People who are concerned about animal welfare should be concerned about global matters. In the West we tend to focus too much on what happens in the West with respect to animal welfare. This is my personal viewpoint.
We also tend to be fed a distorted view of what goes on in countries other than in the West by the news media. For example, the only news that we receive about Iran concerns political matters and Iran’s relationship with America. Other than that we are bombarded with stories about Iran’s desire to create nuclear weapons. On occasions we hear about revolutionary activity and the quashing of freedoms by the state. It doesn’t paint a very pleasant picture of life in Iran.
However, I’m sure that life goes on as normal for 99% of the citizens of Iran. I don’t have a right to be judgemental or to make assessments about another country if I have little knowledge of the country but in my opinion Iran is an advanced country (I write that in a non-patronising way). Iranians often speak good English, education is of a high standard, and the country has advanced systems in place as we do here in the West. In fact I have driven through Iran in the 1971 so I do know a bit about the country. I have also worked with Iranians in London.
Some time ago, I wrote an article on the subject of Iranian cats but a lot of it was guesswork gleaned from little hard information. Yesterday, I received a comment from an Iranian living in Tehran:
hi, I’m an Iranian living in Tehran, I own three cats myself and have been feeding about 20 feral cats in my neighborhood for past 3 years. I take sick ones to pet clinics and animal rights associations every time I stumble upon. I’m sure there are other people who do these things. maybe there aren’t too many but it’s getting better! (Nima)
I thought the comment very similar to those we receive from people in the USA. I have asked visitor to write more!
Below is a video about an animal hospital in Iran which indicates that they have high standards of animal welfare (at least in this hospital). Note the animal ambulance, for example.
An Iranian filmmaker Mahraz Shahnazi has made a 38 min film documenting the lives of some of Iran’s weakest members of society, their cats. A short extract of the film is available on YouTube and the still photographs at the top of this page are screenshots from it. Here is Part One of the video:
Shahnazi states that some people in Iran love and care for their cats. But for many people the cat has become a pest and I suspect that this is because there are many street cats in Iran. Cats left to their own devices on the streets will simply survive and procreate and as we know live rather short and, sometimes, not very pleasant lives (but isn’t this how the original domestic cats lived?). It is these feral and stray cats who are seen as pests by a percentage of Iranian citizens.
There appears to be a need for extensive trap-neuter-release programs in Iran and some sort of control over cat ownership to prevent further stray and feral cats – very similar problems to those that we read about in North America. It is quite reassuring in fact to see that that is the case. I suspect that many of the street cats are ill treated and killed but as Nima’s comment above tells us there are also many Iranians who care about their welfare.
There is no doubting that there are some pedigree cats in Iran but relative to the overall cat population in Iran the percentage will be much less than in the USA. This is rather ironic because Iran is meant to be the country from which the Persian cat originates. The Persian cat is probably the iconic purebred, pedigree cat and a cat breed that has one of the longest histories.