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Is Animal Rights Law Enough?

16.08.2021
STGM Support Point Civil Society Expert Lawyer Eda Kılıç evaluated the animal rights law.

Is Animal Rights Law Enough?

The animal protection law, which was adopted in the General Assembly of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on July 9, 2021, nullified the 17-year effort of animal rights defenders. The "Animal Protection Act" of 2004 has been a subject of debate among animal rights advocates for years and efforts have been made to amend it.

Political parties, both in power and opposition, have made promises for years that they will enact so-called "protective" laws regarding "animals" and told us that they will include animals in the scope of "legal" regulations, not "property" but "life" in the current law.

So, is it enough to say "life" on paper?

On July 9, 2021, a law was passed by Parliament. But was this law worth the 17-year effort of us animal rights activists?

To be frank, it wasn't worth it!

We do not accept a law that has been approved by the parliament but must be approved by the President for it to take effect.

Well, let's see why we don't;

First of all, the concept of “sexual intercourse” was mentioned in the regulation. The only term that can be used here is the term "sexual abuse" and although this distinction is explained by all institutions and organizations, the use of "sexual intercourse" is unacceptable! We all know how important the way of expression is on issues such as animal rights, and in fact, we always come across terms such as "sexual intercourse", which aim to soften the crimes committed.
In addition, the law only protects "owned animals" (although the word "owned" is not accepted by STGM, it is used in this way for better understanding within the scope of the relevant regulation).

For 17 years, animal rights advocates have submitted all their demands for the protection of every "life", but the law we have now only protected "scorecards", that is, animals "owned by someone".

Living things that do not have a carnet, that is, what we all call "stray animals", were not included in the scope of this law.
It was said that animals were included in the scope of "life", not "property", but the punishments did not change. While the upper limits were regulated under the Turkish Penal Code, a 3-year prison sentence was foreseen as if it was a new regulation.

Complaints of rights violations experienced by non-owner animals were only left to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Directorates of the province where they were located, which prevented lawyers from another province.

  • It was said that dolphin parks and zoos would end in 10 years, but something like a "natural life park" was put forward. At this point, the concept of "natural" has become controversial by everyone.
  • The concept of "forbidden race" was an unacceptable term. At this point, it became clear that only the animals called "forbidden races" should be accepted as a "life" and regulations should be made on the necessity of punishing people who incite these animals to violence and taking animals under protection when necessary.

On top of all this, no measures were taken to protect animals regarding “hunting or experiments on animals” in law on the protection of animal rights.

Many things need to be told at length about each of these things, but in this article, we can only mention them most lightly.

The law, which was adopted as the "Animal Protection Law", does not reward the 17-year effort for the protection of animals.

Every life is the same, protect!