The cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill to rename the veterinary services to include animal welfare services as part of moves to upgrade regulations on animal protection.
The services are now the authority responsible for animal welfare in cooperation with other services, the agriculture ministry said.
“The above development aims to improve the level of animal welfare in our country. By expanding the scope of responsibility of the veterinary services, their role in animal welfare issues is strengthened,” an announcement said.
Several new laws for the protection of animals are also pending or have recently been passed, the ministry explained.
Regulations for improving conditions for keeping stray animals in shelters were recently approved by the parliament.
A bill introducing new provisions and increasing the penalties for those who mistreat animals is currently pending in parliament, as is the regulation of the sale and possession of pets.
A new legislation on zoos is being reviewed by the legal service.
According to the announcement, targeted programmes “are already being implemented with significant results”, such as the sponsorship plan to support animal welfare organisations, the annual cat sterilisation plan, the emergency plan for strengthening stray animal shelters, and the emergency plan for the feeding of cats during the coronavirus pandemic.
The expanded remit of the veterinary services will help strengthen and coordinate the management of cases of abuse and neglect.