Petition Closed

Qatar stop the animal cruelty - Please URGENTLY act on promises to improve conditions in animal/pet section at Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar.

This petition had 9,962 supporters

Despite the improvement in cleanliness, neatness, less overcrowding, less dogs and cats, there are still specific stores in Souq Waqif that continue to blatantly abuse dogs, cats and other small mammals as well as import BANNED and ENDANGERED ANIMALS.  There is an overwhelming amount of wild animals being kept as pets such as Lions, Chimpanzees and Cheetahs.  The public are appalled and shocked that this is still allowed to continue despite The Department of Animal Resources stating that the Animal Souq is essentially meant to be a “bird market”.  The vendors are NOT permitted to sell dogs, cats, reptiles, small mammals excluding rabbits or any other wild, exotic or endangered animal species.  The Vendors are permitted by law to sell BIRDS, FISH and RABBITS ONLY. 

The PRIVATE ENGINEERING OFFICE (in charge of Souq Waqif) need to take some responsibility for this situation and start upholding the laws of the country.  

This petition and it's supporters, both local and expatriate will continue to raise awareness of the cruelty that takes place daily in the alley ways of the famous Souq Waqif of Qatar until something is done.

As residents and tourists of Qatar, we are extremely disturbed and concerned about the welfare of animals in the pet section at Souq Waqif.  We love to visit the Souq but get distressed when coming across the animal section. We are especially concerned about the effect this is having on the education of our future generation and the negetive effect on Qatar Tourism.

We would like to bring this to your attention in the hope that you will be able to implement laws and regulations to improve the conditions and so add to the already existing beauty and ambience of a land mark tourist destination that can make us proud.

Qatar is a flourishing country that provides immense opportunities for all it's residents.  We have the financial capabilities and knowledge at our disposal to create a fantastic, well controlled pet trading environment. 

All animals have the ability to suffer in the same way and to the same degree that humans do. They feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and motherly love. 

Whenever we consider doing something that would interfere with their needs, we are morally obligated to take them into account.

The following report is an outline of some of the disturbing behaviours and practices being carried out at the Souq over the past few years and sadly are still being practiced today.

Most of the animals are housed in unsuitable cages and fed a nutrient deficient diet and wrong diet for species.  They are dehydrated from lack of access to fresh water and may be infected with disease and parasites.  This is a health hazard not only to the production animals in Qatar, but also potentially to the visitors.

The following events have personally been witnessed or experienced by visitors to the Souq and we would like to bring this to your urgent attention.


REPTILES such as: Turtles, Tortoises, Iguanas

Reptiles carry SALMONELLA which is a bacterium that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps in humans, it is caught from water that contains faecal matter.  Children are allowed to touch them without supervision and could get infected easily.

They also carry BOTULISM, which is a serious and life-threatening illness caused by a toxin released by the Clostridium bacterium that causes paralysis and death in humans. Babies under the age of 1 year are particularly susceptible to this infection and can die from exposure.

Children, especially under the age of 5 years should not be allowed to handle any reptile without adequate supervision and without disinfecting their hands afterwards.

Tortoises can live from 50 to 100 years of age and are a long term commitment as a pet.

The temperature of the water is so high at times the turtles cannot survive in it.  They are also unable to climb out of it as most of the time the tank or container is overcrowded.

Iguanas are weak, pale and unhealthy.  They are living in crowded and unsanitary conditions. 

The Iguanas are not able to shed their skin properly and have many bruises, cuts, and injuries on their bodies.

Dead iguanas lie in the cages for days before they are discovered/removed. 

An iguana can grow up to 2 metres in size and are not suitable pets for children. When fully grown they are unpredictable, bite and use their tails as weapons. This information should be given to buyers.

Reptiles require temperature and UV light controlled housing and a specially formulated diet in order for them to remain healthy and survive, or at least be able to move out of the heat into a shaded area at will in order to regulate their own body temperature.

SMALL MAMMALS such as: Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Chipmunks, Sugar Gliders, Squirrels and Hamsters

These animals are very sensitive and are left in the summer heat or cold winter wind without any cover.

They are subjected to loud noises and when they are not active the vendors will bang on the cages or poke them with sticks to make them move.  This causes severe emotional damage and fear of humans as well as injuries.

They all display signs of stress aggravated by their poor diet.

Hamsters are kept in dirty cages and often dead animals are left unnoticed.

Rabbits are especially subjected to rough and careless handling, they are dropped on the floor by visitors and children squeeze them to hard. 

Rabbits’ bones are very brittle, they can snap with very little pressure applied to them.  Once a bone is broken it cannot be treated, leaving the animal in severe pain.

They are left unattended on unprotected tables where they can easily fall onto the ground and get injured.

Dead rabbits are found lying in the cages.

Rabbits that are infected with distemper are not given veterinary attention; they are left to die in an unattended cage at the back of a store.

Rabbits are coloured with dyes to make them more appealing to customers. This causes people to buy on impulse because the rabbit is cute but children can soon lose interest once the animal grows bigger.

Squirrels, chipmunks and sugar gliders require specialised housing, diet and care; vendors do not educate the buyers at all regarding this.

These sensitive creatures are highly stressed and display frantic behaviour often hurting themselves in the cage.


One of the largest and most dangerous monkeys in the world. 

They are kept in dark corners of the stores and subjected to harsh treatment by store owners to make them weak.  Then they are dressed in diapers like human babies and are sold as pets. 

