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Monday June 10, 2013

Pass the Animal Welfare Bill

I AM looking forward to the first meeting of the 13th Parliament scheduled to be held on June 24.

In particular, I, together with the many animal lovers, look forward to the Animal Welfare Bill becoming the law this year.

The Bill proposes that first-time offenders be fined between RM20,000 and RM100,000 or face a jail term of up to three years. For repeated offenses the perpetrators will be fined double the amount imposed for their previous offense and will also face a jail term of three months.

The director general of the Veterinary Department, Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin, has been quoted by the press to have said that the Bill has been refined after taking into consideration suggestions by participants in a series of public engagements.

Dr Aziz who is an ardent animal lover himself has assured the public that the Animal Welfare Bill 2013 will be all encompassing. Apparently according to him, provisions will be included in the new Bill for an extensive and intensive enforcement of the law with the introduction of Animal Cops.

Datuk Dr Aziz became an instant “darling” to many of the animal lovers when he went to add that, “Animals cannot talk, they cannot take to the streets and hold a demonstration. We need to have something punitive to act as a deterrent against animal abuses.”

At the same press conference, the then Agriculture and Agro based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar reaffirmed to the public that the Animal Welfare Bill will be gazetted in 2013.

In view of all these open promises, I hope the authorities concerned, especially the Attorney General’s Chambers, will not delay forwarding the finetuned Animal Welfare Bill to the attention of our MPs in Parliament.

The passing of this Bill will put Malaysia on par with many of the civilized countries in the world.

In parting I wish to share what a famous British novelist, critic and a campaigner for social reforms including animal rights, Lady Brigid Antonia Brophy (1929-1995) has to say about animal welfare and rights.

“I don’t hold animals superior or even equal to humans. The whole case for behaving decently to animals rests on the fact that we are the superior species. We are the species uniquely capable of imagination, rationality, and moral choice - and that is precisely why we are under an obligation to recognize and respect the rights of animals”




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