A highly awaited animal-rights bill could soon see the light of day as the Turkey Animal Bill went through to parliament. It took years of protracted efforts by animal welfare activists and common citizens before the bill was finally put through for signing.
Under the proposed Turkey Animal Bill, animals will cease to be classified as commodities. This was possible after long deliberation by lawmakers and the law is anticipated to be passed in the coming weeks.
Turkey Animal Bill To Change Laws Treating Animals As Commodities
Animal rights issues have been hotly debated for years and the government has been under pressure from activists and the public to change the laws. Animals are at present defined as commodities that deny them rights. Cruelty towards animals only attracts penalties under a simple ‘damage to commodity’ which incurs a petty fine.
Cruelty against street dogs and cats is a regular occurrence in Turkey. A man escaped with just a fine after killing and consuming kittens in his neighborhood. One positive thing about this law is that such people will be recorded as offenders, said Pelin Sayilgan of the Turkish Animal Rights Federation.
She said that the Federation has appealed for banning circus animals, zoos, pet stores, and fur farms. But she said that these issues were not reflected in the Turkey Animal Bill.
Citizens hope that the Turkey Animal Bill will deter offenders to some extent and bring down the regular cruelty against animals that is common in Turkey.
Under the new laws, punishment will range from 6 months to 4 years for crimes against animals. Criminals will no longer be able to escape with just a fine. The police have also been empowered to form protection squads for animals that will respond promptly to any reports of violence against them.
The Turkey Animal Bill will also empower law activists to actively pursue people participating in blood sports that involve animals. These include dogfighting and cockfighting which are both prevalent in some areas of Turkey.
There has been an upsurge in activism against cruelty to animals in the Middle East of late. The region has a dreadful record of cruelty to animals for sport.