Ömür Gedik said his biggest dream is to have the animals that are imprisoned in tiny cages in the shelter, through volunteers.
Ömür Gedik, one of Turkey’s leading animal rights activists, has been fighting for 12 years with the Association for the Protection of Animals Against Helplessness and Apathy (HAÇİKO), which he founded in 2010.
Founding President of the HAÇİKO Association, journalist and musician Ömür Gedik spoke to Ajanimo about his work with animals and his plans for their welfare.
HAÇİKO Association, with the support of volunteers in all provinces, has so far touched the lives of millions of animals; they continue to struggle to lead happy and equal lives like everyone else.
In addition to touching animals, caring for them, feeding them in all regions of Turkey, he also works to ensure that people are individuals who respect their right to life.
Ömür Gedik said that the journey of HAÇİKO Association, which initially started only in Istanbul, has reached every corner of Turkey over the past 12 years.
Ömür Gedik said that as an association, they mainly care about children and young people; “We try to change people’s view of animals in a positive way by organizing theaters and seminars in schools and universities. First, we aim to instill a love of animals in children and young people. In this way, we hope to reduce animal suffering.
“Until a man truly loves an animal, half his soul sleeps”
Stating that children and young people fear and even hate animals because of the way they grow up in the family, Ömür Gedik said the only way to change this is to reunite families with an animal:
“Changing families after a certain age is only possible by bringing them closer to an animal. Many of my friends, who can’t touch the cat and the dog, used to jump from three chairs when they saw a cat, and now they sleep with their cats on the sheep. Anatole France has a phrase that I always say;
Until a man truly loves an animal, half his soul is asleep.
We’re trying to awaken half of that soul, that’s all we do. After seeing eye to eye, everything changes and becomes different in people, so it is necessary to catch this contact.
It’s a shame to own a breed in a country where there are so many stray animals!
That’s why every time I see you, take a cat or a dog, but of course, whether it’s from the street, from the forest or from the shelter because; I think it’s such a shame to own a breed of animals in a country where there are so many stray animals.
If you want to have a good time, adopt a street animal, not a purebred one.
Gedik says that people who contact them to adopt animals usually want puppies and raising animals, and that situation is no different from racism, and if they really want to have fun and have a good time together, they should adopt a stray:
“They still want puppies and breeds, so it’s really shameful for me. In fact, this situation is no different from racism. However, I can say that if they want to have a good time, they really should adopt stray animals, not farm animals.They are extremely playful, very affectionate, they really add beauty to life.
I LIVE WITH 30 CATS
“I live with 20 to 30 stray cats. There is a breakage, which is probably due to throwing a purebred cat in the street. When people take purebred cats and throw them on the street, the species get mixed up. But I have a lot of tabbies, Sarmans, they are all derived from each other. It starts with a cat, then three, four and five. I also think that people leave because they are taken care of here anyway. I also think there is communication between them, there is food here, there is love, they say come on, come on, because almost all the cats on the site have gathered here (he speaks from the garden of his house).”
MY BIGGEST DREAM IS TO WALK THE ANIMALS AT THE SHELTER AT SPECIAL TIMES
Ömür Gedik said animals confined in tiny cages in the shelter were taken to shelters by volunteers at times and walked through them:
“My biggest dream is to take the volunteers to the shelters and walk the animals in the shelter at least once a day at certain times. But even in the shelter that says it’s the best shelter in Turkey, that’s not the case right now. All animals in the shelter are in lifelong isolation.
When we say that we as HAÇİKO will come to the shelter, we say it one day in advance, of course, everything is very well arranged. In fact, you can walk through the gates, but there are shelters you can’t enter even by appointment. There are many municipal shelters that don’t even have a 24/7 vet. So there is a very big bleeding wound. The reason why the number of strays is so high is that the municipalities have not carried out sterilizations.
ANIMALS THAT ALWAYS MAKE ME SICK PEOPLE
Ömür Gedik said he was not upset by the negative reviews directed at him. Gedik said if we accept positive reviews, we have to accept negative reviews.
“Someone comes out and says something about strays, they poison a lot of animals the next day. What upsets me is that strays are still not at the level of welfare that we want, that ‘they are still being persecuted and we don’t respect their right to life. I’m so sorry for those. Otherwise the criticisms that come to me, I put my ugly and scary picture like a vampire and I laugh and I them pass.
THE LIFE FARM PROJECT WILL BE IMPLEMENTED SOON
Gedik said that after recent events and statements, street animals have been officially sentenced to life imprisonment in shelters until the end of their lives. And in order to change this cruel fate, he gave the good news that the HAÇİKO Association has started to implement a project that will very soon serve as an example for all of Turkey:
“As HAÇİKO, we have an agricultural project. He will set a very good example on the farm. We will not allow stray animals that we have cared for and taken under our protection to live in cages. They will surely be distributed twice a day. We will ask visiting families to adopt a pet there. Like I said, they need to meet, we think we’ll find out there.
It’s a very small place, in fact, when you look at the whole of Turkey, our ‘Life Farm’ is big for us, but when you look at the whole of Turkey, it’s a small example, it It is our greatest desire to increase this example. We will raise awareness and encourage people to adopt, where we can accommodate families on a 5 decares lot. We will not be able to adopt dogs and cats for everyone who comes, of course, we have very serious criteria in this regard. This will be a project where we bring people closer to animals.
DEFENDER OF ANIMAL RIGHTS, WOMEN WHO RESPECT AND LOVE THEM; THIS IS THE GEDIK LIFE!
Ömür Gedik said he sees himself first and foremost as an animal rights activist.
This is the first time that I speak as an animal rights activist, a woman who respects and loves them at the same time. I think that’s what Life Gedik is.
“Other than that, of course, my professions are journalism and music. My identity as a journalist has helped me a lot in this. Being able to convey what I say to different audiences, explain my problem correctly, go to the right places , sometimes frightening those who persecute animals. Because; A newspaper article can really be effective in stopping people from doing certain things. Therefore, my identity as a journalist makes a great contribution to my fight for animal rights.
On the other hand, being a musician, knowing the artistic milieu there; There are too many animal lovers in this community. They reach a very large audience, befriending them and walking this path together allows me to reach a large number of audiences.
THE SONG I WRITTEN WHEN MY CAT DIED GAVE HOPE TO A LOT OF PEOPLE
“The song Immortal Love, which I wrote after the death of my cat, actually gave hope to people who lost their pets. Hope that we will meet at the rainbow bridge sky in this song may have filled the hearts of many people.
In other words, it actually serves the purpose of my life in both of my professions. They are all one.
Immortal Love Lyrics:
I cry, blood flows from my eyes
While I feel your pain
Please don’t stay with me
It’s hard without you in this miserable world
It was love forever, it came and found us
Rainbow bridge at the end of the road