SR 400,000 Fine for Torturing Animals in Saudi Arabia

There is a trend of animal abusing these days and video clips made in a funny sense are circulating on social media. These videos which contain abuse of animals are getting common in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia via posting and sharing trend of videos by social apps such as SnapChat, WhatsApp, and Twitter. Director general named Ahmed Al-Bouq of the Rehabilitation center, Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center, which is established for Wildlife Research in Taif issued an alarming letter regarding abuse, torture or ill-treatment with animals. The culprit needs to pay a penalty of up to SR 400,000. Everyone should be careful while driving as driving a car over a stray cat can also lead to Punishment if you have not taken appropriate measures to save it.[irp]

Ahmed Al-Bouq stated that these incidents are rare and uncommon and is acted upon by people who don’t have enough knowledge, religious beliefs or sense of humanity in them. The director also stated that laws and regulations in the Kingdom along with GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries hold policies regarding human behavior with animals. He requested Saudis and non-Saudis to show kindness towards all animals which include wildlife animals such as dogs, cats, camels, chickens, and cows. The laws were once strictly enforced by the Agriculture Ministry of the Kingdom but now it currently falls under the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture.

The Ministry’s enforcement agencies are imposing a fine for animal abusers now. Cases of animal abuse are rare incidents which occur on individual grounds and are not a reflection of Saudi society. The Saudi society portrays fear of God, sincere religious values, and kindness towards animals. Abuse and mistreatment of animals reflect ill and sick minded people. We must have sympathy for every animal be it camel, horse, sheep, cat, dog or others.

According to the director, animal abusers are accountable and should be fine in the form of penalties. In serious cases, the culprit may be forwarded to court for appropriate decision. Member of the Hurairah, which is an animal rescue group, Rifal Al-Rashidi holds positive remarks regarding the new law. He believes that fining is an important action which needs to be taken to decrease the number of animal abuse cases reported in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Animal abuse was started on a small scale by small groups of people but now, unfortunately, the situation is getting worst especially due to the involvement of our youth through social media.  These videos are spreading the negative image of Saudi's behavior towards animals. The primary reason behind such incidents is inadequate discipline and law enforcement.

“Save a Life” is an animal rescue group established in Jeddah which consists of fifty active members. The name of the group specifies its primary motive very clearly which is to keep the animals safe, give them food, shelter, water and show kindness towards them.[irp]

One of the members of the animal rescue group, Isra Muhib, commented that the fine is not enough to stop animal abuse or law violators. There is still a need to take more steps. Although Saudi society is going through a series of rising changes in terms of animal welfare, this animal rescue group promotes awareness among people for animals. People are aware now and keeping pets at home is common.

Source: Arab News