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Posted On: 27 August 2018 05:42 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:19 pm

Souq Waqif pet shops: we need change!

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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Edit: The original article has been rewritten with views in line with iLoveQatar's stance. - Khalifa

Souq Waqif is a must-visit tourist attraction and a great place to pick up a few souvenirs and enjoy traditional Arabic cuisine. It's also a place that has deterred a lot of people not only due to the practice of selling animals, but the the inhumane environment that they are forced to live in while waiting for their new 'masters'. A pet is family, if you agree with this, read on below.

(Photo credit: Lea Duhaini)

Mohamed, who manages one of the pet shops, said to Gulf times, the pet stores are one of the “best” attractions and crowd drawers at Souq Waqif. Therein lies the problem; the poor creatures are seen as nothing more than a display or tool by some store vendors. Many years ago this area had cages stuffed with far too many animals, dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and more were unable to move and many even suffocated or had dislocated joints due to their confinement. The authorities stepped in to better regulate the area after a number of articles and social media posts put the spotlight in the area. it's crazy to think of, but these sellers had to be forced by regulation in order to 1- keep cages cleaned regularly 2- not use toxic paint to dye animals 3- having cold fresh water 4- regularly feed the animals 5- and to not pile animals on top of each other. So what happened?

Parrots are high in demand

Blue Indian Ringed Parrots on sale at the Birds' Bazaar in Doha
(Blue Indian Ringed Parrots on sale at the Birds' Bazaar in Doha)

As time passed, it looked like there wasn't enough policing and some stores went back into their terrible ways. With birds like parrots becoming in high demand, the only thing that mattered was the bottom line. The problem? US. We are the problem, the shops are literally telling us that. If people didn't demand it, they wouldn't supply it. What's worse, during the summer, people travel out of the country, and with less people to buy the birds during the scorching heat, many of them die. To put things into perspective, animals are locked in cages to their death.

Remember the paint we talked about? Birds that were colored a bright neon color (to attract the visitors by the way) had the potential of being blinded by the dye.

Have you ever left a bottle of water out in the sun? Have you tried drinking it after a while? See the photo below? Not all those cages have a cover to protect the animals from the sun! So while this might be seen as some as an 'attraction', to those people who understand what the word HUMANE is, this is more of a detractor than anything else.

So what can Souq Waqif do?

That's not to say that there isn't a good side to the animal section. Some vendors choose to not sell animals, but food, toys and accessories. All the things you need to keep your precious friend healthy and happy. Some areas of the souq have vets and even training grounds for falcons. Our proposal is to turn this area of the souq into a beacon of positive change. Imagine a place that's focused on all your furry (or feathery) friend's needs. A place that you could turn to for medical help, training, feeding, or even walk around with your pet! To do this we need you. In the next few days, we're going to put together a plan to reform the animal section of the souq, and we want your ideas and skills. Share your thoughts below if you've got something to say. Are you a designer? Maybe help us sketch out what the location could look like. Know someone that has the power to make this vision come to life? We need you.

What else can you do?

Adopt! There are far too many animals in need of a loving home and the animal welfare societies are suffering. These organizations are usually run by members of the public. Caring people who actually want to make a difference and to help those that can't help themselves. Look, we get it, you don't have the time to volunteer all the time and make a difference, and if you can't adopt, then donate. Have a few extra riyals? Perhaps you have some nice toys or pet food? They need that too! They're doing all the hard work and the volunteers need some help too.

Interested in doing something? Below are a list of animal welfare societies that you can like, follow, adopt from, volunteer, and donate to.

QAWS: Qatar Animal Welfare Society

2nd Chance Animal Rescue

PAWS Rescue

Cats in Qatar

Lost and Found Pets - Qatar

Did this article help you to learn more about pet shops in Qatar? Do let us know in the comments section below. And don't forget to like and share this article - It keeps us going!