The EU Delegation to Turkmenistan organizes an online campaign in support of animal rights

ASHGABAT — The European Union Delegation to Turkmenistan says it has conducted an online campaign for animal rights in Turkmenistan. The campaign coincided with the adoption of the law “On dog breeding and cynological activities”. The law prohibits cruelty to dogs and has been well received by the general public.

From August 1 to 10, the EU Delegation to Turkmenistan encouraged its social media followers to post photos and videos showing love and care for animals. The campaign was covered by local media and received positive reviews from the general public.

“Our goal was to show that caring for animals makes people kinder and better. We also aim to show support for the passage of the new “Dog Breeding and Cynological Activities” law as a first step towards establishing a stray animal policy. Our pets and animals are sentient beings rather than property. It is essential to show children from an early age that taking care of pets and being kind to all animals should be part of our daily lives. Animal welfare and the development of a humane policy on stray animals are the responsibility of the state. Caring for animals is part of the life of any healthy community,” said Renata Wrobel, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the EU Delegation to Turkmenistan.

The campaign ended with a visit to animal sanctuaries in the town of Annau, about a 40-minute drive south-west of Ashgabat, where the EU delegation, the Society for the Protection of Nature and a group of volunteers delivered food and medicine to the animals residing at the shelters.

“Arassa penje” and “Podari mne zhizn” are two of the few animal shelters that operate throughout the territory of Turkmenistan and have the capacity to accommodate hundreds of animals at the same time. To date, “Arassa penje” is home to 450 animals and “Podari mne zhizn” is home to 70 dogs and 12 cats.

Turkmenistan has long been criticized for systematically culling stray animals through barbaric methods, RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service reported recently.

The Turkmen government passed the Animal Cruelty Prohibition Law on July 25. Local activists, however, called the law “hypocritical” given what has been practiced and said Turkmen authorities were unlikely to comply any time soon.

Turkmenistan has been criticized for its long-standing practice of exterminating dogs and cats by poisoning them, beating them to death, starving them to death or killing them by refusing to give them water.

Municipal authorities often bribe local teenagers to feed poisoned sausages or bread to stray dogs and cats in order to kill them, RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service reported citing animal rights activists.

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