Local mayor tells Roma to eat stray dogs

The recent admission of the mayor of the small town of Drustevna pri Hornade, Andrej Sabol, that he had encouraged the local Roma to eat stray dogs in the village to cut down their number, has caused an uproar among animal rights groups.

A future Slovak market?

Animal rights activists are demanding that he be removed from his post immediately, after he informed them that he had given the Roma permission to catch and eat the dogs, something that is illegal in Slovakia.

Sabol defended himself in an e-mail addressed to the activists, saying that stray dogs were a big problem in the village but that he was proud of having found a solution to the problem. He also said that the costs of catching and keeping the dogs was not cheap(about EUR 500 for each dog) and so this solution was good for everyone.

In e-mail replies to animal rights questions, he said “If they eat dogs in China and in the Czech Republic, then there is no reason why the Roma in impoverished areas can’t eat them as well, if they like the taste”. He also noted that it was a well-known fact that the Roma eat dogs anyway.

Head of animal rights group UVPLZ, Romana Serfelova, is trying to get the mayor discharged and charged with cruelty to animals as Slovak law prohibits the consumption of domestic animals.


  1. Reading this article I am slightly stunned by the contents ??? A dog is a dog , and thus an animal that we humans can and even should have the right to eat if we so wish , it is gods will …not that dog is my own choice of Sunday roast , but I see nothing ‘wrong’ in it .

    Animals do not have yuman rights, if we still allow them to be eaten, hunted for fun, experimented on for drugs etc and this is a point demanded of the nutter few that live in their own little world , that also demands a passport .

    BTW, who cares what the Roma think in this type of news story ….? I mean how are you going to find a represent view from a group of people called Roma ????

  2. I see no reason to criticize John for writing this article. It’s clear, unbiased and informative reporting of a factual situation..No assumptions, value laden judgements, or prejudices were given.Keep up the good work.

    1. Alec, my reaction to it was initially the same as yours. I took the headline and the article as a comment on the mayor, not on the Roma. But would that be the typical reaction among Slovak readers? I suspect not.

      I also take the point, made by a couple of the posters, about the Animal Rights people being asked for a reaction while Roma representatives weren’t. It wasn’t a point I’d have thought of making myself, admittedly, but it does make me ask whether the article is in fact as ‘unbiased’ as you’re suggesting.

      1. Not sure what you mean by unbiased James, but you wont meet anyone more anti-racist than me. Proving the point, I played football all day yesterday in the Anti-racist tournament with five Roma in The Daily team. I think I made my point about this article clear earlier.

        1. ‘but you wont meet anyone more anti-racist than me…’

          John, my apologies if my comment suggests anything other than that because it isn’t what I meant to say at all. It’s just that there is a general point here about representation. It’s an article about the Roma, where a fairly common prejudice about them is referred to by the mayor. The mayor is quoted, so are the animal rights people, but the Roma aren’t. And, as a reader, it honestly didn’t occur to me that they should have been until Ms Magdolenova and Mr Mollergren pointed it out.

          That said, might be better to leave the whole thing alone now – I see that the article and its accompanying controversy are 6 months old. And once again, sorry for misrepresenting you.

  3. This is absolutely schocking and a bad news for the animals. Lets hope that the Roma wont catch the dogs and eat them . While 74 World Animal Day Ambassadors are sending an open letter to the President of Ukraine to beg him not to kill tray dogs in his country, we read this awful news from another country. It is not because Chinese eat dogs that should be done in a EU country !! China is making progress in Animal Rights, more and more Chinese now dropped dog meat, Mr Andrej Sabol is taking his country back to the time when humans did not evolve enough to consider animals other than food. For God’s sake, let’s expose this to make it end and help them with a nuter program. Lets support Romana Serfelova and the AR group UVPLZ… and yes The mayor of Drustevna pri Hornad should be discharged for such a cruel decision.

