A UAE version of the RSPCA

A federal animal-rights body would augment the enthusiastic army of animal lovers

This pitbull found in Jumeirah had been used in an organised dog-fighting ring. Dubai Animal Welfare Society
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Animal welfare is a topic that elicits passionate responses, ranging from attempts to stamp out illegal dog-fighting tournaments run by criminal gangs through to ensuring feral street cats get proper care. Most of this work is done by an army of volunteers who generously give their time, money and energy to ensure the welfare of those unable to speak for themselves.

But would achieving these goals be easier if there were a body with official recognition overseeing this effort? As we reported yesterday, some of those working in this field are calling for the establishment a Federal National Council-backed organisation, similar to the United Kingdom's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

These activists make a compelling case. While there is a substantial body of people working on behalf of animal welfare, they tend to do so in an ad hoc manner and there are often several volunteer groups doing effectively the same role but working in parallel rather than in unison. The lack of an official group also means that when accounts of animals being abused or mistreated are reported to each emirate’s municipality, there is no clear group with the responsibility to deal with it so some reports remain uninvestigated.

There will, of course, still be cases in which groups such as the police will be involved – as shown by the illegal dog-fighting rings, cases of intentional cruelty towards animals and when people breach local rules against selling and owning exotic pets such as lions and tigers.

However, most issues of animal welfare tend to be more mundane and involve neutering cats and dogs living on the street, finding owners to look after them and attending to animals that have been struck by cars. Simply having a single national group with the responsibility to oversee these issues would improve responses. If we can combine the unwavering dedication of animal welfare advocates with the efficiency and authority of a governing body, we can get much closer to ensuring no animal suffers unnecessarily.