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Animal Welfare, a timely need for Sri Lanka

5 October 2015 07:03 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Animal Welfare Coalition of Sri Lanka on the occasion of the International Animals’ Day which was celebrated on Sunday (04) strongly emphasises the need to pass the Animal Welfare Bill in Sri Lanka. The law on cruelty to animals is over a century old, and needs urgent reforms with outdated fines, the implementation being on a rare occasion.  Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance No. 13 of 1907  of which the most recent amendment dates back to 1955 remains archaic, and the triviality of its penalties has proven to have no detrimental effect on those violating the law, and in turn fails to prevent cruelty to animals.



“Cruelty to animals in Sri Lanka is evident and a key issue. It happens due to a lack of awareness and/or concern and sometimes it is deliberate; and the existing animal welfare framework is inadequate to protect animals from such inhumane treatment.” said Shiona Weerasekera, Secretary of the AWPA.
In addressing animal welfare it is necessary to bring all animals within the definition of “animals” to which the law applies. At present Sri Lanka has a lot of urban wildlife, while the 1955 Ordinance applies only to a domestic or a captured animal. This includes any bird, fish, or reptile in captivity. This further excludes animals which are not domesticated or caged.

“It is our culture to feed animals but there is no responsible  ownership. The extent to which we care for animals goes merely as far as to feeding them.  We need to be more responsible towards animals and should prevent cruelty to animals and their needs,” added Dr. Ganga De Silva, Director Operations at Blue Paw Trust.
 

"It is our culture to feed animals but there is no responsible  ownership. The extent to which we care for animals goes merely as far as to feeding them.  We need to be more responsible towards animals and should prevent cruelty to animals and their needs,” added Dr. Ganga De Silva"



President of Sathva Mithra further highlighted the need for a new legislation in Sri Lanka for animal welfare. Sagarika Rajakarunanayake said, “We need to prioritise the protection and the welfare of animals in the country. The politicians need to act to ensure that cruelty to animals is prevented.”

Civil society organisations working on animal welfare have highlighted the need for reform of law in this regard, and the need for passing the new Animal Welfare Bill. The new legislation which is proposed has as its objective to replace the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance of 1907, to prevent cruelty to animals and to secure the protection and welfare of animals, to establish a National Animal Welfare Authority and Regulations and Codes of Practice and to raise awareness on animal welfare.

“The Bill has been open for public comments. We need to see it tabled in Parliament for approval. Ignoring the need to address the issue of cruelty to animals, as well as the outdated nature of legislations that are available on this topic should come to an end,” said the Convenor of Animal Welfare Coalition Vositha Wijenayake.


 


Animal Welfare Coalition is a coalition of CSOs working on animal welfare in Sri Lanka with the objective of working together on issues related to animal welfare, and advocating for the passing of the Animal Welfare Bill in Sri Lanka. For further information please contact,
Bhagya Wickramasinghe on +94 774 700 995.
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