Greater protection for animals
Wednesday September 28, 2011
THE announcement by Veterinary Services director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin of the new Animal Welfare Act will mark the next phase of the law relating to animals in Malaysia.
Now is the right time to replace the old Animals Act 1953 that animal welfare groups regard as having no bite to curb animal abuse. The new Act hopefully will accord greater protection to animals in Malaysia.
There is a need for stronger laws to assure the well-being of animals and reduce their suffering.
The obligation of humans and owners in ensuring the welfare of animals is not merely providing food and water. It needs to be extended to providing adequate shelter, protection from – and treatment of – injury and disease, and proper handling.
In the coming Act, I would suggest the Department of Veterinary Services consider three important keys with regard to animal welfare issues: obligation of people towards animals, codes of welfare to establish the minimum standard, and regulations to monitor the use of animals in many aspects of life like food, entertainment and research.
I would also suggest the department consider a moderate model in preparing the provisions for the new Animal Welfare Act.
The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, Universal Declaration on Animal Rights, the UK Animal Welfare Act 2006 and New Zealand Animal Welfare Act 1999 can be possible references.
The most important consideration is for the new Act to have the best interest of animals at heart, and at the same time suit the local circumstances.
There should be no further delay in tabling this new Act in Parliament.
Delays will affect access to justice, and justice delayed is justice delayed. Animals also have the right to be treated and respected accordingly in the Malaysian legal system.
ARIF FAHMI MD YUSOF,