Vending Machines Encourage Recycling, Feed Stray Animals in Istanbul


Plastic for pet food is a better option than sending dogs to isolated islands

Ross Brooks
  • 24 july 2014

Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city with a population of 14 million, but it also has one of the world’s largest stray animal populations at around 150,000. Instead of overlooking the problem as is all too common, the Turkish company Pugedon has struck a deal with the government to place food dispensaries around the city. Not only do these provide food and water, but they also help to promote recycling.

The bottle-powered dispensers dish out pet food every time someone places a plastic bottle inside the machine. It also has a container where you can pour the remainder of your water to make sure stray cats and dogs also have something to drink. Apart from keeping the urban animals alive, the vending machine also makes people stop and think about their plight and could perhaps be enough to make some consider adopting an animal to help deal with the problem.


As far as solutions go, this one is a much more humane option when you consider those that have occurred before. In 2012, the government drafted a law that allowed city dogs to be sent to “wildlife parks” on city outskirts. This outraged animal rights activists who referenced a brutal act of animal cruelty in 1910 when the city’s stray dogs were sent to an island and forced to eat each other for survival.

While the solution is a good one, it’s worth noting that it only targets the symptoms of the stray animal problem. Animal smuggling, illegal pet shops, and the desire to have the latest “fashionable” animal are all factors. As pointed out on BigThink by Ahmet Senpolat, an Istanbul-based animal rights lawyer:

Animal smugglers only face a fine of a few hundred euros at worst, they continue to bring expensive pure-bred puppies and sell them to pet stores. People often buy the puppies from pet stores, and abandon them when they become too tough to handle.

Facing up to problems is harder because it usually requires doing something about them, but it’s still a better option than ignoring them altogether.


[h/t] BigThink

Images via YouTube


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