The government is scrambling to amend recent legislation to require hunters to obtain specific permits for their dogs on the condition they have a microchip.
Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis and officials from various government agencies met with Cyprus Hunting Federation on Wednesday to discuss a fast-track amendment that would force hunters to microchip their dogs and register all their canines along with their hunting licences.
The push for the amendment comes days and weeks following a number of incidents of abuse and inhumane treatment of animals that surfaced on social media, including a dog that was thrown off a ditch with its muzzle taped shut and legs tied together. According to media and public speculation, hunters were believed to have been involved in the incident.
The move comes days after a dog was thrown off a ditch with its muzzle taped shut and legs tied together, with public speculation pointing to hunters as the perpetrators
Previous bills in the House had increased the maximum number of dogs allowed per hunter from two to four while proposals sought to introduce microchips as a requirement. It is also illegal for hunters to go hunting with dogs that have no microchips and they violators could face steep fines.
But current legislation does not require hunters to match the identity of their canines to their hunting licence.
Kadis says he is pushing for a fast-track amendment that would require hunters to register the names and chip ID numbers of each of their dogs before a permit can be issued.
“The above measures are expected to contribute significantly to the reduction in the numbers of stray hunting dogs,” the minister said, vowing to introduce a state-wide plan of incentives to help hunters comply.
It was not immediately clear whether a new law would need to pass the House or regulations could be drawn up according to current legislation.
Hunting has been a part of a big debate in Cyprus recently, with authorities trying to regulate some areas and activist groups also targeting illegal poaching. But both were met with local resistance which remained, until now, largely fragmented across the land.
A new movement calling itself the “United Cyprus Hunters Association” also called on hunters to get actively involved in politics “to prevent the destruction of hunting as an institution” according to a UCHA statement.