Malaysia: New subject on animal welfare could be introduced

FIRDAOUS FADZIL The Star 12 Aug 16;

AMPANG JAYA: To ensure a better understanding of the Animal Welfare Act, the Government is proposing that a new subject be introduced in schools.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the proposal was being discussed with the Education Ministry.

“Knowledge about ethical treatment of animals is important and should be taught in schools.

“We are looking at implementing the subject by next year when the Act comes into force,” he told reporters during his visit to the Selangor Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals centre here yesterday.

The Act, which was gazetted in December last year, will be enforced in mid-2017.

Ahmad Shabery said the Government and NGOs had embarked on more campaigns and roadshows, targeting mainly students, to spread awareness on animal welfare.

As part of the campaign, he said an Animal Welfare Day would be held for the first time in conjunction with World Animal Day, which falls on Oct 4.

“The aim is not only to increase awareness towards pets but also livestock,” he said, adding the Veterinary Services Department would work closely with the Education Ministry to provide animal welfare education modules.

Society chairman Christine Chin said she was delighted that the whole nation would join the battle to protect animal rights.

“At last, the Government is fully supporting us in our quest for the last 50 years.

“We hope to take part actively to educate people about love and compassion towards the animals, especially in schools,” she said.

Chin said the society was satisfied with the wider interpretations of animal cruelty in the Act.

She said the Act provides much more clout to catch animal abusers, with higher fines and an increase in the number of animal welfare officers.

Under the Act, animal cruelty includes dumping, abandoning and chaining animals with a short or heavy chain, selling them injured, malnourishment and keeping them in small cages.

In addition, animal owners must provide adequate accommodation, suitable food, and protection from pain, suffering, injuries and diseases, failing which they are liable to be fined between RM15,000 and RM75,000.

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