The Turkish Police have set up a division in the department of cyber crime to monitor animal cruelty online. The division is charged with rooting out individuals who post images or videos of violence against animals. It is a first for the country, and an important step in fighting animal abuse.
In January 2017, Lady Freethinker shared a story of two Turkish men that posted photos of a dog they mutilated as punishment for losing in a dog fight. The photos they posted were disgusting, but the Turkish government responded with a small fine (equivalent to $1,000 USD). It was an appallingly light sentence, and not close to proportional to the pain and suffering they senselessly inflicted on an innocent animal.
Lady Freethinker published a petition to call on Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States, Serdar Kılıç, to advocate for stronger punishment for animal abuse. It garnered 1.5 million signatures and sent a strong message that there was a need for the Turkish government to revisit its protections for animals and punishments for animal abusers.
This move by the Turkish police reflects a shift in the right direction. It follows introduction of new regulations in June 2017 that replaced fines with jail time for animal abusers.
Around the world, animals are mistreated and neglected on a massive scale. This news shows that animal rights activists and pressure from media groups on government can push progress and help move us toward a more caring, compassionate world.