A new draft law will enable courts to jail for up to 4.5 years all those found guilty of killing and torturing both pet animals and stray animals, daily Milliyet reported on Jan. 10.
People found guilty of killing endangered animal species will be given up to seven years in jail, according to the new draft.
The Justice Ministry reportedly prepared the draft, formed of 27 articles, after a number of recent media reports on mistreatment of animals.
The ministry has sent the draft to related ministry departments across Turkey and demanded that their opinions be expressed within 30 days.
According to the changes, people found guilty of killing and torturing animals will be punished with jail terms of between four months and three years. If suspects have harmed more than one animal, their sentence could be increased to 4.5 years.
People found guilty of killing or torturing endangered animal species will be given between three and seven years in jail, according to the new draft.
People who have forced animals to fight will be given between two months and two years in jail, according to the draft.
On Jan. 9, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Gülay Yedekçi requested parliament put forward a special bill to protect animals.
Yedekçi said violence against animals had increased in Turkey in recent years because current punishments are not sufficient deterrents.
She also stated that the name of the law should be changed, adding that animals should not be considered as “property” by law anymore.
“The provisions of the present law are not sufficient. The legal rights of all living creatures must be recognized. With this law proposal we want animal rights to be secured. The right to life for animals also needs to be defined legally,” Yedekçi added.