De Lima proposes stiff penalties vs crimes on animal abuse, emergency animal response and rescue system

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Recognizing records of animal cruelty in the country, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure seeking to impose stiffer penalties for crimes involving animal abuse and negligence.

In filing Senate Bill (SB) No. 1918 last Nov. 17, De Lima maintained that it is the duty of the state to protect and promote the welfare of all animals, by establishing a system of supervision and regulation to ensure humane treatment in all aspects of keeping, maintaining, handling, transporting, breeding, training, treating and use of animals.

“Animals have long been humanity’s partner in subjugating the world and pushing our civilization forward. Animals have been a constant source of companionship, entertainment, hard labor, and even food. Many animals are likewise being sacrificed in the altar of science,” she said.

“As we mature as a species, we have since grown to understand that our relationship with the animals need not be attended by cruelty and unnecessary hardship. In fact, studies have shown that there is a link between cruelty to animals and towards humans. Thus, there is basis for legislation that stems the cruelty, negligence, and maltreatment of animals,” she added.

De Lima, who has an undeniable soft spot for dogs and cats, cited notorious animal abuses in the country including the one where the officials of Manila City Pound allegedly crammed 60 cats inside a two by three feet cages and subjected cats and dogs to dehydration and starvation.

De Lima also cited the reported mass shooting of dogs by a veterinarian pursuant to an execution order issued by the local government in Marinduque last September and the animal abuse caught in the CCTV in one municipality in Pampanga last October where the dog was beaten to death by Barangay officials.

Stressing that cruelty can also stem from supposed loving and caring owners, De Lima further recalled a couple who cut open a pregnant dog using a kitchen knife and a pair of scissors last June.

The lady Senator from Bicol maintained that these are just some of the notorious animal abuses happening in the country as a great number are left unheard, unrecorded, and unreported.

“Some are poisoned at the disguise of giving food. Others are abandoned, thrown away, and worse, helplessly killed. A few are brave enough to post it on social media to spread awareness and alert authorities, but the State has a lot to do and many should face the consequences of their maltreatment and abuses towards innocent and voiceless creatures,” she said.

“While there is an existing law aimed to protect animals, it is but apparent that there is a need to put more weight on the law by imposing harsher and stiffer penalties on erring individuals who subjects innocent animals to cruelty and abuse, by recognizing the rights of animals and by providing for a Bureau that would safeguard the rights of animals and assure their welfare,” she added.

Under SB No. 1918, or the “Revised Animal Welfare Act of 2020,” an Animal Welfare Bureau is mandated to fulfill their functions to protect animals including, among others, implementing a system for inspection of animal facilities to ensure compliance with animal welfare standards and regulations, promulgating guidelines for humane slaughter of animals.

The Bureau is also mandated to establish an emergency animal response and rescue system to appropriately respond in cases of calamities such as but not limited to floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

It may be recalled a dog was recently trapped on a rooftop as floodwater submerged houses in Nangka, Marikina City following heavy rains brought about by Typhoon Ulysses.

“It is high time we give justice to those who cannot speak for themselves,” said De Lima, an animal lover who has been feeding the stray cats that freely roam around her detention quarters at the Custodial Center, Camp Crame. (30)

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

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