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Trafficking still abounds in the UAE

Trafficking still abounds in the UAE

Smuggling exotic animals in the UAE still big business in the UAE. Why isn’t anyone pushing for better law enforcement?

May 15, 2011 5:15 by

Picture yourself trapped in box that’s just enough to giving your lungs room to expand when you inhale and exhale. The box is flat packed with some holes perforated for air supply. Now imagine you are not only trapped but drugged as well, unable to see clearly or think clearly.

You hear cries in the boxes next to you. Faint, groggy cries you do not recognise. And then you feel the earth move. No, it’s not the earth. It’s the larger box in which your own prison cell and the other boxes beside you are housed.

You try to remember how you got to that place of darkness but are unable to make the connection. You fail to understand your present circumstances and your mind is too dazed to stay focused.

How would you feel if you found yourself in this situation? Stressed? Panicked? Outraged? Helpless? Whatever your feelings are, none of them can good.

This is exactly what seven different baby animals went through this weekend, according to a report in The Guardian. And their fate could have been much worse if the Thai authorities had not caught the animal smuggler at the airport.

Two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear and two macaque monkeys – all about the size of puppies – were confiscated from a first class passenger waiting to check in for his flight in Bangkok’s international airport.

The baby animals were drugged and crammed inside the passenger’s luxury luggage.

The passenger, who is reportedly a 36-year-old UAE citizen, has been arrested by undercover anti-trafficking officers who had been monitoring him since his black-market purchase.

The Guardian reports that in Thailand leopards and panthers fetch roughly $5,000 apiece on the black market. Their value in Dubai is presumably higher.

While it was not clear whether the animals were going to be resold or kept as exotic pets, it is disappointing to see animal trafficking is still not seen as a serious issue in the UAE. A quick search on Youtube sees numerous links to videos of residents owning exotic pets, the owners brazen in the way they treat these wild animals like common domestic felines and canines.

Kipp does roughly remember the UAE government passing a law against animal cruelty. A quick search landed us on this link which reports a law against animal cruelty been “drafted and approved”.  This was in 2007.

Kipp also found a 2008 link in Gulf News to the UAE imposing a AED20,000 fine for animal cruelty “once an animal welfare law is introduced.”

Three years on and animal trafficking is still a strong business in the region. If laws like these, which are pretty much black and white are hard to pin down and implement then how are the big issues going to be tackled, Kipp wonders.

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1 Comment

  1. MK on May 16, 2011 11:08 am

    The main issue here, as you pointed out is the fact that there is such a high demand for these animals here in the UAE!
    Tougher laws need to be put in place in order to elminate the problems from its roots, rather than coming up with solutions after the incident happens.


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