Turkey's AK Party submits animal rights bill

By Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's Justice and Development (AK) Party on Thursday submitted a long-awaited bill on animal rights to the Parliament's Speaker Office.

Under the bill, “animals will no longer be seen as products, but as life," Mahir Unal, the party's deputy parliamentary group chair, told reporters in parliament.

Also under the bill, the sale of cats and dogs by pet shops will be banned, he said.

Unal also said land-based and water circuses and dolphin parks will be prohibited.

"Cat and dog owners will be required to have digital IDs, and their abandonment will face sanctions," he said.

The bill is expected to be debated next week by parliament's Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Affairs Committee.

On June 8, AK Party spokesman Omer Celik told reporters that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing for the law’s passage.