Animal Law in Israel, Qatar,
and the United Arab Emirates

March 19, 2021Zihao Yu


Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It includes Anatolia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Mesopotamia, the Levant region, the island of Cyprus, the Sinai Peninsula, and partly Transcaucasia.

However, there is no "correct" or generally agreed-upon definition for West Asia, and terms such as Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean, and Near East are also widely used. According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), West Asian countries only include Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Palestine (called West Bank and Gaza in the latter), Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE, and Yemen. According to National Graphic, West Asia generally includes the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Syria, and Turkey, though it may be stretched to include Afghanistan and Pakistan, and even Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Cyprus. According to FAO, West Asia includes countries and areas of Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Gaza Strip, Georgia, Iran (the Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, West Bank, and Yemen. The Economic Commission for Western Asia of United Union (UN ESCWA) comprises 20 Arab countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, the State of Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

This article will cover animal law in Israel, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

"Nubian Ibex" by Just chaos is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Israel stands at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Geographically, it belongs to the Asian continent and is part of the Middle East region, and has strong historical, cultural, sporting, and economic links with Europe.

The Law of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Animal Protection Law) and its regulation are Israel's main pieces of animal welfare legislation. The law prohibits working an unfit animal or working an animal to exhaustion, as well as poisoning an animal with certain poisons (unless granted a permit by the Director of the Veterinary Service), with a penalty of imprisonment for one year. A 2000 amendment prohibits torture and cruel treatment; inciting one animal against another; organizing a contest between animal; or cutting into the live tissue of an animal for cosmetic purposes. The penalty for offenses in this category is three-year imprisonment. However, this law does not cover (1) animal experiments (2) the killing of animals for human consumption (3) veterinarians, and it was criticized as a structural failure for the protection of farmed animals by animal rights organizations. The treatment of big cats in captivity is regulated by the Humane Treatment of Animals (Protection of Animals) (Possession not for Agricultural Purposes) Regulations 5769-2009, issued in accordance with the law.

Humane Treatment of Animals (Experiments on Animals) Law of 1994 (HTAE Law) regulates animal experiments in Israel and creates a 23-member National Council for Animal Experimentation that may ban animal use if a "reasonable alternative" is available. Wildlife Protection Law of 1955 regulates the hunting, trade, transfer, and possession of wild animals. A wild animal is defined by the law as “a mammal or bird which does not by its nature live in association with man.” The law prohibits hunting wild animals with traps, snares, nets, and poisons. Dog Regulation Law of 2002 requires licenses for all dogs three months of age or older, mandates microchip implants for dogs, and routine vaccination against rabies. The law also covers importing and keeping of dangerous dogs. There are also the Rabies Ordinance of 1934, the Animal Diseases Ordinance of 1985, the Cruelty to Animals Regulations on geese force-feeding, and the Prohibition on Declawing Cats.

Israel is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Read more on Legal Protection on Animal in Israel here.

"Arabian Oryx" by cuatrok77 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


Law No. 9 of 1974 on Neglected Animals, which was amended in 1994 (Law No. 3 of 1994), provides the framework for neglected animals. Article 1 requires that it shall be forbidden to leave any animal, livestock, or cattle in an inappropriate place or in its own byre, and it shall also be forbidden to leave neglected animals in inhabited places or in the territory of others, or in fields, roads, streets, lanes or alleys, or on the seashore or on private or public land. Article 5 requires that the official in charge of the byre shall provide food, water, and all necessary care to the animals kept therein.

Law No. 1 of 1985 on Animal Health provides regulations on combating animal diseases, veterinary quarantine, and penalties.

Under the current Penal Code (Articles 393, 394, and 395, Chapter Eight, Crimes Committed on Animals), animal cruelty is illegal. The following actions are prohibited: 1) Killing or damaging on purpose an animal used to pull or carry things or other’s cattle; 2) Using means to destroy water resources by adding toxins, explosives, chemicals or the electrical ways, etc.; 3) killing other’s bees or any domestic animal; and 4) Beating or torturing a domestic or a wild captured animal; 5) Exhausting an animal through riding or overburdening it; and 6) Overusing an animal that is inappropriate because of its age, sickness, wounds or deformity or neglecting the animal which may cause it some harm.

In 2014, the government set up a new department at the Office of the Public Prosecution to deal specifically with environmental and municipal violations, including those governing public hygiene, food safety, smoking bans, animal welfare, and water and energy conservation.

"File:Arabian Red Fox Jordan.JPG" by Sultan Murad is licensed under CC BY 3.0

The United Arab Emirates

In December 2016, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued Regulating the Possession of Dangerous Animals (Federal Law No. 22 of 2016) imposing fines and jail time on individuals found guilty of owning, buying, or selling all types of dangerous and wild animals. Under this law, only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding, and research centers would be allowed to keep wild or exotic animals. The law prohibits the trading of all wild animals, dead or alive, and their meat as well. In addition, dog owners would need to buy a license for their pets and keep them on a leash at all times when in public.

Animal welfare is regulated under Federal Law No. 16 of 2007 Respecting Animal Welfare, and its amendments in Federal Law No. 18 of 2016.

The amendments show much tougher penalties for people convicted of animal abuse. Anyone found guilty of abusing or participating in the illegal act of hunting, buying, or selling of animals faces a heavier fine of AED 200,000. This is up from the previous fine of AED 5,000 which is great to see.

The mandated animal welfare regulations under the federal laws by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) set regulations to animal owners. The regulations — in line with global animal welfare standards — comprise nine articles that outline responsibilities for animal owners, health and technical standards of animal facilities, animal nutrition, and guidelines for loading, transporting, and unloading animals.

The UAE encourages the public to join voluntary activities related to animal protection. The UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment signed an agreement with Emirates Animal Welfare Society and Emirates Park Zoo to promote animal protection. The agreement aimed at raising public awareness of animal welfare. It complements the ministry's intensified efforts to defend and preserve animal rights as well as promote their humane treatment through awareness campaigns.

The UAE is committed to protecting and managing the rich biodiversity of the state and prevent the extinction of threatened species. The creation of natural reserves intends to improve the environment and protect the wildlife in the country, in addition to the promotion of eco-tourism.

By 2020 there were 49 nature reserves in the UAE. Reserves that have been listed as wetlands of international importance within the framework of the Ramsar Convention increased from 2 nature reserves in 2010 into ten in 2019.

The city of Dubai has specific regulations on pet ownership.

Read more here.

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