‘Protect the animals, clear the litter, begin to care about your country’

My father was Greek; his family came from Chios. I think he would be so disappointed in the Greece of 2008; I know I am. We have been visiting Halkidiki and the islands for 30 years and we now, for the last three years, live here half the year in a rented house. My main disappointments: Well, the first has to be the treatment (or should I say ill-treatment) of animals. Stray dogs are poisoned, never mind the pets poisoned. The state of the dogs, cats and donkeys. No care is taken whatsoever, and no thought given to animal welfare. I find it strange that it is against the law to poison or ill-treat companion animals in Greece but that it goes on and on, unpunished and, in fact, seems to be getting worse, not better. I know the Greeks do not take kindly to laws, but for goodness sake, with all this Christianity and Greek Orthodox about, surely someone in a position high in the Church could remind people that God made not only them but all the animals too, and he did not make them in order to allow humans to have something to be cruel to. We followed a Greek car today and the man, before spotting us, actually drove toward a dog crossing the road, trying to hit it. He moved back to his side of the road when he saw us approach his car very close behind. What a terrible mentality, and he had a young child in the car, so what a great way to show children how to treat animals. Second has to be the growing litter problem. The countryside and beaches are littered with rubbish. I clean our own beach area daily and am totally dismayed at the lack of responsibility shown. After all the trash bins are a mere 100 yards or so away, not a few miles, and yet people seem unable and unwilling to carry a few plastic cups and empty water bottles off the beach and throw them into the bins. Rubbish is thrown out of car windows. Construction rubble is thrown over mountain sides which are in clear view of the roadways and therefore the tourists too. Greece seems to love the image of its Blue Flag beaches, but in reality these beaches are merely the ones where people are paid to make sure they are kept clean. The local beaches, well nobody seems to care anymore. There are more things, like public services putting up new electricity poles etc, and leaving the pile of rubble behind for others to clean up, the terrible driving standards where the driver seems to think he is the only person on the road and is totally unaware of other drivers, or doesn’t care. I think this probably is the case, Greeks no longer seem to care. I love Greece, after all my father’s family was Greek. I have great Greek friends and I know some Greeks do care for their animals and are also clean and tidy. However, overall it seems the country is going backward. How far can it fall? Please, Greece, do something now. Protect the animals, clear the litter, begin to care about your country and everything in it. Something needs to be done or even long-term visitors of Greek descent will abandon you. JANE RODOCANACHI, Derbyshire, UK & Halkidiki, Greece.