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The Latest Enemies of Iran: Dogs and Their Owners

The Latest Enemies of Iran: Dogs and Their Owners – Fighting Shariah

By Azadeh Moaveni

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Iranian officials find themselves in a cultural war with the West and see what they’re offering as an ‘Islamic lifestyle’ failing measurably.”

For much of the past decade, the Iranian government has tolerated what it considers a particularly depraved and un-Islamic vice: the keeping of pet dogs.

During periodic crackdowns, police have confiscated dogs from their owners right off the street; and state media has lectured Iranians on the diseases spread by canines. The cleric Gholamreza Hassani, from the city of Urmia, has been satirized for his sermons railing against "short-legged" and "holdable" dogs. But as with the policing of many other practices (like imbibing alcoholic drinks) that are deemed impure by the mullahs but perfectly fine to many Iranians, the state has eventually relaxed and let dog lovers be.

Those days of tacit acceptance may soon be over, however. Lawmakers in Tehran have recently proposed a bill in parliament that would criminalize dog ownership, formally enshrining its punishment within the country’s Islamic penal code. The bill warns that that in addition to posing public health hazards, the popularity of dog ownership "also poses a cultural problem, a blind imitation of the vulgar culture of the West." The proposed legislation for the first time outlines specific punishments for "the walking and keeping" of "impure and dangerous animals," a definition that could feasibly include cats but for the time being seems targeted at dogs. The law would see the offending animal confiscated, the leveling of a $100-to-$500 fine on the owner, but leaves the fate of confiscated dogs uncertain. "Considering the several thousand dogs [that are kept] in Tehran alone, the problem arises as to what is going to happen to these animals," Hooman Malekpour, a veterinarian in Tehran, said to the BBC’s Persian service. If passed, the law would ultimately energize police and volunteer militias to enforce the ban systematically.

In past years, animal-rights activists in Iran have persuasively argued that sporadic campaigns against dog ownership are politically motivated and unlawful, since the prohibition surfaces in neither the country’s civil laws nor its Islamic criminal codes. But if Iran’s laws were silent for decades on the question of dogs, that is because the animals — in the capacity of pet — were as irrelevant to daily life as dinosaurs. Islam, by custom, considers dogs najes, or unclean, and for the past century cultural mores kept dog ownership down to minuscule numbers. In rural areas, dogs have traditionally aided shepherds and farmers, but as Iranians got urbanized in the past century, their dogs did not come along. In cities, aristocrats kept dogs for hunting and French-speaking dowagers kept lap dogs for company, but the vast majority of traditional Iranians, following the advice of the clergy, were leery of dogs and considered them best avoided.

That has changed in the past 15 years with the rise of an urban middle class plugged into and eager to mimic Western culture. Satellite television and Western movies opened up a world where happy children frolicked with dogs in parks and affluent families treated them like adorable children. These days, lap dogs rival designer sunglasses as the upper-middle-class Iranian’s accessory of choice. "Global norms and values capture the heart of people all around the world, and Iran is no exception," says Omid Memarian, a prominent Iranian journalist specializing in human rights. "This is very frightening for Iranian officials, who find themselves in a cultural war with the West and see what they’re offering as an ‘Islamic lifestyle’ failing measurably."

The widening acceptability of dog ownership, and its popularity among a specific slice of Iran’s population — young, urban, educated and frustrated with the Islamic government — partly explains why dogs are now generating more official hostility. In 2007, two years into the tenure of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, security forces targeted dog owners alongside a crackdown on women’s attire and men’s "Westernized" hairstyles. In the regime’s eyes, owning a dog had become on par with wearing capri pants or sporting a mullet — a rebellious act.

The government’s tolerance for this low-level lifestyle dissidence fizzled after Ahmadinejad’s contested electoral victory in 2009, which sparked massive demonstrations and the most serious challenge to Islamic rule since the 1979 revolution. In the aftermath of that upheaval, the state has moved to tighten its control over a wide range of Iranians’ private activities, from establishing NGOs to accessing the Internet, to individual lifestyle decisions, according to Hadi Ghaemi, the director for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. "No doubt such attempts are motivated by a desire to squash acts of criticism and protests, even if through symbolic individual decisions that simply don’t conform to officially sanctioned lifestyles," Ghaemi says.

The criminalizing of dogs, in this context, helps the government address the legal gray areas concerning lifestyle behavior. When authorities found it difficult to police what it termed Westernized hairstyles worn by young men, it solved the problem last year by releasing a poster of specifically banned styles.

For many young people, these measures are a firm reminder that the government will brook no disobedience, whether it be chanting antigovernment slogans in the streets or sporting excessively long sideburns. Dog owners in Iran, like much of the population, are mostly preoccupied these days with inflation, joblessness and the parlous state of the country’s economy. But they will soon need to consider whether keeping their shih tzu or poodle is worth the added worry. Their dogs may face the same fate as the hundreds of street dogs that the government regularly sweeps from the streets of Tehran. "Many in Tehran and other big cities find the killing of street dogs offensive and cruel," says Memarian. "It’s like the Iranian people and officials live in two different worlds."

