In a rare move, Pakistan announces punishment for cruelty against animals

09:02 PM | 30 Jun, 2022
In a rare move, Pakistan announces punishment for cruelty against animals
Source: File photo

ISLAMABAD – The Pakistani government on Thursday banned testing and surgeries on live animals at veterinary schools and industrial complexes in the federal capital and announced Rs15,000 fine and jail term for animal rights offenders.

The decision came a few weeks after people expressed their outrage as they discovered that veterinary schools were using live animals, dogs, cats and rabbits, to teach students how to perform incision and stitching.

“Live testing of animals in vet colleges and industrial complexes is banned from today in Islamabad Capital Territory,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Strategic Reforms Unit Head Salman Sufi announced during a news conference.

He said the government was introducing amendments to a British-era law to bring about the change, adding a notification had already been issued for the Islamabad region in this connection to ensure animals welfare.

“Amendments for national level law are ready ... The bill will be tabled in the National Assembly during the next session [for debate and approval],” he continued.

Sufi said this was going to be “Pakistan’s first comprehensive animal welfare law” while pointing out the government would also encourage provinces to implement it in their respective territories as well.

He said that citizens would be able to report any act of cruelty toward animals through a hotline, noting that the offenders would face Rs5,000 to Rs15,000 fine along with jail term.

The head of the PM’s strategic reforms unit noted a standard set of guidelines was also going to be announced to regulate pet markets across the country, adding that violators would be fined and their shops could be closed.

Discussing other reforms, Sufi said the government was going to facilitate labourers and professionals who were planning to go abroad by abolishing the protectorate stamp.

“Our labourers and professionals will no more be required to visit the protectorate office physically,” he said. “They remit precious foreign exchange and it is the responsibility of the government and private sector to facilitate them.”