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Animals in Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurdistan is an autonomous region within the Federal Republic of Iraq. The region has a troubled history and those in Kurdistan have survived times of war, isolation and poverty. Their multi-cultural cities are flanked by rugged mountains, ravines and waterfalls that give Kurdistan it's reputation as an area of natural beauty.

Animals have no legal protection in Kurdistan.

KOARP are trying to change this.


Donkeys and horses are used widely as working animals across Kurdistan. Locals often rely on these animals for many aspects of day to day life, but the welfare of these animals can be poor if owners lack knowledge of their proper care. There is also little to no access to veterinary care available for working animals, and they typically succumb to injuries that could be treated.


Stray animals represent a significant problem for Kurdistan. There are a large number of feral dogs, cats and donkeys in built up areas. Incidents of stray dog attacks and the fear of rabies has led to harsh laws on animal control. Law number 48, approved by the Kurdish Parliament in 1986, states that control teams can kill stray animals in one of two ways, by shooting them or by distributing poisoned meat.


Sadly, throwing poisoned meat to stray dogs has become normal practice.


We consider this method to not only be inhumane and a serious risk to locals, but also to be roundly ineffective. There are now more strays then ever in Kurdistan. KOARP regularly present evidence-based alternatives to governing bodies and advocate for capture-neuter-release programs.


Animals are traded in markets and pet shops without regulation. KOARP regularly monitors these animals and believes that there should be a legal framework in place to protect traded animals.


Wild animal populations in Kurdistan are poorly monitored and surveys are rare, however there are a wide variety of animals native to Kurdistan. KOARP report environmental concerns when possible, and support calls for the government to protect natural habitats and monitor wild animal populations.

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