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Greece – Animal Welfare and Cultural Issues

Greece is a country with a long history and deep cultural ties to animals. Many Greeks have pets, and the country has a thriving animal rescue and welfare community. However, there are also challenges to animal welfare in Greece, including issues with stray dogs and cats, hunting practices, and a lack of consistent enforcement of animal protection laws.

Prevailing Attitude to Animals and Pets

Greeks have a generally positive attitude towards animals and pets. Many Greeks keep pets, with dogs and cats being the most popular. It is not uncommon to see people walking their dogs in parks and other public spaces, and many cafes and restaurants allow pets to accompany their owners.

Historically, Greece has had a close relationship with animals, with many of its myths and legends featuring animals as important figures. In addition, the Greek Orthodox Church has a tradition of blessing animals, and it is common to see people bringing their pets to be blessed by the priest during the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Laws Regarding Pet Ownership

Pet ownership in Greece is regulated by law. According to the Greek Animal Welfare Act, pet owners are required to provide their pets with proper care and attention, including food, water, and shelter. They are also required to provide their pets with veterinary care and to ensure that they receive proper exercise.

In addition, the law prohibits the abandonment of pets and the use of animals in circuses and other forms of entertainment. The law also regulates the breeding and sale of pets, requiring breeders to obtain a license and meet certain standards.

Major Animal Charities

There are several animal charities operating in Greece, working to improve animal welfare and rescue animals in need. Here are a few of the major ones:


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  • The Greek Animal Rescue: A volunteer-run organization that works to rescue and rehome abandoned and abused animals in Greece.

  • Animal Action Greece: A charity that provides veterinary care and shelter to stray animals in Greece, as well as promoting animal welfare through education and advocacy.

  • Zoosos: A volunteer-run organization that works to rescue and care for stray dogs and cats in Athens and surrounding areas.

Pet Supply Stores

There are many pet supply stores in Greece, ranging from small independent shops to larger chains. Some of the most popular include:

  • Jumbo Pets: A chain of pet supply stores with locations throughout Greece, offering a wide range of pet products and accessories.

  • Pet City: Another chain of pet supply stores, with locations in Athens, Thessaloniki, and other cities in Greece.

  • Freddy’s Pet Supplies: An online store offering a variety of pet products, including food, toys, and accessories.

Cultural Taboos and Sensitivities

Greece has a rich cultural history, with many myths and legends featuring animals as important figures. However, there are also cultural taboos and sensitivities when it comes to certain animals. For example, in Greek Orthodox tradition, black cats are associated with bad luck and are sometimes seen as a sign of the devil. Similarly, owls are sometimes associated with death and bad luck.

In addition, there are some hunting practices in Greece that are controversial, such as the use of snares and other traps. However, these practices are not widely accepted and are often condemned by animal welfare organizations.

Overall, while there are certainly challenges to animal welfare in Greece, the country has a long history of positive relationships with animals and a growing animal rescue and welfare community. With continued efforts to enforce animal protection laws and promote education and awareness around animal welfare issues, Greece can continue to improve the lives of animals throughout the country.


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