federica Salsi who outlined this terrible situation that obviously many already know about regarding Korea and how animals are treated and about this Friendship city agreement (between Bologna and Seongnam) that could lead up to an improvement of conditions in which these dogs live – really terrible conditions. Sorry for the images. However, sometimes it’s really dutiful to show them for those who are not aware of what is going on thousands of kilometers away. In this case Bologna and this city are united and so it is important that even those who until now had kept their eyes closed can begin to open them.
Now a brief musical break, we hear a beautiful song by Elisa, “No Hero,” and after we find ourselves here at Diamoci La Zampa with other news coming from animal world and also an event very important and nice to be held at the end May. But I want to make it known as soon as I can, keep that date free. Now Elisa.