Azerbaijan

G
Azerbaijan
Recognising animal protection

Recognising animal protection

This theme examines recognition of animal sentience and the importance of animal protection as a societal value within the country, including government support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, prohibition of cruelty and protection for different categories of animals.

G

Formal recognition of animal sentience

There is no policy or legislation

The government has not developed any policy or legislation by which animal sentience is acknowledged or recognised. 

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

As it stands today, there is no formal evidence or signal from the government to recognise sentience as an independent issue that will inform discussions of animal issues in the country. As such, sentience is not included and does not inform public policies that could be potentially linked to animals (such as environmental or sustainable production policies).

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The government has not yet incorporated current practical experience and scientific knowledge regarding animal sentience into the country’s legislation. The government does not appear to consider animal welfare as an important issue, which is concerning because Azerbaijan is a member of the OIE, which has guiding principles on animal welfare that are based on the premise that animals are sentient beings.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

G

Support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

There is no government support

The government has not pledged in principle support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

Note: The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare is a proposed formal international acknowledgment of a set of principles giving animal welfare due recognition among governments and the international community. An expression of support for the UDAW demonstrates a government’s commitment to working with the international community to improve animal welfare.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Support for the UDAW would be a first step into integrating animal protection considerations into different discussion tables, becoming a soft law source for decision makers interested in improving animal protection in the country.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The government has not expressed a desire to improve animal protection in the country. The lack of recognition of the importance of animal welfare as an issue separate to those of animal health and disease control is a considerable barrier to progress.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

G

Laws against causing animal suffering

There is no policy or legislation

There is no policy or legislation in the country preventing animal suffering by deliberate acts or negligence.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Following international trends, developing national legislation and policies to promote animal protection by preventing acts and omissions which cause animal suffering are first steps in animal protection. Similar economies and some neighbouring countries in the region have taken this step, and the government is encouraged to follow this trend.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator; this does not appear to have priority within government work, and an apparent lack of general concern about animal well-being may also present a significant barrier to progress in this area. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

G

Protecting animals used in farming

There is no policy or legislation

There are no animal protection laws in reference to animals used in farming.

A law on animal breeding, passed on 18 December 2007 (No. 516 IIIG), covers issues on animal productivity, genetic enhancement, embryos and administrative procedures regarding reproduction, but contains no animal welfare components.  There is also a law on fish farming, which focuses exclusively on resource management and procurement of the country reserves of fish and does not address welfare.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The fact that no legislation or policy has been produced for the protection of animals used in farming makes it very difficult, indeed almost impossible, for other sources or even categories of animals to be considered in decision-making debates in the country. It is noted as a concern that the only laws found on animals in farming appear to be focused on productivity, enforcing the perception of animals as mere commodities, thus undermining the chance of animal welfare discussions taking place in the near future.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The fact that the country has not developed any policy or legislation in relation to animals used in farming means that very large numbers of animals are left outside any potential legal protection. The government does not appear to have any interest in animal welfare as an issue separate to that of animal health. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

E

Protecting animals in captivity

There is legislation with partial application

The country has legislation on the conservation of wild animals (Law of the Azerbaijan Republic on Fauna - 4 June 1999 (No.675-IQ)), some of the provisions of which apply to animals kept in “confined” and “semi-confined” conditions, zoo collections and other forms of private captivity. The legislation includes some duties on owners and keepers of animals, similar to a duty of care, in specified circumstances such as the treatment of illness, natural disasters and emergency situations.  In addition, a general provision in the law includes responsibility for the violation of legal protection for cases of cruelty to animals, a provision which unfortunately does not offer further insights into its meaning so to enable a clear assessment.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Most of the regulations of the Law on Fauna (No.675-IQ) are related to conservation and resource management, which does not bring effective protection to individual animals of those species that are likely to be kept captive. In addition, the law regulates different forms of “use” of animals which is quite indiscriminate and imprecise, making it relatively easy to fall under these descriptors. The law specifically removes from its protection farmed animals and tame animals and does nothing to discourage the captivity of wild animals except to introduce some administrative regulations to keep such animals and to offer additional protection to animals listed in the “Red Book”. This is a measure which is concerned with the conservation and management of species rather than with protection of individual animals.  This legal precedent could make it difficult to introduce elements of protection into future legislation.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The Law on Fauna (No.675-IQ) has some sections on administration and authorities, but in our English translated copy of the law, the authorities appear designated as “the appropriate executive bodies” in both Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan, with no legal provision describing the bodies, their conformation or the way in which responsibility is assigned to such authorities. Likewise, there are no provisions concerning financial resource in this law. Indicators on Rule of Law and Government Effectiveness on the Worldwide Governance Indicators rate Azerbaijan in the lowest quarter, showing further possible barriers to improving animal welfare in the country. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Article 44 of the Law on Fauna (No.675-IQ) describes the provisions that the “appropriate executive bodies” have to seek enforcement of this legislation, including detaining individuals and vehicles, and reviewing documents. There are some unclear references in terms of the mechanisms. For instance, there is a reference to crimes and law enforcement agencies, but no further explanation of what constitutes a crime and how this differs from the administrative infractions mentioned in the text, apparently leaving officials with some level of discretion in enforcement.

