Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Greek government minister in charge of animal welfare takes office today

An older stray sleeps in the cold and on concrete in Syntagma Square, just steps away from Parliament
University professor Napoleon Maravegias takes office today as Minister of Rural Development and Food, a position that includes the oversight of animal welfare in Greece’s new interim government.

Sources within the ministry told Animal Policy Examiner that Maravegias assumed the role today at 3:00 p.m., and will fulfill it for the current “caretaker” administration at least until the next round of elections scheduled for June 17.

Critical time for Greece’s animals

After Parliament’s adoption of new set of animal welfare laws only a few weeks ago, Greek animal advocates wait to see whether or not those laws—some of them controversial—will be obeyed or enforced.

Maravegias, now Greece’s top official responsible for animal welfare, occupies a post that some observers see as critical in upholding those laws and in shaping the future for such issues as the nation’s aberrantly high number of homeless cats and dogs (compared to other European Union countries), and other problems that have been exacerbated by a severe economic crisis.

Maravegias’s background

Maravegias has taught at the University of Athens since 2000, according to a CV found on one of the school’s websites, as well as at other European universities, with a focus on European economics and policy.

In 2001 the French Republic honored him with a medal as Knight of the Battalion of Rural Value for his work.

Numerous books and articles he has written or edited include themes such as “"Strategy for Rural Development in Greece,” “The Negotiations at the World Trade Organization and the Greek Agricultural Interests,” and “The Mediterranean Agriculture in the midst of Globalization.”

Born in Budapest in 1955, Maravegias grew up on the island of Kefalonia, and ultimately earned his DEA and Doctorat d 'Etat in 1983 with honors and fellowships from the Agricultural Bank and the Foundation AS Onassis.

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