Turkey has released a long-awaited draft bill to protect animals and their rights. The bill covers everything from the better tracking of animals to prison sentences for individuals, who torture and abuse animals.
The country has more dogs and cats freely roaming its streets than most countries in the world. It is home to a society known to be caring towards animals. But there has been a public outcry after a recent string of incidents involving violence against animals.
The torture and killing of cats and dogs and the maltreatment of beasts of burden that made headlines gave a new voice to calls for effective sentences for those who abuse animals. The draft bill, expected to be presented to Parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) by the end of this month, also seeks to end torture and the practice of throwing away adopted pets.
The most important clause in the bill is a prison term of up to five years for abusing animals. Currently, laws only fine those involved in torture, abuse and killing of animals. Implanting pets with microchips will also be mandatory under the draft bill. The electronic chips will allow tracking of the animal, carry details about its owner and show if it underwent medical checkups. The draft bill also proposes a fine of TL 500 ($100) for owners who abandon their pets.