The United Arab Emirates Ban Ownership of Exotic Animals as Pets
Owning exotic animals, especially dangerous exotic animals, is considered as a status symbol among those living in the UAE and other places. Alongside luxurious cars and extravagant houses, these exotic animals like lions, cheetahs and tigers, were a way for people to show off their newly found wealth among their peers.
It’s not a good idea to judge people who do these sort of things since this “showing off” draws its roots from a past trauma the entire society went through in the past. We can just be glad that it’s over, and those poor big cats don’t need to suffer or be held captive anymore; at least in the United Arab Emirates.
In the past, the UAE was quite loose with the laws and regulations it had in regards with wildlife. There were significant dangers when it came to “domesticating” these exotic animals, even if some cheetahs were considered as such in the nation. Not to mention the fact that many of these animals were caught in the wild and were not bred in captivity.
Known as the Law on Regulation of Ownership of Dangerous Animals, this new rule prohibits any person from owning a big cat and that “only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research centres are entitled to keep wild or exotic animals.” Now, even though many wildlife institutions in the UAE have questionable or inadequate conditions for keeping these animals, this new law is a definite victory and a step in the right direction. This law stands to show just how many benefits social and economic stability over a relatively prolonged period of time, can have on a society.
The handling and trade of these exotic animals, not only posed a serious risk to the civilians but also on the animals themselves, some of which are on the endangered species list. Fortunately, however, this trade can no longer take place in the UAE. The regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Dubai, Elsayed Mohamed, said in an interview:
“We welcome and congratulate the UAE Government in taking this important initiative, which we wish to be a milestone for the rest of the countries, not just in the region, but also in the world.”
Now, like with every other new law in the world, the biggest problem will come when enforcing it. The penalties for a civilian when taking one such exotic animal out in public will be 6 months in jail as well as a $2,500 fine. Likewise, if one such animal attacks or even kills another person, its owner will be faced with jail time anywhere from 3 years to a life sentence.