Turkish justice minister expects new animal rights bill to pass in parliament ‘within shortest time’
The new bill on animal rights will be approved by the parliament “very soon,” the Turkish justice minister has said in a message posted on his Twitter account.
“I believe the bill submitted by the AKP [Justice and Development Party], which makes actions against animals illegal if they do not comply with conscience and mercy, will pass in parliament in the shortest time,” Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül wrote on July 28.
After increasing reports of animal cruelty in the country, the Turkish Justice Ministry prepared a draft law proposing that animals “are not property” (in a landmark change of perspective in the law), which makes it possible for animal abusers to be given jail time.
The new draft law was then sent to the relevant ministries for their opinions and eventually to the parliament in April. At the time, Gül had said the government would give priority to the legalization of the new animal rights law following the June 24 elections.
According to the new bill, those who dare torture animals will receive four months to three years in prison.
If the perpetrator violates the freedoms of multiple animals in the same instance, his or her sentence will be increased one-and-a-half times, increasing from six months to four-and-a-half years in jail, according to the draft.
However, animal rights activists criticize the new bill too, as although it proposes heavier jail sentences for those who exhibit violence against stray animals, these sentences are still light enough to become fines.