Animal Abuse Bill Ready for Reconsideration

Animal Abuse Bill Ready for ReconsiderationAnimal Abuse Bill Ready for Reconsideration

The bill against animal cruelty is to be again submitted to the parliament in the form of amendments to the existing penal laws, a senior official at the said.

The bill prepared by the Department of Environment, in conjunction with jurists and experts to fill the gap in the constitution’s punitive laws that allowed animal abusers to escape from the clutches of law in the past, was first presented by the government to the parliament in November.

IRNA quoted Farhad Dabiri, DOE’s deputy for biodiversity, as saying that the bill was forwarded to the judiciary (most probably by the related parliamentary commission), as it concerned crime and penalties.

“Since the constitution prevents diversification of similar codes, the bill is to be attached to Article 679 of Islamic Penal Code as an appendix,” he said.

After it is submitted again and the parliamentary commission approves it, it will be tabled in the legislature for a vote.

According to articles 679 and 680 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, abusing and killing halal-meat animals (animals whose meat is allowed for consumption) as well as protected species is illegal and punishable by imprisonment and a fine of 18 million rials ($450).

“However, these laws did not protect other animals such as cats and dogs from cruel acts and that needed to change,” Dabiri said.

One of the notes in the newly prepared bill proposes that cruelty of any kind, including causing injury and disability, or killing of inedible animals (such as cats, dogs and other species not categorized in the existing article) will be sentenced with fines of 10 million rials ($250) and providing animal care services for up to six months.

Dabiri noted that euthanasia or mercy killing is excluded from the regulations, for it is considered an acceptable preventive measure taken to control diseases and relieve the animal of pain that cannot be lessened by any other means.

“Although an acceptable practice, euthanasia could also be undertaken after obtaining the required permits from Iran Veterinary Organization as per the proposed bill,” he added.

However, the DOE official did not clarify whether the law has specified the entity entitled to euthanize and the method involved.

The new notes also include rules on conditions of keeping animals either in zoos, animal care centers or by people as pets. Dabiri did not elaborate.

Nevertheless, the legal gap in the past did not deter judges from stepping up their game and using the existing laws to prosecute animal torturers.

During the sixth Majlis (2000-04), the Iran Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals prepared a draft legislation following extensive studies of similar laws in other countries, but the bill failed to make it to the parliament floor.

To tackle the issue, judges used Article 638 of Islamic Penal Code, which states that committing sinful acts in public is a crime, to bring people who abuse animals to justice—much to the satisfaction of activists and the public.

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