The Parliament of the Kurdistan Region, an autonomous region in Iraq, has passed its first animal protection law that protects both wild and domesticated animals from abuse. The new law, which is very progressive and rivals many animal protection laws in Western countries, prohibits all animal fighting, killing wild animals, and the killing of stray animals by any means (unless they pose “specific risks” to people and or other animals). Stray animals‘ populations will be controlled with “fertility control” performed by public veterinarians. Each province will secure some land dedicated to sheltering stray dogs.

The new law is based on Islamic law, similar legislation in the region and Europe, and the UK’s five freedoms relating to animal welfare: protection from hunger and thirst; discomfort; pain, injury or disease; the freedom to express normal behaviour, and freedom from fear and distress.

A new council will be created to oversee the preservation of biodiversity, to raise awareness of animal rights, and to regulate shelters and slaughterhouses. It will be composed of representatives from various relevant government entities as well as members of animal rights groups and will be overseen by the head of the Council of Ministers.

Greater Kurdistan is a geo-cultural territory in Western Asia wherein the Kurds form a prominent majority population. It roughly encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges. The Kurdistan nation is spread in different countries: Northern Kurdistan in southeastern Turkey, Southern Kurdistan in northern Iraq, Eastern Kurdistan in northwestern Iran, and Western Kurdistan in northern Syria. The Kurdistan region has been effectively autonomous since 1992 but was not granted political recognition until 2005. With this new law, the Iraqi part of Kurdistan may be leading all the others in terms of protecting animals, which perhaps may inspire the nations controlling the other three Kurdistans to follow suit. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.