These baboons can live up to 30 years and are extremely dangerous and vicious if provoked.  Some have escaped and have run free around the streets of Doha.  If cornered they will attack a human.

BIRDS: African Grey parrots/Macaws/Cockatoos/Budgies/Cockatiels/Canaries etc.

All the birds are kept in overcrowded conditions.

The smaller birds are infected with parasites and die very easily.  Every morning the dead birds are thrown out with the trash. This situation is a health hazard and potentially could cause disease outbreaks in Qatar.

Scaly face mites are quite contagious and if left untreated, other birds will succumb to the disease.

Certain wild and exotic species of birds that are not naturally kept as domestic pets are forced to live in cages which cause then severe distress.

The larger birds are confined to small cages and they suffer body and wing damage as well as parasite infestation.

The nutrient deficient diet results in them being weak and unhealthy.

Some birds show their distress by pulling out their feathers or trying to bite.  Others are so weak that they don’t respond at all, just sleep all day.

Birds’ wings are clipped to stop them from flying away.  Often this is done incorrectly and those birds that are on display hurt themselves if they try to fly because they cannot control their landing.


Chicks and ducklings are handled roughly and are exposed to extreme temperatures without fresh water or food causing them to die easily.

Chicks are coloured with dyes to make them more appealing to customers.

Children play with them until they die and then they are thrown out with the trash.  They are treated like cheap, disposable toys that are bought on impulse because they are cute.


Dogs and cats are all from questionable origins with no record of import available, record of vaccination or treatment for parasite infestation. 

Banned breed dogs like PITBULL cross are also sold here.

Vendors admit to selling feral street cats that have been captured. Recently a feral female who gave birth to a litter of kittens in the store and she then killed one of the kittens.  This dead kitten was discovered by a 7 year old child which caused her severe distress.

Dogs and cats are kept in bare wire cages exposed to the elements.  Scorching high temperatures in summer and cold winds in winter which cause the already overloaded immune systems to fail and the animals die.

Puppies have not been weaned; they are removed from their mothers prematurely so they can be sold. They are still unable to control their own body temperature and some suck on the wire cage in an effort to get nutrients and comfort.

Some puppies were so desperate for water they were witnessed continually licking the dry bowl in an effort to satisfy their thirst.

The distress of the animals is very clear; most of the cages have been chewed in an attempt to escape. 

If the dogs bark or make too much noise the vendors bang the cages with sticks to make them quiet. 

They are all denied adequate food and water as the vendors do not want them to mess in the cages or dirty their fur.

The animals are washed every morning and left dripping wet in the wind to dry or dirty disease infected rags and towels are used to wipe away pus from the eyes and diarrhoea around the rear end.  Once dry the vendors will dust them down with baby powder to improve their smell and appeal. 

Those animals that are sick are forced to swallow human cough medicine to hide the symptoms.

In dogs the infection rate of CANINE DISTEMPER, PARVOVIRUS, INTESTINAL PARASITES or FUNGAL INFECTIONS (fungal infections are highly contagious to humans), and EAR MITES, is high and the potential for disease outbreaks is massive, this could potentially be catastrophic if a disease like RABIES was to break out and be masked by all the other sick animals in the Souq.

Cats are mostly infected with FELINE DISTEMPER, HERPES VIRUS, FUNGAL INFECTIONS (fungal infections are highly contagious to humans) and very commonly EAR MITES.

TOXOPLASMOSIS is also a threat, it can be passed from cat to person, and it’s especially dangerous for pregnant women. An infected human foetus or baby can be still born, miscarried or the baby could develop epilepsy, brain damage, water on the brain, jaundice, eye infections, reduced vision, cerebral palsy or growth problems.

These cat diseases are even more of threat to Qatar due to the large number of feral cats around the Souq and all over the country.  If these diseases get out into the feral population, the few SAND CATS in the wild could be wiped out, this would be very serious for Qatar.

All intestinal parasites can be treated very simply and at little cost.  Since they are not treated at the Souq, they can be transferred to humans very easily, especially children.

All of this could be prevented by vaccination and a veterinary consultation before the animals are put out for sale and regular checks and monitoring of the animals at the Souq, done randomly.

Those dogs and cats that are purchased often die within a few days to a week, resulting in extremely high veterinary bills and very unhappy customers.

The level of suffering for these animals is intense and it is all due to vendors that are careless and lazy and/or uneducated.


Most vendors have little or no education on how to care correctly for animals. 

Care sheets and best practice standards should be handed out to all vendors and people buying these animals.

Most vendors do not know the location of the Government Vet Clinic.  Those that do know the location of the Government Vet Clinic say they do not have the transport or the time to take the animals there for treatment.

Most of the vendors react aggressively when visitors ask them to feed or give water to the animals.

Vendors are known for supplying false information and documents with regard to an animal’s origins and state of health.

Vendors show no sympathy to customers who return with dead or sick animals between 24hours and 1 week after purchase.

Schools take their children on educational excursions to the animal section and expose them to people that show no mercy or intelligence towards the animals.  This is a very poor and sad example to share with them.

Animals surely deserve to live their lives free from suffering and exploitation.

We have an obligation as parents and educators to teach our children compassion and caring for the animals in our environment and in our country, Qatar.


Today: R is counting on you

R S needs your help with “The cruelty has to stop somewhere! HELP our Animal Souq!”. Join R and 9,961 supporters today.