By Fazeena Saleem
DOHA: A petition signed by about 5,000 people for improving the condition of animals at the pet section of Souq Waqif was handed over to officials yesterday.
Copies of the petition, in a book form comprising the original plea, photos, letters and testimonials with supporting photos from various sources, official comments from online signatories and a full list of signatures, were handed over to four officials, said the creator of the online petition, who sought anonymity.
Documents were directly presented to Mohammed Mustafa Al Salem, head, old market private engineering office, Souq Waqif, and three officials of the Animal Resources Department at the Ministry of Environment — Farhoud Hadi Al Hajri, Director, Dr Mona Qutaifan, head, veterinary licence committee, and Dr Mahmoud E Hamdy, animal health expert, technical office.
The plea on Change.org will continue to collect signatures until action is taken by authorities to improve the condition of animals, the campaigner said. “I will continue to keep the petition open online and continue to enlist supporters until action is taken.”
The petition is a long document with details described as “disturbing behaviours and practices being carried out at the souq over the past few years and, sadly, are still being practised today”.
It separately highlights the condition of turtles, tortoises, iguanas, rabbits, chipmunks, sugar gliders, squirrels and hamsters, birds like African grey parrots, macaws, cockatoos, budgies, cockatiels, canaries chicks and ducklings and dogs and cats.
It says most animals are kept in unsuitable cages and fed a nutrient-deficient and wrong diet for the species.
They are dehydrated due to lack of access to fresh water and may be infected with diseases and parasites, the petition added.
This is a health hazard not only for animals in Qatar, but also for visitors. It says vendors at the pet section lack knowledge about pet welfare and provide false information and documents with regard to animals’ origins and health.