Animal abuse could lead to a fine of up to SR400,000

Regulation subjects offenders and animal abusers to clearly defined penalties

  
A cat sleeps as Muslim pilgrims pray at Mount Al-Noor, where Muslims believe Prophet Mohammad received the first words of the Koran through Gabriel in the Hera cave, ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

A cat sleeps as Muslim pilgrims pray at Mount Al-Noor, where Muslims believe Prophet Mohammad received the first words of the Koran through Gabriel in the Hera cave, ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
10 December 2016
A spate of videos depicting people abusing animals has prompted Ahmed Al-Bouq, director general of Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center for Wildlife Research in Taif, to issue a warning that torturing animals could lead to a SR400,000 fine.

 Following the posting of graphic videos on WhatsApp, SnapChat and Twitter, Al-Bouq said such incidents are rare and uncharacteristic and committed by individuals who lack religious and moral values. He said that regulations in the Kingdom, as well as in other GCC countries, govern human behavior toward animals. He urged Saudis and expatriates to demonstrate kindness to all animals, including wildlife, dogs, cats, chickens, camels and cows.

He said regulations were once enforced by the Ministry of Agriculture, but currently fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture. The ministry’s enforcement arm applies penalties to animal abusers.

He said cases of animal abuse are isolated incidents and do not reflect Saudi society’s values, which are dictated by deep religious principles, fear of God and rejection of abuse of animals by any means.

“Such cases are rare; what makes them visible and widespread is social media,” said Al-Bouq, adding that such behavior is exhibited by people who are ignorant and lack knowledge of the proper values that characterize the Saudi society, including having compassion for camels, horses, sheep and other animals.

“The regulation subjects offenders and animal abusers to clearly defined penalties and, in some cases, offenders may be taken to court for appropriate penal action,” he said.

Rifal Al-Rashidi, a member of the "Hurairah" animal rescue group, said be believes the fine is an important step to reduce the number of animal abuse cases in Saudi Arabia.

“In the beginning, animal abuse videos started among small groups of people, and now this phenomenon has started to grow among our youths, unfortunately,” Al-Rashidi said.

Fame and lack of strict sanctions against this group of people are the primary reasons behind abusers’ actions, according to Al-Rashidi.

“Save a Life” is an animal rescue group based in Jeddah, which has 50 active members. Isra Muhib, a member of the Save a Life group, said the fine is not enough to deter violators from abusing animals.

“Saudi society is going through a revolution in terms of animal welfare, if we compare it to the old days,” Muhib said. “People are more aware nowadays, and we can find pets in many houses.”

© Arab News 2016


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