IFAW commends UAE law to protect animals: paper

DUBAI, -- A proposed UAE national animal welfare law to protect animals on farms, in zoos and in the wild, possibly as early as by the end of the year, is earning high praise from one of the top international animal welfare organisations, according to a report by Derek Baldwin in the UAE daily, Gulf News.

The full story follows: United-States based International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW, says that making animal protection a top priority puts the UAE at the forefront of environmental legislation around the world and will effect meaningful change to preserve vulnerable animals.

New regulations within the proposed national strategy cover domestic livestock, slaughterhouse operations, wild animals as well as stiffer regulations regarding stray dogs and animal fighting.

Azzedine Downes, IFAW CEO and President, met officials of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on Sunday and said he was optimistic that the proposed UAE laws will have the teeth to adequately punish animal abusers and others who engage in the illegal endangered wildlife trade.

Mr. Downes said he was pleased to see that animal protection will go beyond domestic farm operations and extend to stemming the flow of endangered animals into the UAE.

"It's very encouraging to see there is a message to stop taking animals from the wild," Downes told Gulf News in an interview in Dubai, adding that his understanding that there will be a rolling out stage of the law, that there will be a phasing-in period".

Forward-looking legislatio,n such as the UAE's welfare law, will go a long way towards stopping the illegal trade of things such as shipments of illegal ivory flowing from the ongoing massacre of African elephants to feed the black markets of the Far East.

Dubai Customs has already been on high watch to block ivory shipments and seized 1,500 ivory shipments between 2011 and 2014.

New penalties with massive fines imposed by the UAE against the import and export of illegal ivory could help slow the bloodbath, Downes said.

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, launched the new animal welfare strategy at the first National Conference on Animal Welfare in Dubai on 2nd November.

Al Zeyoudi said at the conference that a new national strategy will build on a draft law passed in June by the Federal National Council which bans people living in the UAE from owning dangerous, endangered animals, such as tigers and apes, as well as questionable domestic animals such as pitbulls and mastiffs.

"We expect to come up with outcomes such as a national plan that will involve all national stakeholders," Al Zeyoudi said.

The new strategy will incorporate existing laws that guide animal husbandry and protect the environment.

"We believe that preserving animals is part of our religion, we must follow the path of our civilisation and values," Al Zeyoudi said at the conference.

Source: Emirates News Agency