UAE issues new laws protecting animal welfare

By Eudore R.Chand

DUBAI 13 December 2018: The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, issued the executive regulations for Federal Law No. 16 of 2007 on animal welfare and its amendments in Federal Law No. 18 of 2016. To ensure the regulations are all-inclusive, MOCCAE held multiple workshops with government and private sector stakeholders to contribute their insights on the matter.


The executive regulations comprise nine articles that outline the responsibilities of animal owners, the health and technical standards of animal facilities, animal nutrition conditions, and the guidelines for loading, transporting, and unloading animals.

Commenting on the announcement, Saif Mohammed Al Shara, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector and Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for the Food Diversity Sector at MOCCAE, said, “The UAE is strongly committed to animal welfare, which holds significant value in our Islamic beliefs and culture. Our role at MOCCAE is to develop a legislative framework for animal protection and biodiversity preservation. The executive regulations for Federal Law No. 16 of 2007 on animal welfare and its amendments in Federal Law No. 18 of 2016 are in line with global animal welfare standards.”

Article two of the regulations details the duties of animal owners, including assuming full responsibility for the animals that depend on them to survive, and not abandoning them under any circumstances. Should they no longer wish to keep the animals in their possession, they must hand them over to the relevant authorities. Animal owners need to hire a sufficient number of qualified personnel to look after the animals, and provide proper shelter, feed, and specialised vet care to keep the animals healthy. They must also maintain records of the animals’ genetic lineage, nutrition, health, productivity, and daily routine.

The article labels certain acts – such as failing to offer the animal adequate nutrition, rest, and shelter, harming the animal physically, or keeping it confined – as animal cruelty that is punishable by law. The same applies if they overwork draft animals without considering their age and health condition. Animal owners are also considered in violation of the law if they neglect to follow the rules of humane slaughter, or if they use animals in a way that goes against their nature in art and entertainment performances, in pranks, or in staged animal fights. In addition, they are banned from administering animals growth-promoting drugs and steroids, or adding illegal additives to their feed.

Furthermore, article three 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. Meanwhile, article four 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. The article also stipulates that animal owners must use approved methods to dispose of animal carcasses.

Article six regulates the processes of loading, transporting, and unloading animals, including obtaining animal transport permits from local authorities.

Dubai Gazette