Calls for government-backed animal organisation in UAE

Animal welfare workers insist a Federal National Council-backed organisation, similar to the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is the only way to change the way animals are treated in some corners of society.

DUBAI // Protecting vulnerable animals can only be done through an official body dedicated to their welfare and enforcement of federal laws, activists say.

Animal welfare workers insist a Federal National Council-backed organisation, similar to the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is the only way to change the way animals are treated in some corners of society.

“Similar organisations are well established all over the world,” said Kirstie Lawton, from volunteer group People for Protection of Animals UAE.

“People can report to the municipality but they do not have faith their concerns will be acted on, as we have seen in recent cases of animal cruelty.

“People come to me all the time reporting their concerns and we do submit details to the police or municipality but without evidence and a team dedicated to prosecutions it is hard to have anybody charged.”

The organisation should follow similar policies and guidelines to the RSPCA, Ms Lawton said.

“It would be somewhere where people could surrender their animals and its inspectors could go into farms or houses where abuse is suspected, so animal welfare laws can be enforced,” she said.

“Then we would start to see a change towards the way animals are treated.”

Voluntary organisations that promote animal welfare do exist, such as the Emirates Animal Welfare Society, which spreads awareness and education. But they have limited resources.

Calls are now growing for a government-financed organisation with enough manpower to deal with law enforcement.

“It needs interventions from the FNC, so it covers the whole country,” Ms Lawton said.

“A lot of key animal activists here are Emirati, and that is important.

“The future looks promising as locals are taking ownership now.”

nwebster@thenational.ae

Published: September 27, 2016 04:00 AM

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