Source:  Time Magazine

Related: 

Dog/Pet Ownership Under Attack… Stand Up Now and Help!

Dogs… Pets – Beyond Traditional Islam

Man’s Best Friend in Shariah’s Cruel Crosshairs

And then there are the Fanatical “Green People”…

Greenies Gone Wild Again… for Earth Day  -  Back to Americans Doing More, Including Eating Our Dogs

Ditch Your Family Pet to Save the Planet… I think NOT!!

“The greatness of a nation, a people, and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated!” …Mahatma Gandhi

And When You Look at the Pet and Animal Abuse and Cruelty Around the World… Including in the United States… You Wonder if We Have Made Any Progress at All

This is in America:  No Mercy:  Calf Farm Cruelty Exposed Plus We Are Still Euthanizing 4 Million Dogs Plus Additional Pets in Shelters in America Every Year…  Join the No Kill Movement and Become Part of the Solution.  There is a Better Way!

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Change Number of Pet Restrictive Laws. Ordinances and Rules, Dogs, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Outreach for Pets, Pet Abuse, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Owner's Rights, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Help Oppose the Torturous Treatment of Dogs and Cats in Korea

hanging dogShould the brutal treatment and death of a dog or cat concern us more than if the same were done to a cow, or a sheep, or a chicken. It shouldn’t, but animals that the “Western world” looks upon as companion animals are treated very differently in Korea.

Many Koreans still believe that if one eats dog meat from dogs that have been tortured to death, it will make them more sexually active. The marketing of dog meat as a health food was initiated and perpetuated by the dog meat dealers to keep their billion dollar businesses going. The rationale behind savagely beating a dog to death lies in the primitiveness that when a dog is beaten they produce high levels of adrenaline hence the selling of their meat as a kind of “natural” viagra for impotence and vitality!

This adrenaline rush is achieved by hanging dogs from ropes on trees and leaving them to slowly strangle to death, and then while still alive, their fur is blowtorched off.

Cats do not hold any position of affection in Korean society. They are not eaten as dogs are but many attempts have been made to eradicate them, not by humane methods, but rather by beating the animals to death in sacks or, in some cases, boiling them alive in large pressure cookers to supply the insatiable demand for another “herbal” remedy – although clearly animals do not fall into this category.

The Korean government does not enforce its animal welfare laws so people make an assumption that farming dogs, slaughtering them and selling their meat is legal. It is not. The sale and cooking of dogs is illegal under Korea’s food and sanitation laws.

INTERNATIONAL PROTEST WORKED BACK IN 1988 AT THE SEOUL GAMES.
IT CAN WORK AGAIN WITH YOUR HELP.

Please write and send e-mails to the following individuals and demand that they stop defining Dogs as “livestock”. Also to enforce existing laws that prohibit cruelty to and consumption of dogs.

President Kim Dae Jung
Blue House
1 Saejong-Ro,Chongro-Ku,
Seoul,South Korea 110-760
Web email: http://www.cwd.go.kr/e_mail_president.html

Chairman Park Joon Kyu
The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea
1 Youido-dong,Youngdungpo-ku
Seoul,South Korea 150-701
E-Mail: webmaster@assembly.go.kr

Minister Kim Myoung Ja
Ministry of Environment
1 Joongang-dong
Kwachun City
Kyoungki-do
South Korea 427-760
Email: mjkim@me.go.kr

Minister Kim Sung Hoon
Ministry of Agiculture
1 Joongang-dong
Kwachun City
Kyoungki-do
South Korea 427-760
Email: webmaster@maf.go.kr

For more information:
Kyenan Kum {co-founder}
International Aid for Korean Animals and the Korean Animal Protection Society.
E-Mail: kaps@koreananimals.org
Website: www.koreananimals.org

See our interview with Kyenan Kum founder of IAKA and KAPS.

Even if you just wanted to contact Kyenan to let her know that there are plenty of people out there that are also deeply concerned. We know she would appreciate it.

If I told you In South Korea, it is common to eat dogs. This is not done in a humane manner, but by torturing them to death by hanging, strangulation, and beatings with such objects as bricks, large rocks, heavy rod-like objects and electrocution. They do this for long periods of time in order to terrorize and cause great suffering to the animal. They die a very slow and painful death. This brutal execution is done to dogs, because many South Koreans believe the flesh from a dog who is tortured to death has aphrodisiac qualities and tastes better. Some South Koreans torture cats by hitting them on the head repeatedly with hammers, by placing them in sacks which are then pounded on the ground, or by other methods that produce slow and painful death. Dead cats are cooked along with ginger, dates and chestnuts to make a brown paste or “Liquid Cat” which is foolishly thought by many South Koreans to be a remedy for rheumatism and joint problems,”

http://www.animal-lib.org.au/lists/korea/korea.shtml

“Never believe that animals suffer less than humans.
Pain is the same for them that it is for us.
Even worse, because they cannot help themselves.”
— Dr. Louis J. Camuti (1893-1981)

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment