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IRAN: Pet-product advertising banned as dog owners come under fire


Iranian authorities are cracking down, but this time their target isn't political dissidents or drug traffickers. It's dogs.

Or rather, pets in general. This week, Ayatollah Nasser Makkarem Shirazi, a powerful cleric, issued a fatwa that was later passed into law banning any advertisements about pets or alluding to the buying, selling or keeping of pets, according to the Mehr news agency.

The fatwa was issued in response to a question by the country's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, which serves as Iran's censor. 

The ministry's Advertisement and Information Dissemination Office  vowed to crack down on ads promoting pet foods, especially for cats and dogs.

In June, Shirazi issued a fatwa against keeping dogs as pets, although that ruling was not made into law. At the time, Shirazi slammed dog owners for "blindly imitating the West," which, he said, would result in "evil outcomes."

"Many people in the West love their dogs more than their wives and children," he said.

The fatwa cites Islamic tradition, which dictates dogs are unclean based on testimonies from the followers of the prophet Mohammad known as hadith.

Keeping dogs as pets has become fashionable among Iranians in recent years, especially among well-to-do urban families. Although pet dogs are not technically illegal, walking a dog in a public place like a park can earn the owner a hefty fine.

A report on Shirazi's fatwa against pet dogs that appeared in the Abu Dhabi-based National newspaper speculated that the crackdown on pets may have more to do with class politics than Islamic law. The ruling conservative party has traditionally championed the working class while painting opposition activists as frivolous, corrupt cosmopolitans.

“The authorities can’t stop people from buying expensive cars or clothes and jewelery,” an unnamed analyst in Tehran told the paper. “But they can prevent them from displaying their wealth by keeping pet dogs on the grounds that they are unclean.”

But  rather than discourage people from buying dogs, one pet-shop owner reported an increase in the sale of small dogs that are easy to hide.

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: Pet owners at a veterinary clinic in Isfahan. Credit: Mehr News

Comments () | Archives (76)

If dog's are forbidden in Islam because they are "unclean" and "harmful" for people's health, the air Tehranis breath, the alchemical people eat in their foods, the chemicals people wash their windows and floors, etc etc are way more harmful for health (forget about smoking, driving carelessly, not wearing sunglasses and suncream, etc)...I wonder if Islam is so concerned about the health of people, why it does not ban the use of these harmful substances/activities?????

It sounds like those that issue the fatwas are the ones who are unclean. As I understand their religion, no one should come between the individual and Allah (God) but just like the Catholic church, a whole hierarchy has been put into place as an intermediary between the individual and God.

Being a the child of a immigrant, I respect other countries' laws no matter how weird they seem. However, with this law, I just don't understand the reasoning.

Referring to Mike D | August 26, 2010 at 08:20 AM: "Wouldn't using nuclear power and weapons also be "blindly imitating the West?"

In the 50's when the US and Britain thought they have the control of Iran's natural resources, and did not want to share it with the Iranians, the US convinced(forced) the Shah to start a nuclear program in Iran.
The existing 5 MWe Iranian nuclear research reactor (TNRC) was sold to Tehran by the US in 1965.
And as for to the "blindly imitating the US(The U.S. is the first and only country ever to use nuclear weapons. Washington has never shown regret for the bombings nor apologized for causing such monumental destruction and devastation of human life)", Iran has a loooong way to go. Nothing so far compares to the US destruction throughout the world.

... dog have to go underground but they can't images what all the fuss is about over the 9/11 mosque site. Go Figure.

Anyone who has grown up with dogs as pets knows that they are indeed mans' best friend. This law is disgusting and cruel. Dogs have helped elderly people with depression, they sniff out bombs --can humans do that? They help the police solve crimes, they never expect anything in return except and are always there to keep us company. Iran is living in the dark ages and it is horrible.
Everyone should read the book, "Animals Make Us Human".
I am surprised at the comments below that applaud the action of Iran's government. Despicable! Just because your neighbor's dog barks a lot is no need to support a ban on dogs. Babies cry a lot, people complain a lot, cats meow a lot--do we ban them?

Just why????? Beyond silly...again, the power of a theocracy is crazy!!!!!

I thank the Times and other main scream media for the decades-long, non-stop demonizing of Iran. It won't be long before the majority of us want to kill all Iranians as a final solution to their inhumanity. Keep hate alive.

@ Ricky

I totally agree. Those Tea Party people are scary.


""Many people in the West love their dogs more than their wives and children," he said."


And this is from an area of the world where many guys still blow their nose in their fingers, refuse to wear deodorant under their bacteria ridden/stinky armpits, and treat the women and young girls in their lives as though they were property.

I've got news for them, most dogs are no dirtier than many, if not most, people. Let this religion of one heck-of-a weird kind of peace show some tolerance and common sense.
And for the person who posted negatively about the "white people" who treat their dogs like children. You're the one who seems “sad,” and judgmental. You don't know that the babied pets are the ones dumped in shelters. You sound like the religious loon in the article who magically knows that folks in the west treat their dogs better than their wife and kids.

And, this may shock you, but many people of color have pets that they love and baby. Look at Barry Bonds and his Yorkie, or Bill Cosby and his terriers. Chinese royalty traditionally kept pampered lap dogs in their sleeves, and many middle class Asians have beloved dogs in their homes, today. And I've known many Latinas with lap dogs that they refer to, and treat, as their babies. So what? It doesn't mean that they're hurting anyone--- canine or human.

If I correct, this so-called prophet Mohammad was a cat lover, in fact, he was said to have several cats as pets, so if this is correct, what's the deal with saying that dogs are dirty and should therefore be banned altogether? I don't understand these religious nuts and their rules and regulations. Like I've said before . . . "religion, oppressing mankind for over 2000 years"

I'm so tired of religious leaders of any faith trying to dictate what people can and cannot do and what they can own or not own. Although I'm not an Islamic expert, isn't a dog one of God's creatures? What "evil outcome" could possibly come from owning a dog? The ignorance of some people is absolutely galling....

Wouldn't using nuclear power and weapons also be "blindly imitating the West?"

I agree with the Ayatollah whats his face, my dog is filthy, sheds everywhere, and drools. Its AWESOME!

Really, if the middle east was turned into a giant nuclear dust bowl would anyone lose any sleep what so ever? Sure there are people here with loved ones there but everyone can't be saved from themselves and their primitive culture.

Now railing against pets because it imitates the west? Guess what ab-whatever, we use electricity and running water too. Better shut that off in your precious homeland.

All religion is evil, trying to control the masses and turn a buck.

Wow! people in this country are really mad. When I first read this story in the Tehran Times, I couldn't stop smiling for an hour. And we can all learn from this. Look at the picture. Broaden your horizons. Did you know that all the Iranians carried their dogs everywhere. I didn't. Or that they had adapted the Google Street View license plate blurrer to human faces? Or that pet food from the Great Satan was getting through the sanctions. The CIA needs to assign a team to this, before it is too late.

Hey Iran, we are over here trying to stop the war mongers from attacking you and we all have dogs. Get some brains, okay....

fatwa? Evil from dogs ? What planet are theese idiots from?

This is because Ayatollah Nasser Makkarem Shirazi prefers to eat dogs and is afraid that private ownership will erode his ability to get dinner for free off the street.

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