Animal rights activists have welcomed a decision by the government of the United Arab Emirates, an oil rich nation in the Middle East, to implement a ban on residents keeping exotic animals as pets.
The law, which came into effect immediately after it was announced earlier this month, issues harsh penalties for any UAE residents that don’t comply with it. These include fines of almost US$140,000 and up to six months in jail.
The UAE has been a hotspot for wealthy citizens owning exotic animals, including cheetahs, tigers and lions. For many years, animal welfare groups have lobbied for the government to restrict private ownership of exotic animals, citing the growing cases of abuse and neglect by many owners.
Owning a rare animal such as a lion is seen as a status symbol in a nation where excess is all too common. While purchasing endangered species, such as the rare white lion, has …