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Target: Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey
Goal: Redraft cruel amendment that calls for the placement of thousands of stray animals in a ‘natural park,’ leading to their neglect and starvation
The people of Turkey fear a new amendment to animal protection law, deemed the ‘murder law’ by animal activists, will lead to the mistreatment and eventual anguishing death of thousands of stray animals. This amendment calls for the placement of stray animals in a ‘natural park,’ located on the outskirts of the city, until they are adopted. It is a major concern of the public that this amendment solely creates an environment that will cater to the government’s inclination to rid the country of stray animals.
This amendment will also dictate the number of pets allowed in a household and recommend the termination of so-called ‘dangerous breeds.’ The Ministry of Forest and Water Management, the government ministry office responsible for the environmental and forestry related affairs in Turkey, will decide, using certain factors including the heath and safety of people or other animals, the environment, and the needs of the breed. Some residents fear they will be forced to give up their own cherished pet.
Further fueling the adverse reactions to the proposed amendment is Turkey’s sordid past with stray dogs. Dating back to 1910, in an attempt to modernize Istanbul, over 40,000 stray dogs were gathered and shipped out to an uninhabited island. Residents could hear their howling for months until they eventually starved to death. In modern times, according to animal rights activists, thousands of stray dogs are fed poisoned meat in an attempt to keep their population down. Even as recently as 2011, more than 100 dogs were rounded up and brought to the forest by Municipal officials and later poisoned. Officials think nothing of the lives of these stray animals, making it difficult to trust that, with this new amendment, the government has their best interest in mind.
In Turkey, and especially Istanbul, people have formed a community with the stray animals, assimilating them into their every day life. It is quite common for store or restaurant owners to feed and care for multiple strays at a time–the locals will often share food scraps or leave out bowls of milk.
These ‘natural parks’ are allegedly an alternative placement for stray dogs and cats when shelters are full. Officials maintain the animals will be well-cared for, but the citizens of Turkey do not believe it. Some even going as far as to say these ‘natural parks’ will end up resembling ‘concentration camps.’ Please sign the petition to stop the ‘murder law’ from going into effect.
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