WANT A BIG CAT? CHECK THE LAW FIRST

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - shoshana@7days.ae

In June 2016, the UAE Fed­eral Na­tional Coun­cil passed a draft law ban­ning the own­er­ship of ex­otic an­i­mals such as lions, tigers, apes and mon­keys. The draft awaits fi­nal ap­proval by UAE Pres­i­dent HH Shaikh Khal­ifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan be­fore it takes ef­fect. The draft law in­cludes tough penal­ties for of­fend­ers of up to life im­pris­on­ment and fines up to Dhs1 mil­lion. Pre­vi­ously, an­i­mals recog­nised un­der the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) could only be kept if own­ers were granted a li­cence from the UAE Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Wa­ter. The new law is meant to stop peo­ple from un­li­censed deal­ing and own­er­ship of all types of wild an­i­mals. Dr Sara El­liott said vets through­out the world have a pro­fes­sional obli­ga­tion to treat all species of rare an­i­mals, whether they are legally cer­ti­fied or not: “As a vet we are not po­lice. Our prime di­rec­tive is to elim­i­nate pain and suf­fer­ing, it is then to en­sure good health. It is the oath that we swear to treat the an­i­mal in event of an emer­gency first.”

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