E

Protecting companion animals

There is policy

The government has signed the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals that came into force in 2008.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

As Azerbaijan does not currently have basic animal protection legislation, it is difficult for issues such as the protection of companion animals to be improved in the country. Although it is significant that the country has signed the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, because it shows some first steps towards changing conditions for this category of animals, this does not appear to have materialised in any effective animal welfare discussions in the country. In 2007, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (now World Animal Protection) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International published the report “Stray Animal Control Practices (Europe)” in which it is described that the country had no legislation on a wide range of issues regarding companion animals (including pet ownership, pet care, euthanasia and stray collection).[1] Reports of inhumane culling of cats and dogs in the capital Baku appeared internationally as the country prepared to host the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.[2] In an interview in late 2012, the Chief of the Enforcement Department in Baku said that stray dogs would in the future be caught and kept in a designated compound and that it could be possible for the skin of stray dogs to be used in the future.[3] This comment demonstrates a poor understanding of international animal welfare concerns regarding humane treatment of companion animals and of actions taken by countries such as the European Union 28 Member States to prohibit the production of cat and dog fur.

Further reports of culling activity persist from 2013.[4]

[1] http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/animalwelfare/WSPA_RSPCA%20Inte...

[2] http://iwpr.net/report-news/stray-dogs-lose-out-azerbaijan-prepares-euro...

[3] http://news.milli.az/society/85621.html#comments

[4] http://www.rferl.org/content/azerbaijan-dog-cull-video/25061562.html

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The main barrier is apparent lack of interest in animal welfare as an issue in the country. However, the fact that the government has signed the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals demonstrates that there is perhaps potential for action to develop policy and legislation in this area. Provisions in the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals are clear in terms of what are the basic developments sought in a signatory country, including aspects on population control. The government is yet to develop any of these.  

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

G

Protecting animals used for draught and recreation

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence of policy and legislation for this category of animals, including legislation or policy on the use of animals for performance and entertainment and/or policy or legislation on working animals.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The lack of policy and legislative developments on the issue of animals used for draught and recreational purposes makes it impossible to make the welfare of this category of animals a mainstream concern of society.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no development of policy or legislation relevant to this indicator. This does not appear to be an area of priority work and spending for government.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

G

Protecting animals used in scientific research

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence of policy and legislation for the protection of this category of animals.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The country has not developed any legislation or policy aimed at protecting the welfare of different animal categories including animals used for scientific research. In the Law of Fauna (No.675-IQ) there is a reference to research as this activity appears in the list of accepted “uses” of animals in the country in a series of articles that regulates paying fees and other administrative procedures for research, cultural, educational and aesthetic purposes. The law does not give indications or guidelines as to what should be understood by the word research in this context, but rather refers to the circumstances in which such activities take place, namely by considering separately activities that involve, or do not involve, taking animals from their natural habitat. As this law addresses mainly issues that relate to conservation, it is not possible to conclude that these provisions apply to the category of animals used in research and therefore none of these provisions can be said to have a positive impact on animal welfare in the country. 

