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Dear Mr. President,
With due respect for your concern for animals, we are kindly asking you to personally stand up for the case of about 80 Croatian Lipizzaners of the best pedigree who are starving on an estate in Novo Naselje in Novi Sad, to be resolved in a positive manner through the official institutions. Their life is in danger and they are in desperate condition. We would also like to inform you that this news was also forwarded to associations in Croatia: Friends of Animals in Zagreb and Voice of Animals Association from Karlovac, as well as other Serbian and European associations with asking them to urgently do all that is in their power to solve this case.

This information was given to us by a journalist of Gradjanski list from Novi Sad, and from another journalist, Tamara Jakonić, we found out the following:

Todor Bukinac, on whose estate are these horses says that he no longer wants to invest into their nutrition nor would he allow others to help these poor famished animals in adequate way, says Mr. Mihajlo Komasović, a former worker on this farm. The horses are successors of Croatian stud farm in Lipik, and they were brought to Serbia during the war. Legal ownership over these horses is not yet resolved, so they are left out in summer scorcher and to the cruel negligence of the property owner.

Mr. Komasović, who brought this breed from Croatia in 1991, wrote to Croatian and Serbian authorities with an appeal to help these horses urgently. Letters were sent to Mr. Ivo Sanader, Croatian Prime-Minister, Petar Čobanković, Croatian Minister of Agriculture, and their Serbian colleagues – Mr. Vojislav Kostunica and Mr. Slobodan Milosavljevic.

 "These horses are in catastrophic physical condition due to poor nutrition and they are literally starving. Therefore, without provided help, some of them cannot get up once they lay or sit down", Komasović wrote. He has not received a response from any of the parties yet.
– Problems with horses’ feeding began in 2001 and they are still lasting. At the beginning of June this year Bukinac forbid me to enter the property because I stood up against that kind of treatment of animals. Starveling herd that journalists found on the farm in Novo Naselje really looked like they were left on their own. On 40 degrees about fifty noble horses looked like skeletons with shabby skin eating whatever they would find – dry grass, dry reed leftovers mixed with feces or even along the road bushes if they manage to cross over the fence. Some of them had open wounds on their bodies, which had not been treated at all.

Horses are walking on the estate and outside of it as if without any supervision. Locked up estate is guarded by a horde of dogs who, undernourished themselves, pay no attention to the visitors. According to Mr. Komasović, there are several workers on this farm who cannot help the horses because they have nothing to give them to eat. In 16 years that Komasović has been taking care of these horses, 80 died –some from old age, but others mostly due to under nutrition. Out of 84 horses brought from Croatia in 1991, only about 10 have survived and about 70 of their successors were born. Croatian Lipizzaners fond is therefore saved after all thanks to those successors, although there have not been any newborns for the past four years also due to malnutrition.

– Every year there is less and less horses. Since 2003 we have not had a single horse colt. The mares are so starved that they are unable to breed – says Komasović. The food that has been given to these Lipizzaners is nothing but mill refuge and reed. For quality nutrition it is necessary to feed horses wheat and clover-reed which would not cost more than 100-200 dinars per horse daily.
Mature fertile Lipizzaner, according to Komasović, is worth between 5.000 and 10.000 EUR. Genetic material of the breed in Novo Naselje is invaluable, and market value of horses is estimated between 400.000 and 800.000 EUR, if the herd were healthy and well-nourished. Considering their condition, their value cannot be spoken of. Certain horses were born in Serbia and they were sold to the villagers for the price of 100 - 200 EUR to be hitched in carts.

For rehabilitation of whole breed it would be necessary to invest about 15.000 EUR for six months. I have been taking care of those horses for the past six years. I invested in them everything I had just to save their genetic material. Now, I have neither the funds nor the possibility to save them. If Serbia and Croatia care about finding a solution they will both have to react quickly because it is just a matter of time before they all die from starvation – says Komasović.
The only salvation for these horses Komasović sees in judicial procedure. In his letter to Mr. Sanader and Mr. Čobanković, Komasović suggested that Croatia should give him an authorization so he can win some help for the horses through court.
"The only remaining institution is the court, and for me to appear before it an authorization from the owner is required, and that would be you. If you consider me unsuitable for this, please appoint anyone to save the breed from extinction and return it back to Croatia, and I will help", Komasović wrote in his letter to the Croatian authorities.
 Mihajlo Komasović took the horses from the farm in Lipik in October 1991 to save them from the grenades and various armies that were in Pakrac at the time. The Government of SFRY took the decision at the time to transfer the stud farm owned by the Municipality of Pakrac to the facilities of the military institution in Karađorđevo, Vojvodina. Komasović transported 88 horses by trucks to Bosnia and Herzegovina where five of them died and one was born. Komasović came to Karađorđevo with 84 horses. Due to the problems in that institution, the horses were later on transferred to the village Bešenovo, and at the end of 1997 they ended up on the farm of Mr. Bukinac in Novo naselje. "Bukinac seemed as a person who loved animals and who could help me take care of them", Komasović says. Agreement between Bukinac and himself was to take care of the horses together and to try and save the genetic potential of the horses from Lipik. According to Komasović, they also had in mind some profit from them but they never earned anything due to total neglect of the horses.
Disputes between Croatia and Serbia about Lipizzaner horses have lasted for 10 years now. Croatian Ministry of Agriculture founded Secretariat for Return of Lipizzaners and claimed 88 horses that should have been returned to Croatia – exactly the number of horses that was transported to Bosnia and then to Serbia. As replacement for the horses that have died in the meantime, Croatian authorities consider that it is required to return their successors.
Todor Bukinac, the owner of the farm in Novo Naselje, agreed to return back the horses several years ago under condition to be paid 300.000 EUR that he invested in the breed. Croatia never responded to this offer.
I am asking you once again to do something regarding this matter before our official ministries services leave for their holidays.

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