25 October, 2021

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Sri Lanka To Protect Domesticated Elephants: When Do We Enact The Animal Welfare Bill?

By Avanthi Jayasuriya

Avanthi Jayasuriya

Avanthi Jayasuriya

On November 22nd the Cabinet approved a bill focusing on elephants kept domestically. The regulations that were proposed by Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera included also a set of guidelines that should be adhered to by those seeking to rear domestic elephants. Some of the main areas of focus underlined include,  formalizing the way to maintain the places elephants are kept, maintaining their health, responsibilities of their owners and caretakers, caring of baby elephants born to such female elephants, deploying elephants in work, reproduction, using for perahera and video shootings, and attires for elephants. This proposal also falls under amendments to the Flora and Fauna Act No.22 of 2009.

Speaking on the recently approved Bill Ms. Deepani Jayantha, Veterinarian, Country Coordinator of Elemotion said, “Some of Sri Lanka’s recent developments and steps taken on securing elephant conservation and welfare is commendable. But with legislation, there is also the need for enforcement. I hope the implementation of the proposed Bill for the protection of elephants will come into effect soon.”elephants in Sri Lanka

While due appreciation is given to the positive change towards the treatment of elephants by seeking to prevent them from being subjected to cruelty, it also needs to be noted that it has been almost a year since the Cabinet approval for the draft Animal Welfare Bill was received. Unfortunately the Bill still remains at the Legal Draftsman’s office while many animal welfare activists eagerly await its enactment. Almost a decade in the making, the draft bill was approved by the Cabinet following the public consultation that was last held in 2015. Following the proposed changes received by the public consultation, the Cabinet approval for the Bill was received on January 13, 2016. There onwards the Bill was passed to the legal draftsman for the changes to be incorporated into the Bill, and for it to be drafted with the changes included.

The last amendment to the law addressing cruelty to animals that Sri Lanka has seen, was in 1955. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance of 1907 under which welfare of animals is taken into consideration is over a century old, with outdated fines, and the implementation being on a rare occasion and therefore, is in need of urgent reforms.

Attorney-at-Law, Vositha Wijenayake, Convener of Animal Welfare Coalition of Sri Lanka said, “The AWC is appreciative of the changes proposed to safeguards elephants from being subjected to cruelty which were approved by the Cabinet. It is equally important to know when the proposed law on animal welfare will be enacted. This Bill has been on its way to get to this point for a very long time. I think everyone is eager to know when this could turn into law which will help uphold animal welfare in Sri Lanka.”

Civil Society Organisations and actors have highlighted the need for more humane animal welfare laws in the country for many years. As a result of these calls, the draft Animal Welfare Bill was tabled in Parliament. The Bill was presented to the parliament in October, 2010 by Venerable Athuruliye Rathana Thero as a private member bill. The new legislation proposed has as its objective to replace the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance of 1907, and to recognise duty of care for persons in charge of animals to treat the animals humanely, 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.
“In order to have a good animal welfare system in Sri Lanka, it is important to have duty of care for persons in charge of animals to treat animals humanely, as well as having strong laws for those who cause cruelty against animals,” said Ms. Wijenayake. “We hear stories of cruelty to animals, but without a law that is robust, it is not always helpful to take legal actions against the perpetrators who behave inhumanely and in a cruel amnner towards animals,” she added.

The Animal Welfare Coalition of Sri Lanka which was set up with the objective of advocating and lobbying for a new animal welfare bill, consists of numerous animal welfare organisations, and volunteers keen on seeing the Animal Welfare Bill enacted. The member organisations and volunteers seek to actively engage in taking actions to ensure that laws on animal welfare are efficient and effective, and to protect animals from being subjected to cruelty.

“It is important that the Animal Welfare Bill is enacted to ensure effective and efficient laws on cruelty to animals in Sri Lanka. The current law dates back to 1907, and lacks in deterrent effect which prevents protection of animals against cruelty. It is time we change these laws, and make sure that the long over due Animal Welfare Bill is passed for efficient actions against cruelty to animals,” said Vositha Wijenayake.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    0

    Tough Legislation is needed but equally it needs to be implemented. Lankan society as a whole needs to be educated on Animal Rights. MAny Animals act better than most humans in sri lanka today. The people of this nation have shown much cruelty to DEFENSELESS animals. Yet only a few voices come out to change. Animal rights of a nation are equally also to Human rights. Well done for CMB to carry this article. I hope CMB telegraph equally keeps a eye out on abuses and pursues the police who do not implement any law.

