Nov. 28, 2011
-- Beirut, Lebanon, 28 November, 2011 – National animal protection and welfare legislation took a step closer to reality as the campaign was launched today at the Parliament Building.
Under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Hussein Hajj Hassan, Minister of Agriculture, Animals Lebanon formally presented its draft legislation to the Minister and all Parliamentarians at the launching conference.
The draft was reviewed by over 20 international organizations including the World Animal Health Organization, and the campaign is being carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture.
"After receiving comments from experts around the world our draft is now complete, and this conference saw the law distributed to stakeholders in Lebanon and internationally,”
said Lana El-Khalil, President of Animals Lebanon. "After today no one can say 'we weren't aware' of this huge problem."
Unregulated zoos and pet shops exist throughout Lebanon, the smuggling of endangered species continues, quarantine and international trade regulations are often ignored. The draft would move Lebanon into being more compliant with the obligations of the World Animal Health Organization and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, as well as specifically addressing local issues such as stray animal control.
"There are many critical issues that Lebanon needs to address, but this does not mean we should simply choose to neglect or ignore the suffering which is going on around us," continued El-Khalil. "Animal welfare legislation existed in Lebanon since its independence nearly 70 years ago, and at that time Lebanon was recognized as a leader in the Middle East for animal welfare."
This draft has the potential to return Lebanon to this position and be compliant with international conventions. Animals Lebanon is now working to secure 25,000 signatures in support of this law and meeting individually with Parliamentarians, while cooperating with the Ministry of Agriculture to see the draft proceed as quickly as possible.
"Animals can feel, and that alone is enough reason to provide protection,"
El-Khalil said. "At the same time, this is about meeting international obligations, protecting local wildlife, and recognizing the real economic, social and health benefits that animal welfare laws bring about."