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Ban purchase of wild animals, says Kuwait lawmaker

Move by lawmakers follows maid's death after lion attack

Image Credit: Kuwait Times
A Filipina domestic helper died in Kuwait five days after she was mauled by a lion kept by her employer as a pet. Lourdes Abejuela at the Kuwait hospital.

Manama: Five Kuwaiti lawmakers are pushing for the enactment of a law that incriminates purchasing, selling or dealing in wild animals.

MPs Kamel Al Awadhi, Adnan Abdul Samad, Ahmad Al Qudhaibi, Ahmad Al Azmi and Rakan Al Nisf suggested that violators be jailed for six months or fined KD20,000, or both.

Exceptions should be decided by the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) and should be limited to individuals, circuses and animal zoos, the bill said.

The move by the lawmakers follows the tragic death of a Filipina domestic helper who was mauled by a lion kept by her sponsor.

Lourdes Hingco Abejuela died on December 10 at a hospital in Kuwait days after she was attacked by the wild animal.

Her employer had initially claimed that the wounds were afflicted by a dog and the medical staff reportedly treated her, but failed to keep her under observation, allowing her to go home.

However, her situation deteriorated and she was taken again to hospital where she died.

Kuwaiti authorities apprehended the employer who admitted that Lourdes had been mauled by a lion he kept at home, and launched an investigation into the behaviour of the hospital medical staff.

In Manila, Vice President Jejomar Binay said a case for criminal negligence resulting in homicide had been filed by the Philippine government against the employer.

“Consul General Raul Dado informed me they already filed a case against the employer and the Philippine embassy in Kuwait is doing everything to repatriate the body as soon as possible,” Binay, who is also presidential assistant on overseas Filipino affairs, said.

“I have asked our embassy and the other agencies of government to work together so we can provide all the help to the family.”

Keeping wild animals and exotic pets at home in some Gulf countries has turned into a fashion statement among the young and rich who see rearing them as a status symbol.

In September last year, a Kuwaiti man averted a possible tragedy when he succeeded in luring a runaway lion roaming the streets into his car before calling the police.