BEIRUT: Parliament approved a law for the protection and welfare of Animals Wednesday, enshrining animal rights after eight years of work by local NGO Animals Lebanon alongside the Agriculture Ministry. The law governs the handling and keeping of animals, both for individuals and establishments. It was approved by the Cabinet on Feb. 4, 2015, and by a joint committee meeting in Parliament on May 5 of this year. In the final stage, before the law will be fully implemented, it will need to be signed by President Michel Aoun and published in the official gazette.
“Finally it’s done, it took a long time but ... we’re on the safe side now,” Akram Chehayeb, MP and former agriculture minister who worked on the development of the law, told The Daily Star. “It’s going to happen, we’re just waiting for the President to sign [the law] which should take 10-15 days.”
Uncontroversial bills such as the animal welfare legislation are unlikely to be held up by the president.
The passage of the law will improve Lebanon’s compliance with international conventions and regulations, especially the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which Lebanon joined in 2013.
“This law protects all animals in all situations, requires the government to take action at the level of the [Cabinet], ministries and municipalities, and has strong penalties for anyone contravening the law,” Animals Lebanon posted on the organization’s Facebook page after the announcement. “This is a historic achievement for the country and for animals.”
Impacts of the campaign for animal welfare and protection have progressed despite the wait for the passage of the law, particularly in a crackdown on the trafficking of big cats and registration of zoos.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 17, 2017, on page 2.