By Jaime León
Tehran, Dec 3 (EFE).- The Islamic Republic of Iran has had a complicated relationship with the idea of household pets for years but now officials are debating whether to ban the ownership of dogs and cats altogether as the animals are considered “impure” in religious sectors of society.
“Animals cause a gradual change in the Iranian and Islamic way of life and substitute love and sentimental ties between people for that of animals,” the draft law submitted to parliament read.
The so-called protection of public rights against dangerous and harmful animals proposes a ban on owning, breeding, transporting or selling pets and would prohibit pets from being allowed out in public.
This proposed bill against “dangerous animals” cites exotic species such as crocodiles, snakes and monkeys but also more common animal companions like dogs, cats and rabbits.
If approved, authorities would have the power to confiscate pets and issue fines 10 to 30 times higher than one year’s salary on minimum wage.
Anyone who wants to own a cat or a dog would have to apply for a special permit under the proposed law.
The law would exempt organizations like the police, science laboratories and the armed forces, which use animals for work purposes.
The 75 hardline lawmakers who submitted the draft law to parliament — which is made up of 295 seats — claim that animals carry disease, “create impurities” and damage “the spirit.”
Their argument has its roots in traditional Islamic beliefs that dogs, man’s best friend in other parts of the world, are unclean and their presence in the house deducts from worship.