Turkey’s Interior Ministry has issued a circular regarding the welfare and feeding of stray animals affected by social distancing policies in place to stem the spread of coronavirus.
On Sunday the ministry urged local councils to leave food at designated locations on a regular basis so that the animals would not starve, reported the Daily Sabah.
“Food and water will be left at the living environments of street animals such as parks and gardens and particularly animal shelters,” the ministry said.
This comes following a report last week by Middle East Eye that pets in Turkey are increasingly being abandoned while street animals were left to starve as the coronavirus crisis deepened in the country.
One representative from a Turkish-based animal rights organisation Animal Rights Federation, known as Haytap, told MEE: “There has been about a 20 percent increase. People abandon their pets outside of our offices or call us and ask whether they should be leaving them to us or give them to animal shelters.”
Some animals may have been abandoned due to misinformation that animals can pass on the contagion onto humans with the stray animals being adversely affected because of fewer people on the streets. Stray animals in Turkey are vaccinated by local municipalities’ veterinarians and are also regularly fed and represented by a culture of caring for needy animals.
On 4 April, the Environment and Urbanization Minister, Murat Kurum urged Turkish citizens to provide food and water for stray animals in a message which coincided with World Street Animals Day.
Kurum said in a message on Twitter: “In these difficult days, we are not forgetting our friends and leaving food and water in front of our homes.”
Turkish authorities continue to impose new measures in an effort to combat COVID-19, including restrictions on the movement of those 20 or younger and those 65 or older, along with those suffering from chronic diseases.
According to statistics, there are currently 30,217 cases of the virus which has so far claimed 649 lives. Worldwide, there has been a reported 76,367 deaths out of 1,362,687 cases.