Hardly a day passes without news and images about kittens and puppies are found tortured, their paws had been cut off. While these have been affecting the public, rising reactions force the Government to enact. Animal rights activists wish that the law be prepared with the consideration of animals having lives as well and that they have the right to live.
In response to mounting news about violence against stray animals and President Erdoğan’s “What is this legislation waiting for? It should be enacted immediately” words, work on the long awaited law proposal have been accelerated. Last week the “Animal Rights Legislation Watch Commission” which was founded for representing more than 300 animal rights associations, met with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in GNAT (TBMM).
“A HOAX FOR SENDING ANIMALS TO DEATH?”
Animal Rights Activists have been struggling for many years for crimes against animals to be included in the scope of Turkish Criminal Code. Nesrin Çıtırık, President of the Confederation of Animals’ Right to Life (HAYKONFED), made a release about the subject and drew attention to the preparation of legislation of the Directorate of Nature Protection and National Parks (DKPM) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Çıtırık, arguing that sixth “Neutering-Inoculation- Leave Where You Pick” article of Animal Rights Law would be changed, asserted that the legislation proposal prepared by bureaucrats, “is planning to perform the play of sending all of stray animals to exile, death and enslavement.”
Çıtırık argued, “In every legislative year, ministry bureaucrats, who prepares legislation proposals with the claim of making improvements in Animal Protection Act, seek for an arrangement which would lay the groundwork for somehow wiping off stray animals.” Çıtırık, remarked that ministry bureaucrats avoided answering her questions and characterized animal shelters of municipalities as “death camp, exile camp”. She states that the people preparing the legislation proposal are the bureaucrats who do not visit shelters even once.
She told that the proposal was prepared without informing them and other non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and receiving their opinion, and is about to be submitted to Environmental Commission of GNAT. Çıtırık uttered that they were concerned about the new proposal might be a “new law of massacre” against the animals. Çıtırık also stated that Directorate of NPNP was scared of dogs, and said “Think of it this way, what could be expected about the legislation proposal which would be offered by a directorate who says that ‘there shouldn’t be dogs in the streets’. We leave the comment to the public.”
“IT SHOULD BE ANIMAL RIGHTS LAW”
In her statement to halagazeteciyiz.net, Gülizar Biçer Karaca, vice president of RPP (CHP) and Denizli MP, prepared a legislative proposal on this issue, declaring that the name of the new legislation should be Animal Rights Law. Karaca demanded the removal of the term, ‘pet animals,’ inclusion of articles increasing penalties for crimes against animals two to four fold and on the prevention of new zoo openings.
“THIS LAW IS A TEST OF SINCERETY FOR ALL POLITICAL PARTIES”
Karaca, reminded that, up till today, many legislation on animal rights had been proposed to the Parliament and had not been taken notice of, and said that “Animal Rights, is a sincerity test notably for the JDP as well as for all the other parties represented in the GNAT.” Karaca, invited President Erdoğan and the minister to keep their word to voters and added that they are open to every proposal on the condition that not being less inclusive than their own proposal and this arrangement should be immediately negotiated in commissions and General Assembly. “This isn’t the first law of 27th term but let us negotiate our proposal in a month and enact.” Karaca also summoned her party members in the parliament.
“ANIMALS HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE TOO”
Filiz Kerestecioğlu, deputy of Ankara from PDP (HDP), states that enforcements for violations against animals approved in law trivializes the crime because of incompatibility between the act and penalty and reminds that they consider this issue important, and in addition to the legislation proposals, they have raised the topic in assembly sessions many times. Kerestecioğlu, to whom we interviewed during stroking a dog which was sheltered in the Parliament’s garden, explained that, according to the existing law, killing an animal is equalized to smoking in indoor spaces or crashing around. “This situation leads to the stretching even the penalty stated by the law. Similarly, in determining the penalty for an offense, discriminating between ‘possessed/dispossessed animal’ bolsters the perception that animals are property, regardless of the penalty stipulated. Moreover, animals are discriminated as pet/ornamental/controlled and an understanding of utilitarian protection taking place instead of holistic perspective for animal welfare. Though, animals are living things, have the right to live as do the human beings. The anthropocentric, egoist approach leads to widespread of violence against animals” she said. Kerestecioğlu also stated that, violence against animals is closely related with deepening violence both in politics and society.
Demands of Animal Rights Legislation Watch Commission
Demands of “Animal Rights Legislation Watch Commission” which is composed of almost 200 NGO’s and platforms gathered for the legislation proposal are:
‘LEAVE WHERE YOU PICK’
“Leave where you pick” expression in the 6th article of existing law “Neutering-Inoculation- Leave Where You Pick” should never be changed. Neutering should be applied according to principles of basic animal health, country wide and in consideration to the animals’ right to live. Otherwise, the piling up of tens of thousands of animals in death camp shelters of the municipalities and big massacres in the streets will continue.
“PRISON SENTENCE SHOULD BE 2 YEARS AND 1 MONTH”
Prison sentence for events like “Violence, fierce, torture, rape, poisoning” should at least be 2 years and 1 month.
Municipalities’ treatment of the animals is a thousand times more violent than the ordinary citizens. Officials of municipalities who are charged for battery and violence against animals should be certainly punished. In the existing law, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry does not have an authorization of administrative sanction on the municipalities violating the rules. “Authorization of Administrative Sanction” should be given to the ministry officials.
Some of the animals, that have the right to live, but abandoned to rural areas of Ankara in order to be die, have been reflected to cameras of halagazeteciyiz.net:
Translation: Ekin Değirmenci