Create Animal Welfare & Protection Laws In Kurdistan Iraq

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The world can be a cruel place, not just because of the evil committed but because of those who turn away and do nothing.

Since the early years of the existence of humanity, the role of the animals can be considered as one of the factors that have greatly shaped human culture. 

The contribution of the animals to society is of much importance as it has generously benefited mankind since the beginning of time. Animals have always been a source of food, clothing, and subservient workforce for humankind. These animals have also taken part in the religious customs, either for religious sacrifices or worshiping, done way back the earliest times. Moreover, People have been long been reliant on their unique contributions to balance out nature and the much needed companionship that they provide. Truly, animals have taken an influential part in the continuous struggle of mankind.

Animals are living beings and just like humans, they breath, they feel, and they think, animals just like humans have souls. And for people to make any kind of an excuse to say animals are ‘’just’’ animals is due to a lack of education and a lack of moral progress. We humans are animals too, we are just a different type of species. We humans are supposedly the more intelligent and advanced of the species but many times I do question this. 

We humans have no right to harm living beings simply because we can and because there are no consequences!  As the more ‘’advance’  being, we as human should protect those that cannot defend themselves. But sadly this is more than often not the case as there are multi millions of homeless animals worldwide and animals are suffering all over the world, enduring unspeakable suffering, and unfortunately we cannot put an end to all the suffering in the world, but each and every one of us can make a world of difference. 

Every day animals are fighting for their lives, they are enslaved, beaten, and kept in chains to make them perform for humans’ “entertainment”; they are mutilated and confined to tiny cages so that we can kill them and eat them; they are burned, blinded, poisoned, and cut up alive in the name of “science”; they are electrocuted, strangled, and skinned alive so that people can parade around in fur coats; and much worse. 

Kurdistan Iraq being a great land, of a great civilisation with deep culture and history. Kurdistan and Iraq as a nation have endured decades of heinous wars and suffering and it was not long ago when Kurdistan was living in fear under a regime of terror from a merciless dictator, subjected to inhumane methods of torture and refused rights as living beings. A life of pain and bloodshed, instability and trauma, and many civilians have been born into the brutalities of war. 

Since the end of the brutal regime Kurdistan has come a long way but the welfare of powerless living creatures continue to be dis-regarded, animals are mis-treated and forced to a life of misery and anguish, from strays such as dogs, cats and even donkeys and horses - to those captive in the horrendous contains of the disgraceful ‘zoos of Kurdistan. I often wonder if decades of war in the country has desensitised a nation for the treatment of innocent animals to be so brutal.

Many people often argue in that humans need help and are ignored in our country to even pay attention to animal rights and welfare, which is viewed as a secondary and lower issue and some even mock the idea of animal rights. Often I argue that humans have a voice to speak their minds and that humans cause the suffering in the world, but innocent animals cannot voice their pain and advocate themselves, therefore it is our duty to do so!!! Over the years, animal abuse has increased an unbelievable amount and nothing has been done to stop this, despite the relentless efforts of animal lovers all around Kurdistan Iraq. The abuse animals suffer at human hands is heartbreaking, sickening, and infuriating. On a daily basis in Kurdistan and Iraq animals are tortured and beaten, lose their life in some of the most inhumane methods, suffer from bad living conditions and psychological harm in the form of torment and terror and the list goes on and on about how cruel, we are to animals in this country.  

What makes this worse is that it has simply just become a ‘’norm’’  the merciless killing sprees of those innocent animals continue and are even encouraged by the authorities and local councils who on a regular basis set out and kill stray animals either by shooting them onsite or by poisoning them which causes a slow and painful death. The alarming problem leading to cruelty and abuse is common in Kurdistan Iraq is the inherent lack of understanding and awareness.

The stray dogs and cats of Kurdistan Iraq have no chance of a loving home, these strays are denied a right to live in peace, they endure cruelty/ abuse from kids and adults alike. This barbaric every day behaviour has been made  normalised to treat animals this way and it really is time to put an end to this brutality. Do they not have equal rights to this land as you and I ? Or just because these animals are ‘’different’’ we should persecute them? How does this make us any different from the Saddam Hussein regime?

There is a sad stigma associated to dogs in Kurdistan, they are regarded as dirty and seen as pests from the start of their lives, often hit by cars and left for dead - most of them do not die instantly so you can only imagine their pain and terror. Not long ago on RUDAW News there was a report on a driver who had tied a dog by rope to the back of the moving vehicle was an intended and horrific end to a life, the driver was charged 40,000 dinars which is around $30. Is that the price of a life? A soul? Is this the value of living beings in this country? 

Then there are the animals ( often cats and dogs ) stoned to death by local children as though it were a game, and lets not forget the adults who poison and shoot these innocent creatures. Beaten to death just for the sake of it and because there are no legal consequences this abusive behaviour continues. Many stray cats and dogs if not killed by the hands of humans often die of starvation and illness - causes slow traumatic deaths.  Stray cats and dogs are often sick and weak. It is heart breaking driving by and seeing stray animals struggle and the worst part is this has become a normal sight. There many people in Kurdistan who are not happy with the treatment of these animals and show their support in ending this but that seems to not be enough because this scenery has become a normal part of the scenery and this is not normal! 

