Animal Protection Law of Turkey 5199 – checked and refreshed 2022

Date September 2010: Below is the primary animal protection law of Turkey. It is stated as being a “bill” and “law”. A bill is usually a statute that is in the embryonic stage but, that said, this is the law at present. It is reproduced verbatim. Acts are almost invariably in the public domain for obvious reasons. This page has been checked, refreshed and republished as at January 11, 2022. The purpose is to make sure that this website keeps pace with changes in the law. This page should be accurate as at this date.

Imam in Turkey loves cats
Imam Efe loves cats and his congregation accept this and I hope see its significance and historical context. What I mean is that Turkey is a Muslim country and the Prophet Muhammad love cats. Strictly speaking and in an ideal world all Muslims should respect all cats feral or domestic.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

It is clear from the introduction that this is a general animal welfare law. On my understanding of it, it is an umbrella animal welfare law of reasonable quality. This doesn’t surprise me because from what I have seen of the relationship between community cats and Turkish citizens, there is an instinctive respect for animals in Turkey among a decent percentage of the citizens. That is not to say that everyone respects animals. There will be animal cruelty and abuse in Turkey.

In fact, this law is rather weak because animal cruelty in Turkey is considered a minor crime (a misdemeanour in American terms). On conviction perpetrators will not be sent to prison. A fine is applicable. But the background attitude towards animals appears to be at least reasonable. This beats a lot of countries. I have reproduced their animal welfare law verbatim on this page. I have also provided a link to a PDF file which contains the same legal document (see below also).

Turkey has their own animal rights Federation called HAYTAP which stands for Hayvan Hakları Federasyonu. It is a unified organisation created out of five animal rights associations. Its objective is to improve animal welfare and minimise animal cruelty. It appears to lobby the Turkish Parliament and engages in training and education programs in schools. It also uses public relations to spread the word. It was formed in 2008.

This is their video:

Either click on the link below to see Turkey’s animal welfare law (the major one as I understand it) or you can scroll down this page to read the same text.

Animal Protection Law of Turkey 5199


no. 5199




Basis No: 1/323

Accepted: June 24, 2004


General Provisions


Purpose, Scope, Definitions and Principles


ARTICLE 1 – The purpose of this law is to ensure that animals are afforded a comfortable life and receive good and proper treatment, to protect them in the best manner possible from the infliction of pain, suffering and torture, and to prevent all types of cruel treatment.


ARTICLE 2 – This Law includes the regulations to be made in line with the purpose article, the precautions to be taken, the coordination, supervision, restrictions and obligations to be imposed and the penal provisions to be enforced.



In this Act, the terms;

a) Habitat: means the natural home of an animal or a group of animals,

b) Ethology: means the branch of science which studies the naturally occurring behaviour of animals according to their species,

c) Ecosystem: means the biological, physical and chemical system within which living organisms carry out their relationships with each other and their non-living surroundings,

d) Species: means populations which are capable of mating and interbreeding productively with each other,

e) Domesticated animal: means animals which have been cultivated and trained by humans,

f) Ownerless animal: means domestic animals which do not have a place to shelter or which are outside the limits of the house or land of their owner or guardian or which are not under the control or direct supervision of any owner or guardian,

g) Incapacitated animal: means an animal used for riding or transportation which for various reasons such as age, maiming, injury or illness, not including contagious and epidemic animal illnesses, has physically lost the ability to work,

h) Wild animal: means vertebrate and invertebrate animals living freely in nature which have not been domesticated or cultivated.

ı) Domestic animals and pets: means all type of animals retained or intended to be retained by people in their houses, workplaces or on their land for private pleasure or security purposes whose care and responsibility is undertaken by their owners,

j) Controlled animal: means duly registered house animals and pets which have been adopted by a person, institution, organisation or legal entity and whose care, vaccinations and periodic health check-ups are carried out.

k) Animal Shelter: means a facility for the rehabilitation of animals,

l) Testing: means the use of an animal for an experimental or other scientific purpose which will cause the animal pain, suffering, misery or long term damage,

m) Test animal: means an animal which is or will be used in testing,

n) Slaughter animal: means animals which are slaughtered for food purposes,

o) Ministry: means the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry,


ARTICLE 4 – The fundamental principles relating to the protection of animals and their welfare are as follows;

a) All animals are born equal and have a right to life within the framework of the provisions of this Law.

b) Domesticated animals have the freedom to live according to the living conditions specific to their species. The lives of ownerless animals should be supported in the same way as those of animals with owners.

c) The necessary measures must be taken in order to protect, supervise and care for animals and shield them from maltreatment.

d) It is a principle that natural persons and legal entities which meet the conditions set forth in this Law and which look after or wish to look after incapacitated or ownerless animals without consideration of any material gain or benefit but rather acting from a sense of humanitarian and conscientious responsibility will be encouraged and coordination in this regard will be ensured.

e) It is a principle that endangered species and their natural habitats will be protected.

f) It is a principle that wild animals will not be removed from their natural habitats, and animals which are living freely in nature will not be captured and deprived of their freedom.

g) In the protection of animals and the facilitation of their welfare, the hygiene, health and safety of humans and other animals must be taken into account.

h) It is a principle that animals will be cared for, fed, sheltered and transported under the conditions suited to their species.

ı) Those that transport animals or have them transported must do so in a suitable environment and under suitable conditions according to their species and nature, and they must be fed and cared for during transportation.

j) It is a principle that local authorities, in cooperation with voluntary organisations, must establish animal shelters and hospitals for the protection of ownerless and incapacitated animals, provide care and treatment for them and carry out educational programmes.

k) It is a principle that the owners of cats and dogs being fed and accommodated in communal areas are expected to have them sterilised in order to prevent uncontrolled reproduction.  Furthermore, those who wish to breed from the said animals must register all young animals born and are responsible for their care and/or distribution.

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