Turkey’s main opposition party has prepared a draft law seeking prison sentences for those found guilty of animal cruelty, Duvar news site reported on Sunday.
The bill presented to parliament by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Zeynel Emre calls for a prison sentence of two to five years for those found guilty of cruel treatment, intentional harm or psychological or physical torture of animals.
“(Turkey is seeing) new cases of violence against animals with each passing day,” Emre said, accusing authorities of being in a complete state of “heedlessness’’ over the matter.
“As such, there is a lack of preventative measures serving as deterrents where animal cruelty is concerned, and the penalties that do exist are increasingly losing their effectiveness.’’
The bill arrives one day after the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry cancelled a tender for the hunting of mountain goats in Turkey’s eastern Dersim province following public outcry by locals, who deem the animals as sacred.
Critics maintain Turkey’s current law on protecting animals, which was endorsed in 2004, is insufficient in terms of sentences and implementation. By example, Turkey sees violence against a stray animal as a misconduct and not a crime, resulting in a monetary fine as punishment.
Emre said in January alone there had been close to 50,000 reported violations against animal rights.
“One of the first steps to be taken is to seek prison sentences for those accused of violence against animals, and increase fines based on the characteristic of the crime,” the CHP deputy said.