The government will enact new laws to prevent animals being subjected to various forms of cruelty, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.
United National Party (UNP) MP Lakshman Kiriella moved an adjournment motion in the House seeking Parliamentary attention on the welfare of animals, either kept as pets or caged in zoos. Mr. Kiriella, in his motion, said the global trend was to close down zoos by releasing animals to their natural habitats.
“Though Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, it is unfortunate that the issue of cruelty to animals is not very much focused in Sri Lanka. Animal cruelty takes place in many forms - caging, held in captivity, inadequate sustenance, slaughter and so on. Big cats, eagles and other animals travel long distances daily when living free,” he said. He referred to a number of zoos closed down in the United States and some other countries.
Detroit Zoo in Michigan, Philadelphia Zoo in Pennsylvania, the London Zoo and the Bristol zoo are some of them.
The UNP MP said the existing laws did not do enough to prevent cruelty to animals, and therefore urged the government strengthen the laws as soon as possible. He said even lighting firecrackers harmed animals.
Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva acknowledged the facts placed before the House by the UNP MP.
Stressing the importance of ‘responsible pet ownership’, he said the government had taken note of the fact that zoos were being closed down in the world today.
“I agree with Mr. Kiriella in this case. We have to treat both humans and animals alike. It mirrors our civility then. We have paid special attention to this matter. There is the need for a law to deal with keeping pets. We are planning to amend the already existing laws dealing with cruelty to animals. We are working with the Attorney General’s Department,” he said. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)