Animal Cruelty Laws in the UAE

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


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The UAE has implemented several laws and regulations against animal cruelty on lines with various other developed countries in the world. In a bid to give domestic animals the care they deserve, animal-friendly laws have been introduced in the UAE.

Animal Welfare and Rights

Federal Law No. 16 of 2007 as amended by Federal Law No.18 of 2016, concerning animal welfare aims to maintain the rights and dignity of animals in the UAE.

It states that animals should not be left alone or abandoned; at the same time, animals should be cared for with adequate supervision by people with knowledge, skills and qualifications.

According to this law, animals are entitled having enough space enabling them to move freely, according to their needs. Other rights include being provided with food and water adequately for their age and species, as well as being transported and housed safely.

Few articles under this law outlines responsibilities for animal owners, health and technical standards of animal facilities, nutrition and guidelines for loading, transporting, and unloading animals. 
• Article 2 of the law details the duties of animal owners, including assuming full responsibility for the animals that depend on them for survival, and not abandoning them under any circumstances. Should the individual no longer wish to keep the animals in their possession, they must hand them over to the relevant authorities.
• Article 3 prohibits the use of electroshock devices (cattle prods) and sharp tools in handling animals, as well as poking animals in sensitive areas to get them to move.
• Article 4 defines the health and technical standards for barns, cages, and stables, stating that they should be safe, sterile, and adequate for the species, gender, age, size, and weight of the animals.
• Article 6 regulates the processes of loading, transporting, and unloading of animals, including obtaining animal transport permits from local authorities.

Emirates Animal Welfare Society is a voluntary institute that focuses on establishing and defending animal rights throughout the United Arab Emirates. In addition to identifying these rights, it aims to spread awareness on the importance of animal welfare and encourages the public to preserve the integrity of the environment and animals.

Article 432 of the Federal Punishment Law states that anyone found torturing or abusing an animal can be fined Dh 10,000.

Possession of Wild Animals

Federal Law No. 22 regulates the possession and trade of predatory, dangerous and semi-dangerous animals.

Under this law, only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research centres would be allowed to keep wild or exotic animals.

Keeping a Dog

Individuals who keep dogs as pets would need to buy a license for them and keep them on a leash at all times when in public.

Fines for failing to comply with the law would range from AED 10,000 to 700,000 and may be accompanied by a jail term and the animal would be confiscated.

Illegal Hunting, Trade & Experiments

As per the Federal Law No 18, people found guilty of illegal hunting, buying or selling animals can face a one-year prison term and a Dh 200,000 fine.

Subjecting an animal for scientific experiments without an official permit will attract fines between Dh 50,000 and Dh 200,000 as well as a one-year prison sentence, per the law.



These laws put in place by the UAE Government have been successful in maintaining higher standards for ethical treatment of animals.

Abuse of animals and mistreating them will attract a high amount of fine or even jail term for the perpetrators. With these laws in action, pet keepers are legally bound to treat their pets with care.

Provisions have also been made by the government for individuals to cease ownership of the animals they no longer wish to own. All this  in a bid to avoid abandoning animals.

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