Works on animal rights bill by Turkish MPs slowed down
Nuray Babacan - ANKARA
The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) works on animal rights regulations have decelerated due to disputes over clauses proposed on prison sentences for those who torture and kill animals.
The reason for the slowdown in the legalization process of the animal rights bill is that officials have not come to an agreement on what would be the “most appropriate” jail sentence terms for animal torturers and killers, sources have told daily Hürriyet.
According to the proposed animal rights bill, a jail sentence will be handed down to the perpetrator who tortures animals.
But officials are now questioning whether this proposed jail term is realistic since sentences given for crimes against humans are not even put into execution properly in certain situations.
Lawmakers are also reportedly not certain about the legislation of such a bill at a time when public outrage against attacks by stray dogs on humans is growing.
Earlier this month, a high school student was killed after a stray dog attacked him in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri.
Debates over the severity of the penalties for raping animals have also slackened the process, with questions raised over how to detect the offense and how to avert unfair accusation.
Another issue with the regulation is budget problems regarding the construction of animal shelters in every residential area.
In order for shelters to function properly, a total of 5 billion Turkish Liras (approximately $948 million) are needed.
Officials are also discussing whether to leave the operation of shelters, currently under municipalities, to the relevant ministries by providing resources from the main budget.
Meanwhile, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said on Jan. 24 that owners who abandon their pets in the streets will receive penalties once the new law comes into effect.
A government-sponsored bill put forth in April 2018 seeks jail sentence for perpetrators who torture animals instead of a fine — a topic which has widely been discussed in Turkey, with animal rights activists calling for change for decades.
Those who dare to torture animals will receive four months to three years in prison, according to the initial plan.
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, rising from six months to four-and-a-half years in jail, according to the draft.
In the event of the murder of an endangered species, the culprit will be sentenced up to seven years in jail.
The draft bill, which dissolves the lines between pets and stray animals, also proposed animals “are not property.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had voiced his concern over the long-delayed legislation at his ruling AKP’s central executive committee meeting in October 2018.