16 June, 2019

Blog

Call For Animal Welfare: Where’s The Animal Welfare Bill?

By Vositha Wijenayake

Vositha Wijenayake

Vositha Wijenayake

It has been years since Sri Lanka has been speaking of the Animal Welfare Bill which is due to be enacted to address the short-comings of the current laws on animal welfare. However the law is still not finalized, and is heard as having a push back due to certain interests of different actors.

The ongoing attempt to restructure the laws on animal cruelty in the country- the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance of 1907- has reached over a decade, though the Bill is yet to be enacted. Many actors including key animal rights and welfare activists have been instrumental in this process, and are questioning the cause of delay in the already Cabinet approved Bill from moving forward to get enacted.

Need for the Animal Welfare Bill

The law on animal welfare in Sri Lanka at the moment is over 100 years old. Enacted in 1907, there are sections of the Ordinance which are in need of urgent reform; as the fines and sanctions imposed on those violating the laws are outdated, and are very low for most to be deterred in violating them. Some examples include a LKR 100 fine for acts of cruelty to animals, which is extremely ineffective in upholding the intention of the Ordinance (which is to prevent cruelty to animals).

The last amendment to the law was in 1955, and since then there has been no significant reform made to it. In addition to the fines that are low, and not effective, there is also the need to bring all animals that could be victims to cruelty within the purview of the law available in Sri Lanka. The law does not apply to urban wild life, and is limited only to captured or domestic animals. In turn the law applies only to those animals that are in captivity, while excluding those that are not domesticated or caged, creating a very narrow application of the law.

Duty of Care

Many Sri Lankans have animals, or feed animals that are not domesticated such as urban wild life. However they do not take the responsibility towards the care of these animals. While they have a cat or dog that they would consider to be their pet, the kittens and puppies at most times are dropped off at public spaces. This points to the fact that the concept of duty of care is not prevalent amongst us, and it is not included in the 1907 Ordinance. Hence, responsible ownership is missing in the current laws on animal welfare in Sri Lanka.

The proposed Bill addresses this issue through the suggestion to have the concept of duty of care included in it, and the laws on cruelty towards animals including the mistreatment of animals that are urban wildlife, as well as not taking care of those animals that have been taken under one’s charge.

Enacting the Animal Welfare Bill

The proposed Animal Welfare Bill was first presented to the parliament in 2010 by Venerable Athuruliye Rathana thero. The Bill proposes a broader definition of “animals” and also recognizes duty of care for persons in change of animals. It further provides for humane treatment of animals and proposes the establishment of an independent National Animal Welfare Authority.

The Bill was expected to be finalized by the end of this year (at least the expectation of those keen on its enactment was that it would be enacted by end of 2016 with the support of the Cabinet and the Parliament). However at the moment, the Bill seems to be stuck in the pipeline and with not much progress.

It is important to understand the cause of this delay of a Cabinet approved Bill, and to be informed on when one could expect the Bill to be enacted at the soonest. With the current government promoting the values of a cruelty free nation, it is important that we look into preventing all forms of cruelty, and address them. Two questions remain: What/who is (if anyone/anything is) blocking the Animal Welfare Bill’s enactment? If there is no hindrance, why is the Bill not being enacted?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 2
    1

    Enactment of this all important Animal welfare bill is paramount important. However this should not prevent the common man who takes up the livestock as a livelihood from doing so. Environment Authority that was established following another sensitive ‘environment Act has so far given a death blow to so many livestock farmers who had been carrying out their livestock activities for years.
    The people (most of the are posh and have connections with NGO) who are hell-bent on trying to bring this act are very sensitive towards the stray dogs and cats on the road but least worried about the livelihood activities. H.E the President and the Hon.Prime Minister and the cabinet of ministers should not be duped by the people who behind this’so called’ animal well fare Bill.

  • 5
    0

    Vositha Wijenayake

    RE:Call For Animal Welfare: Where’s The Animal Welfare Bill?

    Yes. there is no animal welfare bill.

    However, there is a bill to protect crooks, criminals and killers from the independent commissions, and Gon Gamarala is actively canvassing for it.

    Isn’t Gon Gamarala an animal?