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The main obstacle is the apparent lack of interest in animal welfare as an issue, resulting in a lack of policy and legislation. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

D

Protecting the welfare of wild animals

There is legislation with partial application

The National Constitution of Azerbaijan includes in Article 39 a right to a healthy environment and as such the State is said to guarantee the preservation of ecological balance and protection of wild plants and animals as are determined by law. As such, some legislation has been produced, including the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic on Wildlife, 4 June 1999 (No.675-IG). This law contains provisions relating to wild animals, which are complemented by the “Red Book,” an official document on the protection of specific endangered species.

The existing legislation is focussed on protection of groups of animals and does not consider the welfare of individual animals.  

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Although the existing legislation does not cover specifically animal welfare provisions with regard to wild animals, it does include measures to protect certain species of wild animals from exploitation. The government is encouraged to build on the foundations of such legislation and to promote the welfare of wild animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There were no clear provisions found in this law about allocation of responsibilities for activities in relation to this indicator. The Law on Wildlife (No.675-IG) has indications in Article 8 on public executive bodies and organisations in charge of administrating the resources that this law is protecting. These provisions are somewhat undefined and further clarification could be sought, probably via secondary legislation. In relation to wildlife, Articles 47 to 51 present a list of elements that are part of the budget allocation for activities in relation to administration of this resource, including a quota on the Federal budget and funds obtained from fines and compensation by individuals responsible for wildlife and environmental damages (although there are no clear indications of what this entails).

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Mechanisms described in Article 44 of the Law on Wildlife (No.675-IG) seem to be designed for protection of certain species for conservation grounds and include inspections, checks and other police prerogatives. Further than that, there are indications of procedures and forms of evidence gathering for violations regarding wildlife protection.

Governance structures and systems

Governance structures and systems

This theme examines government commitment to improving animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government.

E

Government accountability for animal welfare

There is legislation with partial application

The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Azerbaijan Republic is responsible for the protection of wild animals, although the remit of the legislation at present does not extend to animal welfare. There is no evidence to suggest that any government body has been given responsibility for improving animal protection, other than for animals that fall in that category.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Taking into consideration that the protection of wildlife and wild animals in existing legislation focuses on aspects relating to conservation issues, and that certain activities which could have a negative impact on animal welfare have been legitimised or supported by legal provisions, discussions involving animals and animal welfare are challenging in the country.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The lack of recognition of the importance of animal welfare as an issue separate to those of animal health and disease control is a considerable barrier to progress. There was no evidence found in legislation that responsibility for animal welfare was allocated in the country (outside the limited remit of the protection of wild animals). This is an obstacle for the production of legal mechanisms that promote the production of legislation and policy to improve animal welfare. It is worth noting that in the case of wild animals, there is evidence of responsibility being allocated to executive bodies of the government and a share of the federal budget being dedicated to this activity. The country could benefit from extending such organisational system to other categories of animals.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The existing legislation does not offer mechanisms by which allocation of responsibility can be enforced or introduced for further categories in the country. It appears that there are no relevant enforcement mechanisms.

G

OIE animal welfare standards

There is no policy or legislation

It is recommended that the government develop legislation and policy to address all of the OIE standards currently approved.  

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The OIE’s standards on animal welfare not only represent a consensual position achieved by countries represented in the organisation with regard to this subject matter, but also provide the necessary scientific background to produce sound policy and legislation on animal welfare. Azerbaijan has participated in discussions of the OIE’s standards, so the government is familiar with them. By developing policy and legislation focusing on the OIE standards, the country would improve the overall system of animal protection.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The country has severe limitations in its progress towards transposition and implementation of the OIE’s standards. This does not appear to be an area of priority work and spending for government. Azerbaijan is a member of the OIE and as has given its support to the OIE’s animal welfare standards and guiding principles for animal welfare. The government is therefore encouraged to incorporate the OIE’s standards and principles within legislation.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Animal welfare standards

Animal welfare standards

This theme examines whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, the extent of engagement with the OIE on animal welfare issues, and whether the government publishes reports on progress in improving animal welfare.

