Photos: Gareth Degiorgio
Lydia Abela has shown she is is a pretty apt horse rider, bringing a rescued horse along to her daughter Giorgia Mae’s recent birthday party.
Besides being a fun experience and a great photo opportunity, the Prime Minister’s wife used the occasion to promote work carried out by animal rights NGOs.
In fact, the horse was one of 36 horses sheltered by RMJ’s Horse Rescue, a horse sanctuary based in Siġġiewi, near the Kappella tal-Providenza.
In a Xarabank interview following Robert Abela’s election as Prime Minister last January, Lydia Abela said she wants to use her position to promote animal welfare.
“Growing up, there was always an animal at home and I feel a void when there isn’t a pet in the house,” she said. “I believe that animals make us feel at peace, I believe we need to raise more awareness about them, and yes, I want to contribute to this sector.”
She has held a number of meetings with animal welfare NGOs since then, one of which was recently detailed by animal rights activist Alison Bezzina.
“At the time [of her Xarabank interview], Dr. Abela might not have known what she had just talked herself into; she might not have known how hard so many activists have already been working to break down red taped walls that should never have been put up in the first place. But soon enough, she was made aware, because many animal activists including myself set up a meeting with Dr. Abela and filled her in with the situation.”
“When I met Dr. Lydia Abela on the 31st of January, she seemed receptive and understanding. She was clearly shocked with some of the truths that were bestowed upon her, and she promised that she would do her best to find a way to improve the situation.”
Bezzina said they discussed the poor state of the Għammieri sanctuary for stray animals, the need to enforce the law, the importance of a national neutering campaign, the raising of public awareness and education even amongst the judiciary, and the political apathy that surrounds the area of animal rights.
“Dr. Lydia Abela is the umpteenth person I’ve met up with to try to change the situation and whilst I want to believe that she will make a difference, if she doesn’t (and even if she does), I will not go away,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, RMJ’s Horse Rescue is organising an open day at their new Siġġiewi premises this Sunday. Guests will be able to meet and ride their horses and participate in a number of family-friendly activities such as face-painting.