As Parliament debates what to do to improve animal rights, activists say controlling the animal populations is the best solution to protect them. Amid outcry over a string of cases involving the torture and brutal killing of cats and dogs across the country, Parliament set up an investigative committee for animal rights. The committee seeks ways to curb violence toward animals, while the activists demand harsher sentences in crimes against animals. The committee also looks into how to handle an ever-increasing population of stray and owned animals. Animal shelters are present in most big cities, but increasing populations leave them working under capacity. A recent string of attacks by stray animals in central Turkey brought the issue into the spotlight again.
Şebnem Aslan, the honorary president of an animal rights federation, told the committee that sterilization of pets was key to controlling the animal population. "Pet owners who cannot afford it should be funded for the sterilization of animals," she says. Aslan also pointed out the need for registration of all pets with electronic chips and fines for those abandoning their pets, and a ban for their future pet ownership.
Aslan also calls for an end to breeding of pets in pet shops and other venues to maintain population control. For stray animals, she says that they should be cared for jointly by volunteers and municipalities after they are sterilized.
Timur Ugan, another animal rights activist, says population control for stray animals can be achieved in one year with the right methods. "Sterilization centers can be set up in small towns with a high population of stray animals. Such centers were set up in several towns, and it succeeded in decreasing the population," he says.