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Iran may ban keeping pets as ‘symbols of the West’

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

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Iran’s parliament is considering a bill that could introduce a virtual ban on keeping pets in the country, reports the BBC. If it is adopted, it will be possible to own animals only with special permission from the government commission. For the importation into Iran of any animals, up to rabbits and turtles, a fine of about $ 800 will be provided. They are considered a “symbol of Westernization” unacceptable for an eastern country.

According to the President of the Iranian Association of Veterinarians and an opponent of the bill, Dr. Payam Mohebi, the debate on this issue began more than a decade ago. Then the bill was not approved, although it was periodically returned to its discussion. However, against the background of the current strengthening of conservative sentiments in Iran, the bill may be approved in the near future.

The list of animals affected by the bill includes not only dogs, but also cats and many other species.

The BBC correspondent in Tehran also reports that cases of arrests for walking dogs in parks and other public places have increased in Iranian cities. Animals are confiscated from those arrested.

• Contrary to popular stereotype, the Qur’an does not forbid Muslims from keeping dogs if they are useful – for example, as guards or assistants in hunting. Muslim theologians consider dog saliva and hair ritually unclean and recommend keeping dogs not in the home, but in the yard. There is no ban on keeping other animals – cats, birds, hamsters, rabbits – in Islam. According to Muslim tradition, cats were the favorite animals of the Prophet Muhammad.

• Before the “Islamic revolution” in 1979, Iran was one of the most progressive countries in the east in terms of keeping pets. He was the first in the Middle East to pass animal protection laws; in 1948, the first state organization to monitor compliance with them appeared here. Even members of the royal family had dogs. One of the most popular cat breeds in the world – Persian – was bred in Iran (Persia). There is a museum in Tehran dedicated to the history of this breed.

Photo: Police officer in Iran issues a fine for transporting a dog in a car

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