ENACT THE ANIMAL WELFARE BILL IN SRI LANKA WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY
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A new law to deal with the increasing incidents of cruelty to animals in Sri Lanka has been prepared, but even after ten long years, it is yet to be presented in Parliament for enactment
The Animal Welfare Bill prepared by the Law Commission of Sri Lanka was presented to the then government in 2006. This Bill was prepared to replace the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance of 1907, as that Ordinance, enacted over a century ago during colonial rule, is totally insufficient to deal with the horrendous acts of animal cruelty that occur daily in Sri Lanka.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance applies only to a limited category of animals and does not cover a vast range of acts which amount to cruelty, the punishments for the offences are a mere fine of Rs.100 and a jail term of three months and there is no government institution dedicated to the subject.
The Animal Welfare Bill, on the other hand applies to all species of animals, introduces several new offences, prescribes stringent punishments and provides for the establishment of a National Animal Welfare Authority with wide powers to deal with animal cruelty.
Animal Rights activists have, over the last ten years, continuously called upon the government to give priority to the Animal Welfare Bill. But the progress has been extremely slow.
There are attempts by certain groups to dilute the objective of the Bill for their personal benefit and therefore there is a move to exclude the vast majority of animals from receiving the protection afforded to them by the Bill, by making the cruelty offences in the Bill inapplicable in many instances. Such exclusion will make the Animal Welfare Bill a meaningless piece of legislation.
We would like to remind the authorities of the “Compassionate Government” promised to the nation in 2015.
We call upon the government to:
EXPEDITE THE PROCESS OF ENACTING THE ANIMAL WELFARE BILL and
ENSURE THAT THE BILL APPLIES TO ALL ANIMALS AND IN ALL INSTANCES WITHOUT ANY EXCLUSION WHATSOEVER
Every minute delayed is a life time of agony for the voiceless animals
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