Rida Daher Staff writer
“In case a breach is committed against an animal enlisted in Appendix I or II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES), the violator is liable to imprisonment between 3 months to 3 years and a fine between 10 and 20 million Lebanese Liras.” At least, such is what states one of the headlines in the draft law on animal welfare legislation, presented to the Lebanese Parliament on November 24.
In an effort to make animal abuse illegal, Animals Lebanon, an NGO, prepared a draft law that was reviewed by over 20 international establishments including the World Animal Health Organization. Animals Lebanon is currently carrying out a campaign in cooperation with the ministry of agriculture in an attempt to provide, “animal welfare.”
Nearly 70 years ago, animal welfare legislation existed in Lebanon. And at that time, the country was well known as a forerunner in the Middle East for animal welfare. Unfortunately, instead of improving the state and trends on animal security legislation, the situation seemed to progress towards a state of unregulated zoos and pet shops and smuggling of endangered species throughout the country.
The comprehensive manual presents many levels of arguments favoring the introduction of animal protection legislation. Tagging the animals as “sentient-beings”, the draft states that it is of our moral/ethical duty to protect the planet’s animal life.
Co-founder and board member of Animals Lebanon, Mrs. Safa Hojeij, stated that the long process of endorsing the law would depend on constant follow ups. In addition, Mrs. Hojeij acknowledged that Animals Lebanon is now working to secure 25,000 signatures in support of this law while cooperating with the ministry of agriculture to see the draft proceed as soon as possible.
In a country where human living conditions are of serious concern, the draft might be subject to nonconstructive criticism. But the moral and religious obligations of every single citizen calls for the security of greater good. Protecting the lives of our fellow creatures is part of that obligation.
Visit www.animalslebanon.org/law to support the campaign, sign the petition, tell the government and see how others are taking action.