UAE to impose Dh20,000 fine for animal cruelty
By Emmanuelle Landais, Staff Reporter Published: August 03, 2008, 00:09
Dubai: Penalties for mistreating animals in the UAE will range from Dh5,000 to Dh20,000 once an animal welfare law is introduced, Gulf News has learnt.
An initial draft of the law which was under review last year has been approved by the Ministry of Environment and Water and will be passed this month, said a veterinarian source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Gulf News acquired a copy of the draft law which states that owners and keepers of animals shall take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals and that they are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury.
Animals must be given protection from the weather and predators and be fed a wholesome diet appropriate for their age and species, and receive a continuous supply of fresh drinking water each day, the law says.
The law is similar to European laws and is very positive for the UAE, he said.
"There are cases of people burning chickens alive to death here. There are many important welfare issues to be addressed," he added.
Penalties for mistreatment of animals will range from Dh5,000 to Dh20,000 and prison terms.
Gulf News acquired a copy of the draft law which states that owners and keepers of animals shall take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals under their care; and to ensure that the animals are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury.
Concerning impounded animals, the law states they will only be returned after recuperation on condition the owner's negligence will not recur. It states no person shall set free or abandon any animal whose survival normally depends upon human care. In the case of a desire to abandon an animal it must be handed over to the competent or specified authorities.
Animals must be given protection from the weather and predators and be fed a wholesome diet appropriate for their age and species, and receive a continuous supply of fresh drinking water each day.
The law prohibits the sexual abuse of animals and ill-treatment, such as lashing, as well as the sale or trafficking of any diseased or injured animals.
According to a ministry source a committee is now being formed for the application of the federal law on animal welfare.
Jobs are being created to involve the public sector and bring different bodies together.
Residents will also have to be made aware of the law and it may come as a surprise to some, said the ministry source.
"Some people really don't know that this can exist and will exist. The law has penalties and any cases will and can be taken to the police. A lot of animal lovers have written to the ministry and we have received many letters about animal cruelty," he said.
The federal law also prohibits the use of animals for scientific purposes without permission from competent or specified authorities.
A marine mammal guide will also be prepared.
The law: Access to water vital
It is prohibited to organise general exhibitions, competitions, wrestling of animals or birds or animal shows for commercial purposes (article 13).
Whoever molests an animal shall be jailed for a period of not less than one month and fined personally a minimum of Dh5,000 (article 17).
Animals should always be able to have access to good water sources (article 8).
The animal's owner is forbidden to release any animal under his care, whether healthy or sick (article 4).