  4. There are a few things I would like to say here, but will keep it short. Firstly, we are a small totally underfunded news provider that struggles with human and financial resources, and so we often do not have the resources to do more research journalism or compile such comprehensive articles as we would like. The issue in this article was not so much about the Roma, but about the mayor’s actions, and so that is what was reported.
    The whole point of The Daily is to get people talking about issues, like you are doing now here, but your focus has turned merely to criticism on how we reported it instead of talking about the main issues that the situation provokes, i.e. if the mayor’s actions are derogatory toward Roma and the overall discrimination of Roma in Slovakia.
    I regret that you feel the need to attack us for reporting just the facts, instead of providing you with some comprehensive piece on Roma issues, which is something we plan and hope to do anyway. If anyone feels they can write on the subject, please feel free to do so and we will post it for debate.
    As the mayor also made reference to Czechs and Chinese, why don’t you demand also their reactions, or are they not small enough ethnic groups to have the right to respond?
    Another aspect is the very issue of eating dogs. Eating dogs is a cultural issue, as it is accepted in some countries and not in others. Many cases have also been reported on this not just in Slovakia, so it is nothing new. Likewise, cultural and religious differences make eating pork or beef something unthinkable for many societies and cultures.
    I honestly don’t believe we reported this as some typical tabloid, but you are entitled to your opinion. I would just welcome it if the opinions were more constructive and debated the issues here instead of being directed at us.

  5. This article is typical for tabloid in slovakia. I m from Slovakia, 20 years I m working as journalist with roma people, we create Roma media centre and we have very successful at work – we broadcast on TV, on radio…. working in very bad conditions with no support of government. I know people in this village, but it is not true. In this village we have very good roma community, working very hard and this topic is only for ….. majority looking for nothings, hate roma …. only projudices. In slovakia is typical for media publish articles without reaction of people which it is about them.

  6. The animal-rights-angle is so far down away from being the crucial topic here I almost thought the whole thing was a kind of joke.

    I have lived and studied among roma in very poor circumstances, and so far never heard of dog-eating. OF COURSE it’s possible, if people are downright starving, but for sure it’s not a tradition in any sense.

    In my world (and I’m a journalist at Swedish Radio) it’s close to a crime to write this article without having a romas’ reaction.

  7. Sorry, hope my last sentence comes across as intended – ie that Roma suffer from a lack educational opportunity and the small numbers of them continuing at school after basic education is indicative of that.

  8. From a purely personal perspective, I’d say that the headline of the article and its content tells far more about the mayor than it does about the Roma. I didn’t need any follow-up comments to tell me that his proposal plays into the, as you say, ‘cruel and primitive stereotype’. But mine is, of course, the fairly typical reaction of the ex-pat English liberal whenever this issue is raised.

    I too look forward to reading and perhaps commenting on the follow-up article. But I have to admit that, also (probably – correct me if I’m making unfair assumptions) typically for the ex-pat English liberal, my own interaction with Roma people has been limited purely to a few social encounters. I’m a gymnazium teacher and (surprise, surprise) we don’t have one single Roma pupil.

  9. It is highly significant of the level of prejudice and discrimination against Roma in Slovakia that no where in this article is there any consideration of the fact that the Mayor’s unlawful conduct also perpetuates a cruel and primitive stereotype about Roma. Animal rights in this case were more important to the author than the rights of a national minority to be treated with dignity and respect.

    1. Yes, point taken, but we plan a follow-up article on Roma issues and this case specifically once some Roma organisations respond to it. This article was more factual in the sense that it was the animal rights people that took action. It was not a matter of animal rights being more important. Fair comment, though.

      1. I look forward to the follow up article. But why so passive about waiting for Roma organizations to respond to such a stereotype by the Mayor? Why didn’t you solicit their comments and make them part of the original article? Would this have been a violation of the obligation of journalists to be neutral? But in all fairness, I do appreciate your willingness to report objectively on issues that members of the Roma community face in Slovak society.

        1. We welcome all contributions if you wish to write your opinion on the issue as part of The Daily blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.