Benefit concert marks ten years of animal protection

02-12-2004

A variety of musical groups and artists came out to play at a benefit concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Czech Foundation for the Protection of animals. Their work ranges from supporting local shelters, advocating for better legislation concerning animal welfare and nature protection to cooperating with other non-profit organizations on an international level. The concert drew together animal lovers of all kinds.

The benefit concert took place in Prague City Library. The crowd was a mix of elegantly dressed couples, giggling teens, lively children, sophisticated seniors and dedicated animal welfare workers. One of highlights of the concert was the famous Czech singer Marta Kubisova. She was banned from public life during the communist era for her refusal to cooperate with the regime. After the Velvet Revolution, her come-back to public life includes a TV show called "Do you want me?" where she tries to find homes for animals living in shelters.

I caught up with Ms Kubisova after the concert, I was curious to know what motivated her to protect animals.

"I don't know, as long as I can remember I have been trying save an animal and that was long before I even had an idea I would make up the show, 'Do you want me?' Since the age of 25 I have been surrounded by domestic animals, first I got two poodles, then some cats and then the donkey."

I asked her if she saw protecting human rights and protecting animal rights as something that was connected.

"I don't see it as being connected, I see it as being very separate. If animal rights were fought for with as much commitment as human rights, the situation would be considerably better."

Olga SommerovaOlga Sommerova Among the concert goers, I noticed the well-known Czech feminist and documentary film director, Olga Sommerova, I asked her if protecting animal rights was connected to feminism.

[laughs] "Everything is connected to feminism. Mainly that animals are discriminated against because they are powerless and women although they are not powerless are also discriminated. I am really glad people are doing something for animals, because in this country, I guess because of forty years of communism, animal rights were not spoken about at all, so with democracy, the emancipation of animals also came."

I wanted to know what she thought of the opinion that human problems should be taken care of before worrying about animal rights.

"Well, it is all interconnected. We are all living beings and part of nature. If we act sadistically towards animals, we will act like that towards nature and people, especially to people who are powerless, that means children, older people and handicapped people. There is no 'this is first and this is second'. Of course, you have to decide what you will contribute to. Some will give to children, some will give to seniors and some will give to animals- it really doesn't matter, it is one society, one nature and you can not say one is more important than the other."

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