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Mongolia Enacts Historic Legislation for Animal Rights

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Mongolia has recently passed its first-ever legislation aimed at safeguarding animal companions, known as "The Pet Law." This momentous accomplishment comes after years of relentless campaigning and advocacy led by Mongolian partner Lucky Paws, with the support of over 17,000 backers from In Defense of Animals who actively engaged with decision-makers.

This legislation marks a notable change in Mongolia's approach to the welfare of animal companions. Previously, stray cats and dogs in Ulaanbaatar faced grim fates, with authorities allocating substantial funds annually for the poisoning and shooting of homeless animals. This practice, costing taxpayers USD 420,000 to USD 450,000 annually, involved the shooting of 90,000 to 100,000 stray dogs, not including cats. The shooting of stray animals is now prohibited, and the law mandates that all levels of government prioritize birth control to reduce the population of homeless animals.

The new law adopts a more humane and responsible approach, emphasizing the protection of animal companions and promoting responsible guardianship. Legal animal custodians will now have a range of new rights, including public access and enhanced access for people with disabilities, freedom from discrimination and abuse, and compensation from animal abusers. New responsibilities include registering, training, and spaying or neutering animal companions, with guardians required to have the means to provide food, shelter, and medical care for their pets.

The Pet Law also prohibits the sale of cats and dogs at pet shops and mandates that breeders obtain a license, pay taxes, and microchip animals. Breeders of the Mongolian Bankhar dog are exempted.

What The Pet Law Means for Mongolia & the World: The Pet Law enforces protection for domestic animals, imposes penalties for specific animal abuses by private individuals, and ends the shooting of homeless dogs for population control.

It promotes responsible guardianship by conferring rights and responsibilities, including spaying and neutering. It restricts and regulates animal breeding and sales. It recognizes animal rights and welfare, setting a new global standard for other countries to follow. Through strict enforcement of The Pet Law, Mongolia could follow Bhutan’s lead which recently became the world’s first country to sterilize all street dogs. The homeless animal population will shrink over time, but 70,000 street animals in Ulaanbaatar currently face severe challenges including lack of access to basic veterinary equipment. In Defense of Animals’ supporters have raised 30% of the funds needed to send an X-ray machine to Lucky Paws so that the organization can continue saving homeless animals while ensuring that The Pet Law is effectively implemented.

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