8 August 2023
In Kazakhstan, the Fight Against Animal Cruelty is Far from Over
Despite new laws regarding animal abuse, incidents continue to make headlines in Kazakhstan, but what more is being done to prevent these horrific acts of cruelty?
Image: Vera Larina/Shutterstock
Cases of animal cruelty in Kazakhstan continuously make headlines in the country’s media. One of the latest incidents was a man beating neighbour’s dog with a shovel, as reported by The Village Kazakhstan. The incident took place in Kentau, a town in the Turkestan region. The neighbour explained that this extreme violence against an animal was because “she scared/ate his chicken.” The dog, whose name is Sky, was taken to a veterinary clinic in Almaty, after the paramedics in Kentau provided first aid, and was diagnosed with a complicated hip fracture, spinal cord contusion, and concussion. Volunteers are currently collecting money for Sky’s treatment. However, the police not only didn’t arrest the neighbour for this blatant act of cruelty but made Sky’s owner “reconcile” by threatening her with a fine if she didn’t.
This news comes in contrast to the new law “On Responsible Treatment of Animals” in Kazakhstan, which clearly states that “cruelty towards animals is prohibited” and that animals are beings “capable of experiencing pain and physical suffering.” It appears that the important part of the law on “educating the population of a moral and humane attitude towards animals” is of major importance, as the police, in this case, did not see that a dog getting severely beaten by a human is a crime.
The law aimed at protecting animals from abuse and torture came in response to a number of cruel events that shook the country. In May 2020, a video of a drunk man standing on top of a fridge door with which he had clamped a dog’s head shocked Kazakhstan. The man was detained but later released as the police dismissed the criminal case against him, saying that “no injuries were found on the dog,” TengriNews reported. However, soon after this news, Kazakh lawyer Zhangeldy Suleymanov appealed to the General Prosecutor’s Office to reopen the case and wrote on his Facebook page, “I received a letter saying that the termination was cancelled and the criminal case against the sadist was resumed again.” In the meantime, the dog named Lucky survived and was found by volunteers hiding from his owner. Lucky was then adopted by a family in the U.S. and transported there. In December 2020, Current Time posted a video showing how Lucky was adjusting to her new life in a loving and caring family.
Unfortunately, not every animal gets to survive torture in Kazakhstan. In June 2020, another shocking video of a puppy being burned alive by teenagers “just for fun,” as they later confessed after being detained, went viral. Just a month later, two incidents, this time involving Caspian Sea seals being attacked and beaten with sticks in Mangistau and stones in Aktau, made the headlines. As these events happened within a few months, they came to President Tokayev’s attention. He commented that people in the country are unaware of how to interact with nature and the animal world and called it “madness,” instructing then Minister of Education and Science Askhat Aimagambetov to “think about it.”
Three years after Tokayev’s speech, social media is still filled with videos showing animal cruelty in different parts of the country. From a wolf being beaten to death by a man with a stick to a puppy being bound to a car and dragged along the road, Kazakhstan remains one of the worst places for animals in the world. Despite the law on animal protection and protests against animal abuse organized by environmental activists, the problem remains the same—even when caught, animal abusers receive minimal punishment, for example, a mere 60 hours of community work given to a 35-year-old man who jumped on a kitten’s head and was caught on video.
Sergei Snegirev, animal rights activist and a member of the Republican Public Ecological Council of the Amanat party, stated in his interview with Liter.kz, that together with representatives of the Ministry of Education, they are considering ways to instill in children love and humane attitude towards animals, as they hope that will stop animal cruelty in the country in the future. He assured that overall the law has “turned out to be good” and that it will take a few more years for it to start working fully.