We’re finally moving forward with animal welfare in Lebanon! Thanks to the continuous efforts of Animals Lebanon, who collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture, their Animal Protection and Welfare Law has been approved by the Lebanese Parliament. Institutions that handle animals such as breeding facilities, pet shops, agricultural institutions, and zoos will finally underlie regulations to ensure species-appropriate keeping and care as well as health control. But also private people can be persecuted. A passage reads “Unless otherwise specified under this law, it is prohibited to perform any act that may inflict distress, pain or suffering to animals or subject them to danger or torture“.
Furthermore, the law includes a clause that guardians have to register their animals at the Ministry of Agriculture and a fee has to be paid from which animal rescue organizations are exempted. Guidelines will be established by the Ministry of Agriculture on how to manage the stray population and each municipality is supposed to set up a stray management plan. Conceivably, this will bring an end to municipalities shooting strays like clay pigeons.
Many people have been vocal on Facebook about animal abuse happening in their neighborhoods, others poisoning or shooting their pets or strays as well as public displays of miserable malnourished animals for entertainment purposes. Often they were heartbroken that they couldn’t do anything to make the situation better and even NGO’s like Beta or Animals Lebanon were unable to interfere, simply because the abusers did not offend against the law. Hopefully in the future, when we see pictures surface that show young Lebanese men showing off with pet tigers, animals suffering in tiny, dirty pet shops or someone keeping a dog locked in a tiny wooden box, our hands won’t be tied and we will be able to get the authorities to interfere.
BUT IS IT GONNA WORK?
However, as important as the law itself is to create public awareness of its significance. Remember the law prohibiting people from smoking inside bars and restaurants? Well, yeah…as we all know, it was neither socially accepted nor enforced. As always, quite some people will also not be persecuted due to their “wasta”. Will the owner of a well known Patisserie, who is supposedly operating a dog fighting farm be held responsible? Will this horrific circus remove animals from their program and is there any hope for the depressed animals in City Zoo? Even if they all are quite lucrative and likely owned by well-connected old men? Will all the big pet shops get health certificates for their imported puppies and kittens or will they simply pay some money to have the documents forged? and who will guarantee that papers from the country of export have not been faked?
THE JOURNEY HAS JUST BEGUN
We do not want to be too negative because we truly believe the law is a huge step in the right direction that we should cherish and not cynically dismiss! Animals Lebanon and all other parties and individuals involved did a magnificent job and we have the highest hopes that with enough pressure from us animal lovers enforcement will take place. The law still has to be signed by the president and will take several months to become effective. Until then, let’s be optimistic and spread the word!
So guys what do you think? Let us know in the comments below 🙂