Saudi environment ministry penalizes 28 entities, individuals for abuse of animals, food health violations

Saudi environment ministry penalizes 28 entities, individuals for abuse of animals, food health violations
Environment, Water and Agriculture Minister Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadhli. (MEWA photo)
Updated 04 October 2019

Saudi environment ministry penalizes 28 entities, individuals for abuse of animals, food health violations

Saudi environment ministry penalizes 28 entities, individuals for abuse of animals, food health violations
  • The majority of fines were for the sale of local animal products that were deemed unsafe for human consumption

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA) announced on Thursday that it has issued penalties against 28 individuals and entities charged with abuse of animals and food-health violations between the beginning of June and the end of August this year, with fines amounting to SR1.76 million ($470,000). 

The majority of fines were for the sale of local animal products that were deemed unsafe for human consumption or for causing intentional injury to animals.

Violations also included the transfer of animals suspected of being infected, unlicensed livestock projects, failing to renew licenses, or carrying out projects without consulting MEWA.

Abdullah Abaalkhail, general manager of public relations at MEWA, told Arab News: “This announcement is part of the ministry’s work in implementing the animal welfare system and controlling violators. The ministry periodically issues a list of violations (in an attempt to raise awareness.” 

Anyone found guilty of violating ministry regulations will incur penalties “without hesitation,” Abaalkhalil claimed, and called on the general public to notify the ministry if they knew of any such violations.

“We are asking Saudi citizens to report any violation cases to 800 247 0000,” he said.

HIGHLIGHTS

The most common violations:

• Selling unsafe local animal products.

• Preventing the epidemiological investigation teams from taking samples.

• Selling sick animals.

• Failure to provide adequate living conditions for animals.

In the June-August period, there were 17 violations in the Makkah region, five in Riyadh, three in Asir, two in Jazan, and one in the Qassim region.

The PR manager stressed the importance of reporting animal abuse, whether those reports came from veterinarians or regular citizens, and called on any livestock owners or companies selling animal-related products to abide by the regulations and instructions issued by the ministry.

“The ministry receives many reports of animal abuse, some of which are monitored through social media or other media outlets, but many of these cases are not actually animal abuse, but bad treatment (caused by a lack of awareness,” he said. “Some reports of violations are dealt with by punishment by the GCC Animal Welfare Offenses Review Committee. Cases of serious animal abuse are referred to the Public Prosecution.”

Discussing the potential fines for those who do not abide by the ministry’s codes, Abaalkhalil said: “Penalties range from SR50,000 per violation and may reach up to SR400,000 in case of repetition, in addition to other penalties. Some serious cases may lead to imprisonment.”

The Kingdom and MEWA are working on “raising awareness about the importance of animal welfare in the Kingdom, imposing sanctions against abusers, working to improve the environment of animals and developing animal protection legislation in the Kingdom,” he said. 

Social media is a useful tool to combat animal abuse in the Kingdom and there is now an official Twitter account for the Humane Society of Saudi Arabia — @rifqsa — which provides a platform to raise awareness of animal rights and to report cases of animal abuse.