Turkish animal rights activists demand protection of animals during street protest in Istanbul
On December the 3rd, a private soldier observing his compulsory military service captured a kitten by force at the entrance of the military facilities, then punched it and finally killed the kitten by kicking it several times. This act was captured on video. First arrested, the soldier was imposed an administrative fine of around € 493 and was released under judicial control. The investigation still continues.
The Animal Protection Law, in force for some 14 years in Turkey, imposes only an administrative pecuniary fine on the perpetrators committing crimes against animals. Cases of torture like the one against the kitten, mentioned above, are repeated each and every day. Crimes committed against animals defined as “pets” (or having an owner) are regarded as “damage to property” by the Turkish Penal Code, in which case perpetrators could be tried and sentenced to 4 months to 3 years in jail. The Animal Protection Law fails to protect animals and their rights.
Fighting for a change in the law for several years, animal rights activists went again on protest on the International Animal Rights Day, the 10th of December, in Istanbul and demanded that crimes committed against animals be punished with imprisonment without deferral (for at least two years). One day before the protest, the Minister of Justice Abdülhamit Gül, announced that the legislative regulation they were working on was about to be completed. This new regulation is about increasing the amount of pecuniary fines and allowing for imprisonment in cases of torture of animals. Animal rights activists expressed that they were going to continue their fight until deterrent types of punishment were included in the legislation for those who torture and abuse animals.