We have previously discussed violence and legal measures targeting dogs by some Muslims who view canines as “unclean.” Even postcards with dogs and service dogs (and here) have raised the ire of some Muslim groups. Now this issue is getting some long-needed attention in Iran after a short film that showed stray dogs being tortured and killed by having acid injected into them.
The video was taken an industrial area of Shiraz, 900 kilometres south of Tehran. The animal activists claimed that those responsible paid $4 for each dog. As with environmentalists in China, I have always had overwhelming respect and admiration for secularists and animal (particularly dog) advocates in Muslim countries. This is more than an impressive commitment to principle but putting your actual life on the line for those principles.
The good news is that the Iranian government is acting on the video. While there was an effort to criminalize the ownership of dogs under Sharia law (and subject dog owners to up to 74 lashed last year), Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar has called for an investigation into the video. While she referred rather mildly to the practice as “an immediate end to unconventional population control method for stray dogs,” she did call upon the interior ministry to “deal with the criminals responsible”.
Some Iranian celebrities like Ali Karimi, once a star on Iran’s national football team, posted a picture with his two dogs on Instagram and the message “Dogs are the kindest domestic animals. I hope those who, under any excuse, did this to these animals get what they deserve.”