    • 1
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      There will be a 92-minute documentary on Indian temple elephants at the National Film Corporation theatre, 303 Bauddhaloka Mw at 5. 30 pn on Thurs 1 Dec. It is a UN nominated documentary & the winner of 8 awards. “Gods in Shackles”.

      • 1
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        Correction! The public screening of the elephant film will be on 8th December not 1st, at the same time and place

  • 3
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    Avanthi Jayasuriya

    RE: Sri Lanka To Protect Domesticated Elephants: When Do We Enact The Animal Welfare Bill

    I am a bit confused.

    Sri Lanka To Protect Domesticated Elephants: When Do We Enact The Animal Welfare Bill.

    Do you mean the Wild crooks and killers Rajapaksas, to be protected by the Turncoats, Traitors, and Gonas

  • 5
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    I think there are plans to remove Dehiwala zoo caged animals. That is quite welcome.

    The idea of caging animals for people’s entertainment just bothersome at many levels.

  • 2
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    — and its vulnerable minority of all sorts!

    Dr.RN

    • 1
      0

      vulnerable minority

      Get free education. GO overseas and start bashing because, it is now your own country.

      Would they do the samething in south India ?

      • 4
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        The free education is funded by the tax money from the rich, mostly Tamils. The Tamils should stop paying the tax for free education for Sinhalase. The saffron trannies are not getting the education they desperately need. instead chanting in the temples “bla bla bla its in the Youtube that Tamils are from India. bla bla bla its in the Youtube my ancestors came from Lion, if bestiality is ok, then let us abuse young boys and gang rape young girls bla bla, the only way to reach nirvana is to steal people land and commit genocide bla bla”

  • 2
    4

    Sri Lankan government needs to protect its Sinhala-Buddhist population from the Tamil-Muslim threat! We Sinhalese are the real victims and our human rights have been violated by NGOs and imperialist west also the evil Tamil racist diasspora. First protect the rights of Sinhalese who are treated worse than animals in this country. #SaveOurWarHeroes

  • 0
    1

    In Srilanka we are more interested animal welfare than it’s own people. What gives ?

  • 6
    1

    The Sinhala R

    “Sri Lankan government needs to protect its Sinhala-Buddhist population from the Tamil-Muslim threat!”

    Sri Lankan government needs to protect itself from Sinhala/Buddhists.

    Sri Lankan government should protect Sinhalese, Buddhists, Tamils, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians from Sinhala/Buddhists.

    The state and government are being run by the Sinhala/Buddhists who else will protect Sinhalese, Buddhists, Tamils, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians from the Sinhala/Buddhist state and government?

  • 1
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    Animal rights must be safeguarded at any cost.

    It’s encouraging to see that there’re people to accept the fact that animal rights are equal to human rights.

    Depending on that, we can’t be animal flesh eaters even if they were slaughtered giving least possible pain.

    we can’t use them in processions/circuses/zoos and even as pets.

    All the domesticated animals also should be trained to their natural life and released to their natural habitat.

    No more animal farms as animal husbandry will be an obsolete concept.

    We(human beings)have to adhere to strict birth control methods so as to stop grabbing land belong to animals for our consumption.

    Avanthi Jayasuriya, are you ready to make the sacrifices?

    If your answer is negative please stop writing about animals rights.

    • 0
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      @sr

      Humans are supposed to aspire to higher things. Treating all living creatures properly is one of these things.

      You seem to be an intelligent sort of person – you cant be ignorant of the abuse that goes on in circuses, farms and suchlike.

      No one is talking about eliminating farming or becoming vegetarian. The bill is for animal ‘welfare’.. Do look up the meaning of the word

      Don’t be such a schmuck

  • 0
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    This title and photos imply that only the Sri lankan elephants are a concern for this “animal Welfare”

    How about Cattle, Beef, chicken killing for food ?

    • 2
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      How about elephants used in Kandy Perehara by Safron saree wearing trannies ?

  • 3
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    We need to enact the Human Welfare Bill first in order to save humans from marauding human-lion hybrids.

    • 0
      1

      SinhalaPropaganda

      We have enough loudmouths and wiseguys like you to protect the interests of humans

    • 0
      0

      Why ?

      Various versions of 13th amendment will not work ?

      • 1
        0

        Why should it work ?

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