  • 4
    1

    “The law on animal welfare in Sri Lanka at the moment is over 100 years old. Enacted in 1907,”
    “The last amendment to the law was in 1955, ”

    This explains so many things about us, our priorities.. … and the Reality…….

    How about laws or acts for human welfare ?
    I bet most… I mean most.. of our parliamentarians do not know that they are the legislators of the country, do they? .. OR who are legislators OR what are the responsibilities of legislators ??

    I guess, we as a nation shouldn’t even talk about animal welfare .. humans are killed and thrown in to Allawwa River or put into mass graveyards in North East by the Gov… How can we talk about animal welfare laws with our Gov legislators…??

  • 4
    1

    you must be joking here missy

    we dont have welfare for human beings and you talk of animal welfare,people are shot and kiiled for protesting for clean water,tourists are raped,nightclub bouncers hammered by the presidents putha,uni students shot and killed and here your taling of animal welfare….my foot

  • 1
    0

    This law will give legal status to the first pan-sil precept – panathipatha weramani- and so one would expect that all political parties will only be too glad to support this. In fact, all the parliamentarians are avoiding it. How come? The only MP who was prepared to take it up was a JHU monk, but he did not get any support from his party and has now dropped it as well. This article has not dealt with the politics behind this. The argument by Kuleshwarakumar that the Bill will affect livestock farmers is spurious. Most countries in the world who have an Animal Welfare Bill have thriving livestock industries. The bill is designed to prevent inhumane treatment of animals.
    In the meantime, cattle and buffalo continue to be slaughtered in the most inhumane manner and mother-elephants are killed to rob their calves.

  • 4
    1

    Animal rights in a country that has been routinely violating HUMAN RIGHTS since its independence? Animal rights in a country that slaughtered its own civilians by the thousands through bombardment as recently as 2009? Animal rights in a country with the 2nd highest reported cases of enforced disappearances after Iraq? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I bet you were cheering on the slaughter of thousands of Tamils in 2009 as it was happening. Where were you then to speak of rights and welfare? Or Tamil lives worth less than animal lives?
    You people have your priorities mixed up. Then again this is what happens when you believe in your own delusions about a ‘humanitarian rescue operation’. LOL

    • 1
      1

      we tamils have diaspora and auntie Adele to scream about our rights and block highways and give cyanide to little kids

      so far none of them have mentioned slaughter of cattle or anything about animal welfare

      but they shout a lot about tamil welfare

  • 2
    1

    What a bloody joke! In a country where human rights are being violated this woman is raving about animal welfare! No interest in humanity! She seems to be interested in Bestiality!Be careful. As far as I know such unnatural acts are offences punishable under section 365 – Criminal Law.

    • 3
      0

      dont be such an asshole.. and a stupid asshole at that !

    • 3
      0

      Wow Riogenes

      You’ve got one really sick and f’ed up mind, haven’t you ?

  • 0
    0

    maalumiris, if you cannot understand my argument you fool, you stick your maaluminis in your own asshole!

  • 1
    0

    I emphasize the fact that the Animal Welfare has to be condoned and overwhelmingly promoted in Sri Lanka like in other countries that have well-established Ani.Welfare and thriving livestock industry. But the one that is being promulgated in Sri lanka is with some deficiencies which have to be taken off from the intended bill. Unethical slaughtering of animals, cruelty meted when animals are transported, unsuitable and unsanitary housing systems in most of the small holder farms, starving of animals in their captivity, irresponsible pet ownership and treatment of animals by unauthorized persons are some of the points that need close scrutiny when it is being finalized.

  • 0
    0

    Vositha

    As you know Animal welfare is not a urgent project for the Majority even though the Sinhala Buddhist is supposed to subscribe to the idea.

    Why dont you get Otara,Dr Kota,Ven Athuraliya Rathna Thera ,Dr.Gunawardena,Hon Nimal Siripalas wife,and a few dozen NGOO and stage a demo.

    Only numbers speak .Only numbers are voters so more the merrier.If the politicos know that they will not get the future votes if they do not pass the welfare bill they will certainly act to get the bill going.

    In Sri Lanka one has to lobby ,lobby ,lobby ,lobby and Lobby…………

    Only those who bash up night clubs or cut up some cops get the HEADLINES!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.