The city of Saint-Malo is organizing an animal welfare forum for the first time this Sunday, September 25. The theme of this 1st edition: “Living with the animals of the Emerald Coast”. To talk about it, Céline Roche, the assistant for the environment and the animal condition of the city of Saint-Malo.
- France Bleu Armorique: Tell us how this forum was born, how did you get the idea?
Celine Roche: In fact, we have created a working group with the active forces and the players concerned in the territory. This group was created in order to discuss, above all, cases of mistreatment and to organize awareness-raising and information operations. It is a group which is made up of the municipality of Saint-Malo, the national police, the municipal police, the SPA and the Animalo collective. And we all really want to work on this theme. And we were also joined, of course, by animal protection associations.
- FB: Does this mean that it is a subject that particularly interests Saint-Malo?
Celine Roche: Yes quite. It’s really a theme that is very important to us. And the ambition, through this unique forum and this first project, is to make Saint-Malo an ambassador city for animal protection.
- FB: Was there already an animal welfare assistant in the city of Saint-Malo before you?
Celine Roche: No, it was a first.
- FB: And why you?
Celine Roche: Quite simply because I have been keen for a very very long time to protect nature and animals. I am particularly and personally committed to animal protection associations. And for the mayor, it was quite natural to have this theme also at the heart of the mandate.
- FB: Concretely, do you comment on this theme which has already been taken into account in Saint-Malo?
Celine Roche: Yes quite. Already the creation of this working group. Then, indeed, this first project of the forum which is very important for us. We also organize a lot of awareness and education operations for young people and we organize campaigns to sterilize stray cats to avoid overpopulation and mistreatment, in partnership with the 30 million friends Foundation.
- FB: Are there a lot of abandonments in Saint-Malo?
Celine Roche: At the national level between May 1 and August 31, 2021, there were more than 17,000 abandonments. And there, we don’t have the final figures for 2022 yet, but the summer has been terrifying. And we also see a drop in adoptions. So it’s quite catastrophic. It is urgent to take action.
- FB: Do you make a connection between animal welfare and climate change?
Celine Roche: Yes quite. There are lots of links. Already, there are breeding periods that have changed, especially for cats. Before, it was only in the summer that we had a lot of abandoned kittens. In fact, it is throughout the year that we collect animals and juveniles. So, there is a real climate change which is also at the origin of this overpopulation and therefore of this mistreatment unfortunately.
- FB: One of the next objectives of your working group is to reopen a pound in Saint-Malo?
Celine Roche: We actually try. It’s a big project, a great project, but we could actually open an ethical pound in Saint-Malo which would work in partnership mainly with associations to avoid euthanasia of convenience. It’s true that there are a lot of animals there, unfortunately abandoned or strays, who can’t find a family. And so the idea is to discover an ethical pound. We are also a town close to the coast, so we don’t just have cats and dogs. Other abandoned or stray animals are picked up. We also have marine mammals, so we are lucky to have specialized local associations. But the idea is really to open an ethical center to treat animals and also work on social issues. Because when we have people who are isolated or who have financial problems, they often refuse to go to the hospital so as not to leave their animals behind. The idea would also be to take this social issue at the heart of the project in order to help people. This still represents a budget of one million euros. So in a municipal budget, it’s complicated, up-to-date and we’re working on the file. We don’t give up.
- FB: This first animal welfare forum, Sunday in Saint-Malo, is it for everyone?
Celine Roche: Absolutely. The goal is to really reach all those who have animals, but also those who don’t, but who are still sensitive to the cause. And also young people, in order to raise their awareness from an early age. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.