The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has issued executive regulations for a new federal law on animal welfare.
The executive regulations comprise nine articles that outline the responsibilities of animal owners, the health and technical standards of animal facilities, animal nutrition conditions, and the guidelines for loading, transporting, and unloading animals, state news agency WAM reported.
The law will make it a criminal offence to use animals in a way that "goes against their nature in art and entertainment performances, in pranks, or in staged animal fights".
Saif Mohammed Al Shara, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector and Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for the Food Diversity Sector at MOCCAE, said: "The UAE is strongly committed to animal welfare, which holds significant value in our Islamic beliefs and culture."
Article two of the regulations details the duties of animal owners, including assuming full responsibility for the animals that depend on them to survive, and not abandoning them under any circumstances.
Should they no longer wish to keep their animals, they must hand them over to the relevant authorities.
Animal owners also need to hire a sufficient number of qualified personnel to look after the animals, and provide proper shelter, feed, and specialised vet care to keep the animals healthy. They must also maintain records of the animals’ genetic lineage, nutrition, health, productivity, and daily routine.
The article labels certain acts – such as failing to offer the animal adequate nutrition, rest, and shelter, harming the animal physically, or keeping it confined – as animal cruelty that is punishable by law.
The same applies if they overwork draft animals without considering their age and health condition. Animal owners are also considered in violation of the law if they neglect to follow the rules of humane slaughter.
In addition, they are banned from administering animals growth-promoting drugs and steroids, or adding illegal additives to their feed.
Article three prohibits the use of electroshock devices (cattle prods) and sharp tools in handling animals while article four defines the health and technical standards for barns, cages, and stables, stating that they should be safe, sterile, and adequate for the animals.
Article six also regulates the processes of loading, transporting, and unloading animals, including obtaining animal transport permits from local authorities, WAM added.
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