In Iran, owning a pet could soon be banned by law

Owning a pet is seen as a symbol of “Westernization” in the Middle Eastern country. Residents have recently been arrested for walking their dog.

Will dogs, cats and rabbits be banned in Iran? A bill is in any case under study to prohibit residents from owning a pet, considered a symbol of “Westernization” in the Middle Eastern country, according to the BBC.

In detail, the law for the Protection of the rights of people in front of animals, currently studied by the Iranian Parliament, plans to prohibit “the import, purchase, sale, transport and possession” of many domestic animals, including cats, rabbits or turtles. Anyone violating it would incur a fine of 790 euros, if the law is passed.

In Iran, walking a dog is a crime

The restrictions have already started: Iranian police recently announced that walking a dog is now a crime in the country. The practice is now banned in the name of “public safety”.

While there are no “solid regulations on dog ownership”, according to Dr Ashkan Shemirani, a veterinarian in Tehran, law enforcement agencies have already arrested people for “walking their dog or even transported him by car”. A “prison” for domestic animals has been created, according to the veterinarian.

Animals considered unclean

The possession of a domestic animal has been in the sights of Iranian elected officials for several years now. “The debates on this law began more than ten years ago when a group of Iranian MPs tried to promote a law intended to confiscate all dogs to entrust them to zoos or to abandon them in the desert”, explains to BBC Dr. Payam Mohebi, President of the Iranian Veterinary Association.

Since then, the subject has continued to come up regularly in Iran, the possibility of “corporal punishment” for dog owners having been mentioned by deputies in particular.

While it is common in Iranian rural families to own a dog and the country was a forerunner in the Middle East by introducing an animal protection law in 1948, everything changed during the Islamic revolution of 1979.

The new regime imposes a different view on domestic animals, now considered impure, according to Islamic tradition, and condemned as a symbol of “Westernization”.

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