Villager fined for beating blindfolded donkey in eastern Turkey
A villager in the eastern Turkish province of Kars has been briefly detained by the gendarmerie after a video showing him beating a blindfolded donkey triggered outrage on social media.
Demirören News Agency reported on July 24 that the villager, identified only as Vedat Ç., was released after paying a fine of 1,250 Turkish Liras for committing cruelty against an animal.
(Warning: The following video, in which a blindfolded donkey was beaten until it collapsed unconsciously, has graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing)
A series of violent attacks against stray animals shook Turkey in recent weeks, including the horrific killing of a puppy in the western province of Sakarya on June 15.
Current Turkish legislation was criticized by animal rights activists for not carrying heavier sentences.
In the face of the public outrage, the Turkish government announced last month that a new ministerial bill for animal rights would be prioritized following the June 24 elections.
The new bill was sent to parliament in April, proposing that stray animals in Turkey “are not property,” in a landmark change of perspective in Turkish law.
Those who dare torture animals will receive four months to three years in prison according to the new bill.
If the perpetrator violates the freedoms of multiple animals in the same instance, his or her sentence will be increased by 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. They say that although the new bill proposes heavier jail sentences to those who practice violence against stray animals, these sentences would still be light enough to be turned into fines.