Turkey will no longer consider animals ‘commodities’ after a new law was passed this week. The new legislation gives animals in the Middle Eastern country more rights.
Up until now, those found guilty of torturing or killing stray animals had been punished with a small fine, since the crimes had been considered ‘damage to commodities’. For instance last month, a man living in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, was found to be killing and eating stray kittens. He received only a fine.
The new law acknowledges that animals are living beings. Those who commit crimes against animals in Turkey – which is home to upwards of 80 million people – can now face a jail sentence from six months to four years.
Pelin Sayilgan is the Ankara representative of the Turkish Animal Right Federation, Haytap. She told Xinhua: “The good thing is that their crimes will go on the records of offenders.”
“We had demanded the banning of zoos, circus animals, fur farms, and pet stores, but the new legislation doesn’t include those facts.”
The new law also allows local police to put together animal protection squads. Police will target those involved in cockfighting and dog fighting.
Animal rights in the Middle East
People in the Middle East are becoming increasingly concerned about animal welfare. It’s motivating many people to reduce their consumption of animal products.
Last year, a vegan support center opened in Beirut. The social hub promotes the work of animal advocates of color. It runs animal rights campaigns, gives out free plant-based food, and holds documentary screenings.
And investor Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal is working to promote veganism in the Middle East.
Earlier this year, major coffee chain Starbucks introduced vegan Beyond beef to its menus in the Middle East.