Lebanon has now enacted its first animal welfare law. The Animals Protection and Welfare Law establishes general requirements for keeping and handling animals, including providing comfortable, hygienic, and species-appropriate enclosures, and avoiding treatment that causes avoidable pain or distress. The law also sets specific regulations for the treatment of animals in breeding operations, pet shops, private homes, farms, slaughterhouses, laboratories, and zoos. It prohibits abusing animals for entertainment, including in circuses and fights, and forbids private ownership of endangered species. Penalties for first-time animal cruelty violations run as high as 50 million lira (over $30,000 USD) and two years’ imprisonment.
On Tuesday, August 29th, Lebanese president Michel Aoun signed the law into effect. Present for the signing were representatives from the non-profit Animals Lebanon, which has spent the past eight years campaigning for an animal welfare law and co-wrote the final version together with the Ministry of Agriculture. In a public statement, Animals Lebanon declared,
“This is a great day for Lebanon, for Animals Lebanon, and most importantly for the animals. In 2010 we tried to stop a terrible circus but were told our position is ‘morally, ethically and religiously correct, but there is no legal basis.’ We spent days and weeks and months and years researching, drafting, revising, lobbying – all to give animals the legal protection they so desperately need. … Animal abuse, pain, suffering, distress, [and]neglect is not just wrong – today it is illegal!”
The full text of the law can be read in English and Arabic on Animals Lebanon’s website.
Featured image credit rabiem22, CC BY 2.0 / cropped