On 1st August 2023, Funda Bayrı, a 73-year-old animal rights activist, was arrested in Turkey over sharing images on social media of people abusing animals. Bayarı is the chair of the Aegean Animal Rights Federation, and she faces a total of three years and four months in prison on the charges of “obtaining or disseminating personal data.” 

Her lawyer stated she would be in prison for at least a month even if their objections were accepted. The lawyer added, “Unfortunately, the laws are insufficient to protect animal rights defenders as they are insufficient to protect street animals.” 

In 2021, the Turkish parliament passed a landmark law that defined animals as “living beings” and made animal abuse a crime punishable between six months and four years in prison, but as sentences less than two years are usually deferred in Turkey, most animal abusers avoid jail. This is why animal rights activists expose them on social media to warn the public about who they are. 

Under that law, Imprisonment of 1 to 5 years was set for the person who kills an animal that is in danger of extinction, 5 to 10 years for the person who destroys an animal, 6 months to 4 years for the person who intentionally kills an animal, 6 months to 3 years and a judicial fine of not less than 100 days for the person who sexually assaults or rapes animals, and 6 months to 3 years for anyone who tortures or cruelly treats an animal. In case the crimes regulated in the article are committed against more than one animal at the same time, the penalty will be increased by half. 

Jordi Casamitjana
“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’.