E

Engagement with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

There is policy

There have been commitments to work with the OIE in the past. In 2006 Azerbaijan hosted a capacity building event for the OIE Regional Representation of Eastern Europe. This event focused on “strengthening national veterinary services and animal disease prevention and control policies” (OIE). Furthermore, Azerbaijan is reported to have had an OIE PVS mission completed, but the government did not consent to the report of that mission being made publicly available. There is no evidence of government commitment to follow up or implement actions or recommendations by the organisation, nor could evidence be found to suggest that this interaction is part of any larger decision-making process that would translate into legislation or policy production. 

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The government has taken some important steps towards ensuring that animal health is protected. Considerations fall mainly under compliance with trade standards and international health rules, in particular in relation to trading opportunities. Current interaction with the OIE suggests that animal welfare issues are yet to be addressed directly, but work in relation to animal health can create a framework in which such conversations might take place. The more such work is developed to control animal diseases in the country, the closer and better chances will arise for animal welfare issues to be discussed. The government is therefore encouraged to increase its interaction with the OIE on animal health and animal welfare issues.  

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The lack of recognition of the importance of animal welfare as an issue separate to those of animal health and disease control is a considerable barrier to progress.  No evidence was found according to which the government has allocated budget or a department to interact with OIE on issues regarding animal welfare improvement.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

F

Reporting on progress

There is legislation with partial application

Chapter VI of the Azerbaijani Law on Wildlife (No. 516 IIIG, published on 18 December 2007) includes provisions for government bodies to monitor the utilisation and preservation of wildlife. In spite of this, measures that appear as examples of such provisions limit authorities to patrol activities and provide some police powers in order to facilitate this. In addition, the government has developed a registry system (known as the “Red Book”) which is updated periodically with information on endangered species.

There is nothing to suggest that authorities are expected to produce reports or indicative data on the deliverance of such activities. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that these powers apply to all other categories of animals. 

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

As the country does not have any targeted policy or legislation on which reports could be formulated, reporting activities are impossible to pursue. The current legislation on wildlife monitoring does not appear to include any welfare considerations.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The apparent lack of interest in animal welfare in the country, as evidenced by its policy and legislation, is a considerable barrier to progress. There is no evidence that the government has allocated budget or human resource to producing monitoring and reporting systems in the country.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

Providing humane education

Providing humane education

This theme examines whether issues of animal care and protection are included in the national education system at primary and secondary level, and comments on whether animal welfare issues such as humane handling form part of veterinary medicine education.

G

Education on animal care and protection

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence that the government has included animal care and protection components in the national education system.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The apparent general lack of understanding and concern about animal welfare as an issue is a considerable barrier to progress.

However, the existence of environmental and ecological issues in the education curriculum may present an opportunity for animal protection to be introduced. The Law of the Azerbaijan Republic on environmental education and enlightenment of population (2002) provides for compulsory environmental education in the secondary education system (Article 4.2.2), and this includes issues such as biodiversity[1].

[1] http://www.edu.gov.az/view.php?lang=en&menu=118

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Promoting communication and awareness

Promoting communication and awareness

This theme examines whether there is government consultation and engagement with relevant stakeholders on animal protection issues, such as the development of new legislation and policy and the licensing of scientific research using animals.

G

Consultation with stakeholders

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence that the government has produced policy or legislation according to which committees or specialised bodies in which citizen participation or involvement of the third sector is allowed or encouraged.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The lack of recognition of animal welfare as an issue of national significance is a considerable barrier to progress. There are a number of animal protection organisations active in the country but no evidence was found of the government working with these organisations to develop policy or legislation.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Countries Selected
Select up to four countries and then select 'Compare' to start contrasting animal welfare standards

The EIU forecasts GDP growth over the period 2014-18 to average out at 3.4%. This is lower than for the period 2000-08 because of expected static or declining oil production and prices. As a heavily oil export based economy, long term growth prospects are not favourable, especially as, the EIU argues, diversification and reform of the economy away from its narrow economic base will not take place until oil begins to run out.

 

Date of information: 11/02/2014
Population 
9,297,507 (2012)
GDP 
$$68,726,938,990 (2012)
GDP (PPP) 
$10,624 (2012)
Education expenditure (% of GDP) 
2.8 (2010)