The Sharjah pet market is notorious for holding animals in inhumane conditions. Chris Whiteoak / The National
The Sharjah pet market is notorious for holding animals in inhumane conditions. Chris Whiteoak / The National

There should be zero tolerance towards animal cruelty



"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress," Mahatma Gandhi once said, "can be judged by the way its animals are treated". Last year, the UAE introduced laws to protect animals and criminalise cruelty towards them. Animal rights activists welcomed the legislation, which imposed heavy penalties on those convicted of abusing or engaging in the illegal trade of animals. The previous year, a law introduced fines and a prison term for those found guilty of mistreating animals. Yet, as The National has reported, the abuse of animals continues.

The heartbreaking video of a cat caged in a Sharjah pet market – lying on its side and panting in the intense heat of the shop – has ignited calls for even harsher punishments for those who mistreat animals. As a Sharjah resident said: "Some of the animals we spotted were suffocating in cages." The authorities moved swiftly but the incident has prompted calls from animal rights activists for frequent surprise inspections at pet markets. This is a wise idea: the fear of being caught breaking the law can be a powerful deterrent and stop such mistreatment of animals – deemed a sin in Islam – from continuing unseen.

Authorities should act decisively and quickly when complaints of animal abuse are made. Any delay could have fatal consequences for defenceless creatures. Pet owners too must uphold their responsibilities to the animals in their care. There have been too many instances of residents simply dumping their pets when leaving the country or going on holiday, a deplorable act which should enlist penalties, whether financial or punitive. Microchipping pets so their owners can be traced could be one way to curb the number of pets being abandoned. There is a growing appreciation of the need to protect vulnerable animals in the UAE. Dubai Safari recently confiscated banned exotic animals from private owners. And last year Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, ordered a group of men caught torturing a cat to perform community service in Dubai Zoo. He set an example that such abominable cruelty should never be tolerated.

The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat & Other Stories From the North
Edited and Introduced by Sjón and Ted Hodgkinson
Pushkin Press 

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Company name: Farmin

Date started: March 2019

Founder: Dr Ali Al Hammadi 

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Partners/Incubators: UAE Space Agency/Krypto Labs 

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By 2030, Abu Dhabi aims to achieve:

• 39.3 million visitors, nearly 64% up from 2023

• Dh90 billion contribution to GDP, about 84% more than Dh49 billion in 2023

• 178,000 new jobs, bringing the total to about 366,000

• 52,000 hotel rooms, up 53% from 34,000 in 2023

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Company name: Fasset
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How to join and use Abu Dhabi’s public libraries

• There are six libraries in Abu Dhabi emirate run by the Department of Culture and Tourism, including one in Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

• Libraries are free to visit and visitors can consult books, use online resources and study there. Most are open from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, closed on Fridays and have variable hours on Saturdays, except for Qasr Al Watan which is open from 10am to 8pm every day.

• In order to borrow books, visitors must join the service by providing a passport photograph, Emirates ID and a refundable deposit of Dh400. Members can borrow five books for three weeks, all of which are renewable up to two times online.

• If users do not wish to pay the fee, they can still use the library’s electronic resources for free by simply registering on the website. Once registered, a username and password is provided, allowing remote access.

• For more information visit the library network's website.