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The Golob Government Is Already Stealing Farmers’ Livestock

The illegal seizure of 24 head of cattle from the farm of the Možgan family from Krško last Tuesday continues to cause quite a stir in public. Not only because both the Slovenian Farmers’ Trade Union (Sindikat kmetov Slovenije – SKS) and the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia (Kmetijsko gospodarska zbornica Slovenije – KGZS) have expressed strong criticism of the seizure of cattle, but also because, in addition to the veterinary inspector Danuša Štiglic, the seizure itself was also attended by an animal activist who supports the work of the Association for the Protection of Horses, whose President is Natalija Nedeljko, an activist who is greatly admired by the Prime Minister’s partner, Tina Gaber – who is considered to be a great lover of animals.

In their testimony for Nova24TV about the illegal confiscation of their animals, which took place only four days after Golob’s amendment to the Animal Protection Act’s entry into force, Timotej Možgan and his father, Rudi Možgan, said, among other things, that the inspector Danuša Štiglic refused to introduce herself during the procedure, nor did she give them the legal basis on which the confiscation of the animals took place. The Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry described the seizure of animals as an excessive measure, as the conditions for the said measure were not met (the animals were not thin, they were in a suitable state of husbandry, they were able to graze, they had food and water). According to the Veterinary Compliance Criteria Act, the power to take the animals from their owner is only valid in cases of “extreme emergency” where there is a threat to animal or human health. As the case was not an extreme emergency, the animal keeper should first have been given a decision calling on him to remedy the situation and a time limit within which to do so. The Animal Protection Act, which has been in force since the 11th of November this year, also provides that in such cases, temporary removal and care in the home of the animal keeper should be ordered.

According to reports, Valerija Podgornik, an activist from the Association for the Protection of Horses, was present during the removal and allegedly even claimed a right to one of the cows. It is worth noting that Timotej Možgan said that she might have broken the law herself. “One of the people who loaded the cattle warned me that if the cattle were grazing, like ours, then it was forbidden to tie them on the truck […] So this protector, who is supposed to be fighting against animal torture, has a picture of her dragging a cow with a rope. She chose that cow, and she later even published this online and raised money for it. The cow was supposedly already with them. The inspector also wanted the cow to be tied up. As the loading itself took too long, the inspector shouted at others to tie the cow up,” he said in his testimony.

Podgornik, who, judging by her account, felt that one of the cows wanted to be taken away from the farm, expressed a great deal of impatience on Facebook earlier this month as a cottage keeper expressed his opinion on a certain matter – namely, he wrote that he was always bothered by the Facebook content about how dog-friendly some of the cottages were. “They forget or simply ignore people who are afraid of dogs and so on. I know that the Alpine Association of Slovenia … unfortunately dare not publicly give their opinion on this … but it is about time someone does. Officially, dogs, as well as other animals, are not allowed in the Alpine Association’s mountain huts … except for dormice and mice … ha, ha,” is the post that Podgornik was very bothered by – so much so that she went on a rant against the caretaker. “Come on, let’s each take our own dog and go and explain to the dog how he is worth more than the others just because he has that thing hanging between his legs,” she wrote. However, this is not the only example of her being intolerant. In the past, she has described Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS) MP Jože Tanko as a “f*cking pig” and a “cursed, hillbilly bandit.”

Gaber appreciates the President of the Association for the Protection of Horses

Podgornik supports the work of the Association for the Protection of Horses, whose President is Natalija Nedeljko. The latter suggested to Prime Minister Robert Golob not long ago to appoint Inspector Štiglic to the position of head of the Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection, but the latter abandoned the idea (for now) due to a revolt in the veterinary ranks, reported the newspaper Dnevnik. In light of all this, it is undoubtedly interesting to learn that Nedeljko is admired by the Prime Minister’s new partner. Tina Gaber wrote on Facebook in the past that Nedeljko is a strong-willed woman who can change the fate of the already-written-off living beings for the better. “Direct, without ever holding back, but above all with an infinitely big heart and relentless in her fight for animal rights. Decades of Natalia’s experience say it all, and point to injustice,” she was clear.

“Why would anyone do that? Because the livestock was very well kept, and the new legislation states that if your animals are taken away, all the money goes to these associations. In fact, they can steal from us and profit themselves,” said Rudi Možgan, referring to the possible motives for taking the livestock. Since he and his son speculate that this could be a new way of funding activist associations, it is certainly worth looking at the public funding of the Association for the Protection of Horses, of which Nedeljko is the President. The largest amount of money has been transferred to the Association’s transaction account by the Ministry of Finance (the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia – FURS) – in the total amount of 53,297.41 euros (in the period from 2021 to date), of which the largest transfer was made on the 29th of September this year in the amount of 28,416.02 euros. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment (the Agency for Agricultural Markets and Rural Development – agricultural subsidies) has so far paid a total of 32,135.24 euros to the Association, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (the Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection) 22,593.07 euros (of which the largest payment was made in April this year in the amount of 6,493.54 euros).

Recently, the Association for Horse Protection has responded to the above, claiming that the Association or its President was not involved in the confiscation of the animals in question. “No one in the association was aware of this until the moment of the seizure, and the association did not file a report,” they insist. On the day of the seizure, they say that they were contacted by the Inspectorate to ask if they could provide information from their list of farms that had expressed an interest in receiving the animals seized by inspection, which they did. “These farms were contacted by the Inspectorate that day, and it was up to the Inspectorate to figure out who and how many animals could be accepted. We also offered temporary accommodation for one of the cattle at the Association. Personally, I believe that the removal of the animals was justified, and the procedure was correct, as the owner of the animals himself told the media that he had been dealt with several times in the past,” they added, among other things.

Given the information circulating, it is not surprising that many people believe that the confiscation of the livestock was motivated by activism. The Chamber of Agriculture is demanding that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food immediately initiate an extraordinary professional supervision of the procedure, take action in accordance with the law and compensate the farmers in question for the damages. And many people who have heard the information that one of the cows is on its way to a new home believe that this needs to happen urgently. “We heard from a farmer in Mirna Peč that he had received a call asking if he wanted to buy some cattle. So, she had called ahead and sold our cattle beforehand. Otherwise, we don’t know how she could have done that either, because all the animals’ passports are with us,” Timotej Možgan also said in his testimony. We will certainly keep an eye on developments in this matter, because if this becomes routine, it will be difficult to find anyone who wants to be involved in agriculture at all.

A. H.

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