Islamabad: Pakistani authorities and the global animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), will work together to modernise veterinary and biomedical research, training for the protection of animals and protecting wildlife.
“We look forward to a long and productive collaboration that will benefit animals, advance human health, and boost Pakistan’s status on the world stage,” PETA said in its statement. The partnership on critical reforms in biomedical research and training will both spare animals’ lives and benefit human patients.
The animal rights advocacy group said it will be sending follow-up information to the head of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Strategic Reforms Unit, Salman Sufi, for his consideration in implementing other reforms including replacing the use of animals in medical training, classroom dissection exercises, and biomedical research with superior, state-of-the-art methods, and also setting up a national non-animal research methods database and working to implement PETA’s Research Modernisation Deal in Pakistan.
The development came after Pakistan last month announced its first comprehensive animal welfare law which includes punishments for animal cruelty crimes and bans testing and surgeries on live animals.
Shalin Gala, vice president of PETA, praised the country for introducing “landmark reforms” that will “ban tests and surgeries on live animals for veterinary education and result in a shift to sophisticated, humane methods.”
The reforms include harsher punishments for animal cruelty crimes. The offenders now face a Rs15,000 ($65) fine and jail term. Citizens would be able to report any act of cruelty toward animals through a hotline 1819 in Islamabad’s capital territory.
Most importantly, testing and surgeries on live animals have been banned at veterinary schools and industrial complexes in Islamabad under animal welfare law. A standard set of guidelines and regulations for pet markets would also be announced. The federal government has urged provincial governments to also enact the law.
• Ban on all live animal testing
• Report cruelty against animals at 1819 in Islamabad
• Shooting and poisoning animals banned
• Pet shop regulations and standards
• Rs.5,000-15,000 along with a jail term for animal cruelty offenders.
The reforms have been announced after widespread outrage in Pakistan over videos that went viral in May showing animals in states of distress after allegedly being operated upon by veterinary students. Protests were also held in Islamabad by animal lovers and rescue organizations against brutal and inhumane surgeries on dogs at veterinary universities.