People, Environment

Online Campaign Demands Criminalizing Animal Abuse

 Online Campaign Demands Criminalizing Animal Abuse Online Campaign Demands Criminalizing Animal Abuse

Following the dissemination of photos and videos of animal abuse in cyberspace over the past few months, a grassroots campaign has been launched to demand an animal protection law.

The campaign, whose online petition aims to collect one million signatures, was initiated in late June and has so far managed to gather about 29,000 signatures.

In a talk with ISNA, Milad Tafazzoli, the initiator of the campaign, said the goal is to pressure lawmakers to pass a definitive, foolproof law on animal abuse.

Tafazzoli added that the movement also runs a channel on the popular smartphone instant messaging application and called on the public to join the cause and take a step toward putting an end to animal cruelty.

“Initially, we introduced the campaign to animal protection organizations and later gained the support of individuals from the legal system as well as celebrities to promote the movement,” he said.

The group has also asked its followers to design 40 leaflets on the theme of animal protection and distribute them in public places so as to raise awareness and “establish a culture of kindness toward living beings, not to mention encouraging more people to sign the petition.”

In 2007, an animal rights bill was devised by Iran’s Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals and submitted to the Department of Environment. The DOE presented the bill to the Majlis (parliament) but it has not yet been discussed.

Tafazzoli said their team also aims to revise the bill to address its shortcomings and present it to the Majlis once again.

Sharing photos and videos of cruel behavior toward pets and other animals in social networks have been met with widespread criticism and fueled demands for the punishment of the culprits.

Despite the legal gap, there have been instances of savvy judges with a firm grasp of the law who stepped up their game and used laws such as Article 638 of Islamic Penal Code to bring animal abusers to justice.