A group of about 1,000 animal rights activists gathered in Alanya to protest a controversial bill that seeks to make changes to the country’s Animal Protection Law No. 5199.

The bill seeks to introduce what animal rights activists say are euphemistically named “natural life parks” and cull stray animals from the streets and place them in these designated areas, which do not yet exist. The bill also relaxes animal experimenting rules and leaves it to city officials to decide how many pets a person can have in their home.

Turkey’s animal rights community has been alarmed since the bill’s proposal. The demonstration was one in a series of protests that have been staged against the planned changes. In the demonstration, the protesters met in front of Kuyularönü Mosque and marched to Alanya’s İskele Square, shouting slogans against the proposal.

The government has delayed talks on the bill in a parliamentary commission indefinitely, but it has not yet been withdrawn. Activists say they will continue protests until it is permanently shelved.
A volunteer from the Alanya Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, İlknur Koparan, who spoke to the press in Sunday’s demonstration, said: “This new bill aims to remove the street animals completely rather than improving their living standards. This problem can only be solved if local administrations use funding designated for spay/neuter operations properly.”

Turkey has a strong animal rights movement, which has grown bigger over the past years. The proposal has come as a major shock to the country’s animal rights community, as it was proposed shortly after a large animal rights federation held talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with animal rights groups expecting to see positive improvements.

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