Soccer Ball Flags Animal Cruelty With Howling-Dog Sound

Protest Is Against Ukrainian Government Killing Stray Animals to Tidy Streets Before Soccer Championship

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In the German city of Hamburg, pedestrians unable to resist kicking a soccer ball left lying in the street are being surprised by the sound of a howling dog.

The ball was created as a protest against a mass cull of stray animals across the Ukraine, which is co-hosting the European soccer championships in June with Eastern European neighbor Poland, and wants to make sure that the visiting fans -- and the 150 million-plus TV viewers of each match -- see nothing but the best of Ukraine.

So the Ukrainian environment ministry ordered a campaign to clean up the streets by killing the stray dogs and cats around the country. Thousands of dogs have been killed over the last year, usually poisoned or given lethal injections, angering animal-rights charities around the world.

Christian Baur, a Hamburg-based creative and graduate of the Miami Ad School, wanted to find a way to get people involved in animal protection and support pan-European animal charity ETN. The howling soccer ball was his answer.

He placed the ball on a street in Hamburg and filmed as some passed by , some kicked it and went on their way, and others stopped to pick it up and read the message on it.

The message reads, "Stop killing dogs for Euro 2012. Thousands of dogs and cats get killed, burned or poisoned because of the Euro 2012. Please help us to stop this massacre." The ball carries a phone number for SMS donations and a QR code that can be scanned for more information.

The "Howling Football" effort was part of Mr. Baur's final project in communication-design study, and was undertaken independently, using a single soccer ball. To distribute it, he uploaded his video to YouTube. He said in an email, "Animal rights are important to me. I grew up in a small village in Bavaria, my parents had a farm with lots of animals, so animals and nature were very close to me."

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