Activist set for action while government continues to back animal rights law

Activist set for action while government continues to back animal rights law

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Activist set for action while government continues to back animal rights law

Hürriyet Photo

Animal rights’ activists are preparing to hold a demonstration Sept. 30 against a proposed amendment to Law no. 5199 on the protection of animals. The new draft, which is slated to be discussed in Parliament by late October, authorizes the removal of stray animals, limiting the number of pets in houses and the termination of what is termed “dangerous” breeds. Activists fear the regulation will lead to mass killing of cats and dogs regardless of whether they are pets or strays.

Ahmet Özyanık, the general manager of the Forest and Water Ministry’s Natural Preservation and National Park Association, held a press meeting in Ankara yesterday and said the law draft did not mandate death by euthanasia, contrary to what the animal activists claim, Anatolia news agency reported. He said the law draft was to ensure that stray animals are placed in appropriate living conditions until they are adopted.

Animals will be relocated to “natural parks” after being spayed or neutered and properly rehabilitated.

Animal rights activists are concerned about this part of the new regulation. They have started petitions against the draft law and have the support of the Istanbul Bar Association’s animal rights committee.

Having already witnessed Turkish governmental institutions’ incapacity to run proper shelters and rehabilitation facilities, activists have said they fear that the “natural parks” run the risk of turning into death camps in remote corners of cities, or immediately outside cities, where thousands of animals, both dogs and cats, are left to die without proper veterinary services and nourishment.

The law draft also mandates that the breed and the number of pets in houses are to be determined by Forest Ministry regulations considering the ethological needs of their species, their health and the health and safety of people, other animals and the environment. This article is causing doubts among animal lovers about the welfare of their pets.

Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News on a previous occasion, Istanbul Bar Association’s Animal Rights’ Committee Chairperson Hülya Yalçın said this article was extremely dubious, because it established legal causes to limit the number of animals a person may own in very vague terms. “Such a limitation is also against property law and the Constitution.”