Lebanon gets first animal protection law

Lebanese President Michel Aoun, right, signs the country’s first animal welfare bill into law at the Baabda presidential palace, on August 29, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 29 August 2017

Lebanon gets first animal protection law

BAABDA, LEBANON: Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Tuesday signed the country’s first animal welfare bill into law, guaranteeing that domestic and wild animals will be legally protected from abuse.
The bill is the culmination of years of lobbying for the protection of animals in the Mediterranean country, the Animals Lebanon NGO said.
The group’s executive director Jason Mier said it was “a great day for Lebanon” and its animals.
“With this law, Lebanon’s regulations are as strict, if not stricter, than other laws in the region,” he told AFP.
The law, passed by parliament on August 16, outlines requirements for keeping domestic pets, regulations for zoos and pet shops, and penalties for violations — including jail time and fines.
It also outlaws abusing pets or owning wild or endangered animals.
The trade of rare animals is big business in Lebanon, where prized tigers and lions are often locked in cramped cages, forced to perform in circuses, and paraded by wealthy individuals as status symbols.
But animals more traditionally kept as household pets — including cats, dogs, and rabbits — are also often subject to abuse by unregulated zoos, pet shops, and breeders in the country.
“When we used to monitor violations (in the past), we always felt that we didn’t have a strong legal basis that we could lean on,” Animals Lebanon’s lawyer Rania Saghieh told AFP.
“The importance of this law is that we can cover all institutions that care for and maintain animals,” she said.
Other countries in the Middle East, including Tunisia and Qatar, also have animal welfare legislation, although enforcement continues to present a challenge.


Snow shuts schools, delays flights in Iran capital

Updated 39 min 40 sec ago

Snow shuts schools, delays flights in Iran capital

  • The snow started falling early in the morning and disrupted the flow of traffic on some of the city’s main highways
  • Snowfall is forecast to continue until Monday in Tehran and other northern provinces

TEHRAN: Heavy snow covered the streets of Tehran on Sunday, causing major flight delays and forcing the closure of schools, authorities in the Iranian capital said.
AFP correspondents said the snow started falling early in the morning and disrupted the flow of traffic on some of the city’s main highways.
“We knew that it would snow as of last night and that it naturally affects traffic,” head of Tehran’s traffic police Mohammadreza Mehmandar told state television.
“On some highways in the north (of Tehran) there was a bit of ice... and accidents were responded to quickly,” he added.
Schools in all the districts of Tehran city and some parts of the province were closed in both morning and the afternoon due to the heavy snowfall.
The snow dump caused long delays to flights to and from Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport.
“Flights at Mehrabad will go ahead but with delays due to the lack of proper vision,” said Reza Jafarzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s aviation authority.
But flights were still going according to schedule at Imam Khomeini International Airport, also in Tehran, he added.
Snowfall is forecast to continue until Monday in Tehran and other northern provinces.