Animal Law in Central Asia


September 22, 2020Lu Shegay

Animal law issues and legal instruments

At the moment, the legal protection of animals is non-existent in Central Asia, thus the main and most widespread issues remain animal abuse and cruel treatment of animals. As it was mentioned above, animal law does not exist in the countries of Central Asia, there is no Animal Welfare Act in any of those countries, and the only legal instrument concerning cruel treatment of animals are general laws. Those regulations are usually enshrined either in the Administrative Code or the Criminal Code*. Like in many other countries across the globe, animals in Central Asia are considered property, but the bigger problem is that they are not even recognized as sentient beings. It is commonly accepted that there is a link between domestic violence and animal abuse, this issue is especially widespread in Central Asia, but because of the culture people rarely report on this matter, thus animal abuse is reported in very exceptional cases.

Uzbekistan

With that being said, the only issue regarding animals that is governed by law is cruel treatment. In Uzbekistan, cruel treatment of animals is regulated only by Article 111 of the Administrative Code, where the action to be considered an offense shall cause either injury or torment, and this offense is punished by a fine in the amount of 1-3 basic calculated indexes (1 basic calculated index = 223 000 som = 21,63 US dollars). The same conduct committed repeatedly within a year after the application of a penalty and in the presence of a minor is punished by a fine in the amount of 3-5 basic calculated indexes or an arrest up to 15 days.

Tajikistan

Similarly in Tajikistan, cruelty to animals is regulated only by Article 277 of the Administrative Code . Its article, unlike other countries, protects cruelty to animals and birds, and it says that the cruel conduct to animals that causes their injury or serious harm, as well as torment of animals and birds, is punished by a warning or a fine in the amount of 3-5 calculated indexes (1 calculated index = 58 Tajikistani somoni = 5,61 US dollars).

Turkmenistan

Likewise in another Central Asian country, in Article 178 of the Administrative Code of Turkmenistan , cruelty to animals that causes their death, forced cut, or serious harm, as well as torment of animals, is punished by a warning or a fine in the amount of up to 0,5 basic indexes (1 basic index = 100 manat = 28,59 US dollars).

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is one of those two countries in Central Asia where cruelty to animals is enshrined in its Criminal Code. However, unlike Kazakhstan, which regulation would be discussed below, the Kyrgyz Republic clarifies the category of animals to whom the article would apply. Article 169 of the Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan states that cruel treatment of vertebrates that causes an animal’s death or injury and is committed with hooligan or mercenary intent and in the presence of a juvenile is punished by public work of the third degree, or deprivation of the right to hold certain positions, or engage in certain activities of the second degree, or a fine of the third degree.

Kazakhstan

The last country of Central Asia and the biggest country in that region is Kazakhstan that does not have the Animal Welfare Act as well, but stands on its development, regulates cruelty to animals on the level of a criminal offense. Article 316 of the Criminal Code says that a cruel act to animals, which caused their death or injury, if it is committed with hooligan motives or using sadistic methods or in the presence of juveniles is punished by a fine in the amount of up to 120 monthly calculated indexes (1 monthly calculated index = 2778 tenge = 6,56 US dollars), or disciplinary works or public works for up to 120 hours, or an arrest for up to 30 days. The same conduct committed by a group of people or repeatedly is punished by a fine in the amount of up to 200 monthly calculated indexes, or disciplinary works or public works for up to 200 hours, or an arrest for up to 50 days.

Should cruelty be treated as an administrative or criminal offense?

It is a controversial issue whether cruelty to animals should be regulated by the Administrative Code or impose criminal obligations. On one hand, a penalty for an administrative offense is easier to apply, especially from the articles of those countries that regulate cruel treatment of animals in their Administrative Codes. The action or omission should not have special conditions as it is described in the articles of the Criminal Code of the two last mentioned countries. The language of the Administrative Code is simple and any conduct that causes an animal serious harm or injury, as well as torment of animals can make one liable under the Administrative Code. However, because of the nature of administrative offenses, the penalty is almost non-existent. On the other hand, due to the seriousness of the problem with animal abuse around the world and particularly in the countries of Central Asia, the preventive method would be the stronger punishment where the criminal liability could take place. In the Criminal Code both of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, to be liable under the respective article it is required to have two conditions. The language of those articles is quite different, but the overall meaning requires the presence of juveniles and the intent/methods. Would one be criminally liable for cruelty only if the action is committed in the presence of juveniles? The Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan provides that it is enough to have one juvenile, while in Kazakhstan, the language of the article indicates the plural form of that word, meaning that there should be more than one “spectator.” With regard to intent/methods, it too becomes hard to prove that the intent was hooligan or mercenary, moreover, Kazakhstani Criminal Code does not provide the meaning of “sadistic methods,” which makes it more difficult to apply the article.

There are a few non-profit organizations that are aimed at the protection of animals and their mission is to grow responsible and humane attitude towards animals. But awareness about all possible threats animals receive remains unknown to a lot of communities. This blog mentioned only the main existing problem in Central Asia regarding animals, which is cruelty to mostly domestic animals. Each of the above mentioned countries have laws on the usage, protection, and reproduction of fauna, but none of the countries regulate and impose obligations on the conduct of abuse to animals in agriculture, animals in captivity and entertainment, aquatic animals, animals in laboratories, etc. Countries of Central Asia, except Turkmenistan, are parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


*Codes follow the Constitution in the hierarchy of sources of law

Should cruelty be treated as an administrative or criminal offense?

It is a controversial issue whether cruelty to animals should be regulated by the Administrative Code or impose criminal obligations. On one hand, a penalty for an administrative offense is easier to apply, especially from the articles of those countries that regulate cruel treatment of animals in their Administrative Codes. The action or omission should not have special conditions as it is described in the articles of the Criminal Code of the two last mentioned countries. The language of the Administrative Code is simple and any conduct that causes an animal serious harm or injury, as well as torment of animals can make one liable under the Administrative Code. However, because of the nature of administrative offenses, the penalty is almost non-existent. On the other hand, due to the seriousness of the problem with animal abuse around the world and particularly in the countries of Central Asia, the preventive method would be the stronger punishment where the criminal liability could take place. In the Criminal Code both of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, to be liable under the respective article it is required to have two conditions. The language of those articles is quite different, but the overall meaning requires the presence of juveniles and the intent/methods. Would one be criminally liable for cruelty only if the action is committed in the presence of juveniles? The Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan provides that it is enough to have one juvenile, while in Kazakhstan, the language of the article indicates the plural form of that word, meaning that there should be more than one “spectator.” With regard to intent/methods, it too becomes hard to prove that the intent was hooligan or mercenary, moreover, Kazakhstani Criminal Code does not provide the meaning of “sadistic methods,” which makes it more difficult to apply the article.

There are a few non-profit organizations that are aimed at the protection of animals and their mission is to grow responsible and humane attitude towards animals. But awareness about all possible threats animals receive remains unknown to a lot of communities. This blog mentioned only the main existing problem in Central Asia regarding animals, which is cruelty to mostly domestic animals. Each of the above mentioned countries have laws on the usage, protection, and reproduction of fauna, but none of the countries regulate and impose obligations on the conduct of abuse to animals in agriculture, animals in captivity and entertainment, aquatic animals, animals in laboratories, etc. Countries of Central Asia, except Turkmenistan, are parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


*Codes follow the Constitution in the hierarchy of sources of law

➦ Share