MHA will not expand definition of animals under Road Traffic Act

Today Online 29 Oct 14;

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is standing by its decision to not expand the definition of “animals” under the Road Traffic Act (RTA), despite objections from animal welfare groups.

In response to media queries, the MHA said today (Oct 29) that it agreed with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) that all animals should be protected.

The two groups had earlier appealed to the MHA to reconsider its decision not to proceed with any amendments to the Act.

Currently, drivers who hit animals listed in the Act — such as a dog, horse, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or cattle — are required to stop and help them. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to S$3,000 or a jail term of up to a year. However, the Act is silent on other animals such as cats, monkeys, birds and rabbits.

The MHA noted that the Act’s “primary intent” is to ensure the safety of the roads, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“The specific provision for ‘animals’ in the RTA was confined to farm animals of commercial value so as to ensure restitution to their owners should an accident occur,” it said.

“MHA has studied this provision on animals in the RTA very carefully and decided not to expand the definition. Nonetheless, we encourage all motorists who hit animals on the road to stop and provide help when it is safe to do so. The motorist should then contact the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) or SPCA for assistance,” the ministry added.