Iran: Most of the bill will ban pets

Whether it’s a dog, cat, or parrot – many people enjoy pets. They are family members and friends. This is also the case in Iran. But pet owners may soon face legal consequences here.

Some things that are prohibited in the Islamic Republic of Iran are not problematic in Germany and Europe. For example alcohol, or homosexuality. There is also a strict dress code.

Soon a new law could be added in Iran. One that would potentially ban pet ownership.

The regulation, which the Iranian parliament may soon approve according to the BBC, is said to be aimed at protecting the population – at least that’s what the title suggests: “A plan to protect public rights from harmful and dangerous animals”. 75 MEPs signed the draft.

The BBC reported that walking in parks in the capital, Tehran, is already banned. It is a measure to “protect the public”.

Penalties for “buying, selling, keeping and keeping” pets

According to the radio, the bill states that pet ownership must be subject to a permit issued by a special commission. There will also be a fine of at least €790 for the “import, purchase, sale, transfer, breeding and keeping” of a range of animals, including common pets such as dogs, turtles, mice and rabbits. The animal will also be “confiscated”.

Even cats – and thus also the Persian cat, who grew up there at least in name – would be subject to the law.

The authors of the proposed law condemn the coexistence of humans and pets as a “devastating social problem,” AFP reported. They explained that this phenomenon could “gradually change the Iranian and Islamic lifestyle” by “replacing human and family relationships with feelings and emotional relationships with animals.”

There is hardly any resistance from parliamentarians in Iran against the law

The pet ban bill has been around since the end of 2021 – and even then it caused outrage. “My cat is not dangerous,” a pet shop owner in Tehran told AFP in December.

So far, the planned law is causing Iranians to shake their heads. Many fear for their beloved four-legged friends. Dr. said. Payam Mohebi, head of the Iran Veterinarians Association and opponent of the bill, BBC.

Pet supply store in Tehran

Pet supply stores like this one in Tehran may have a hard time in Iran if the law comes into play

© ATTA KENARE / AFP

“They have changed that many times over the years and have even discussed corporal punishment for dog owners.” The bill is considered “embarrassing”. If Parliament passes the bill, future generations will remember us as people who banned dogs because they are dogs and cats because they are cats.”

Despite public outcry, few MPs are willing to vigorously defend the bill. “I agree with the draft in general, but I certainly do not agree with some of its clauses,” the head of parliament’s judiciary committee, Musa Ghazanfarabadi, who signed the text, told AFP in December.

“It’s just a bill, but its success is another matter,” he said.



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Dogs are a sign of “Westernization” in Iran

Pets in Iran have not been a problem for decades, even the Shah’s family had dogs as pets, according to the BBC. But with the Islamic Revolution of 1979, a lot changed for pets and their owners. According to the BBC, animals are considered unclean in Islamic tradition. In addition, dogs are in the eyes of the regime a symbol of “Westernization” that they want to prevent.

Iran is not the only Islamic country where dogs suffer. The Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the United States writes on its website that permits and certificates are required to import pets. Dogs may only be used for hunting, observation and as guide dogs.

“Exotic and non-domestic animals are allowed to enter Saudi Arabia only if they are used for official government purposes. Dangerous and aggressive dogs such as Rottweilers and Pitbulls are not allowed to enter Saudi Arabia under any circumstances.”

Apparently, other religions also have problems with dogs. In 2019, a number of rabbis from the city of Elad near Tel Aviv signed a decree declaring dogs bad and warning residents that their behavior would curse them, the Jerusalem Post reported. Also in Holon, a rabbi spoke out against dog ownership. On the other hand, the Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the world according to the “Jerusalem Post.”

Another source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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