Then there are the businessmen who trade lives for profit, the disgraceful pet-shops in Kurdistan is enough to make you weep for weeks, defenceless animals caged up in the most atrocious conditions, many of them imports from abroad to yet again face a life of misery. Many of them are sickly and weak, depressed and distressed which visible through their constant pacing up and down in the tiny space they call home, while some of them just sit lethargic waiting to die it would appear. The pet-shops not only contain domestic pets but also exotic animals such as monkeys, and baby tigers and lions. Most of the animals eat and defecate in the same area and anyone with any knowledge would know this is not natural in the animal kingdom as much as it is in the human kingdom. The animals in the pet-stores are for profit, so feeding them the minimal until they are sold to avoid their expenses. 

Privately owned zoos by heartless businessmen who have no compassion or consideration for the well-being of the lives they have caged up! The sole objective is financial reward. The zoo owners are businessmen and the animals are nothing but a means of generating money, despite some intervention their lack of interest in improving the living conditions is a dishonour to humanity. The exotic animals you see held captive in the disgraceful zoo, such as Bnslaw Taza Haware Zoo - animals are smuggled in and the methods adopted by smugglers to pass the exotic and wild-life through the borders undetected is remorseless, and many times the animals face a painful demise on the long brutal journey. Often the animals are bought in as infants, drugged and gagged and stuffed into packaging to avoid detection. The un-lucky ones that survive the journey  alive more than frequently arrive ill to face a life of misery in their new homes under a reign of cruelty ZOO HELL in a country where animals and their welfare simply doesn’t count or matter to those who are in a position of power. 

The zoo, often visited by children, and what do you think the hell hole zoo is teaching children? It is teaching them that is is ‘’OK’’ to treat animals in this cruel manner, it is teaching these children that ‘’life’’ has no worth, that animals are simply here to be treated cruelly and there are no consequences. 

We take animals out of their natural environment and away from the natural order, and imprison them, abuse them and make them suffer, all for what ? For profit? Surely humanity is supposed to have progressed but when I see the state of the pet-stores and the zoo/s I question humanities moral progress by all means! 

Animal Rights Activists have been long concerned with Kurdistan cruel zoo conditions, some pitiful attempts were made to ‘improve’ the conditions, for instance the old Erbil Zoo near the Sheraton was moved to Bnslawa ( out of sight to the expats) now called Taza Hawre Zoo. Despite the move the conditions and distress of the animals still remain and have worsened as the animals have aged in the prison they call home.  These distressed animals are put on display 365 days a year in bad conditions, often no water, no food. 

The animals are lethargic, and lay half dead in the blazing heat or the bitter cold winters, a sickening feeling of disgust overcomes as you enter this disturbing sad atmosphere, grim, grey cold concrete CAGES welcome you containing distressed animals going out of their minds, which appear to be mis-treated in tiny concrete cages usually full of rotten food, and rubbish; wrappers, plastic bottles and even cigarette butts, though the zoo ‘owner’’ and workers do not seem at all bothered. I once asked the zoo owner ( Mr Khalil of Bnslawa Taza Haware Zoo ) about the animals feeding, he said ‘’there is no money, the government need to pay us’’ But surely this is a privately owned business which charges visitors an entrance fee, what does this have to do with the government? More so to do with their lack of moral empathy. 

The SMALL filthy CAGES do not mimic their natural surroundings at all, there are no comforts, leaves, grass or even a tree log, NOTHING , the  grief and severe discomfort these animals are suffering from is clearly visible, for it shows in their eyes and unusual behaviour, mind numbing boredom combined with ill treatment is enough to induce insanity even among the strongest man on Earth. The psychological distress and mental health is very visible as the animals pace up and down, up and down.

And to make matters even worse the zoo contains domesticated cats and dogs, foxes and other species. I saw with my own eyes a cat and her new borns which were no more than a couple of weeks old, laying in the blistering heat in concrete and there was not an ounce of water in her cage, housed next to a domesticated dog which appears to be a German Shepherd. The animals all stare at you desperately and you can see their cries for help, the feeling of helplessness is gut ripping!


Help us change the lives of Kurdistan Iraq animals, sign this petition, email Kurdistan Prime Minister, and write/ email the Kurdish Regional Government in your country and politely express how you feel about the way the Kurdistan Iraq treatment of animals.

Kurdistan Iraq  is a beautiful land, wealthy in culture and history, but many animals live in oppression and we need your help to raise awareness and help shed light on those animals who are suffering in misery. 

We need an animal welfare and protection law in Kurdistan to help protect all species from abuse and mis-treatment and exploitation.

For more images/ videos please see our page

Azhall Dowsty Kurdistan NGO

Animal Friends Of Kurdistan NGO