Pass a Philippine Law that Bans All Forms of Animal Cruelty
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I. The Current Law
- R.A 8485, otherwise known as "The Animal Welfare Act of 1999" is an act to promote animal welfare in the Philippines by supervising and regulating the establishment and operations of all facilities utilized for breeding, maintaining, keeping, treating or training of all animals either as objects of trade or as household pets, as stated by the Legislation of the Philippines, (2013).
II. Issues with RA 8485
A. Section 6-1 which states killing of any animal other than cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabao, horse, deer and crocodiles is likewise hereby declared unlawful except in the following instances: number 1, when it is done as part of the religious rituals of an established religion or sect or ritual required by ethnic custom of indigenous cultural communities. It is not right to kill animals even if it is for religious rituals. As stated by Rodriguez, (2014) in his article "10 Ways Religion And Superstition Have Led To Animal Cruelty", in some cases, religion and superstition have played pivotal roles in leading humanity to cause great harm to helpless creatures both great and small. Example: Dog’s teeth are imbued with magical properties and are typically worn as a necklace or charm by the Igorots.
B. Section 6-6 where there is permission to kill and harm animals when animal is killed after it has been used in authorized research or experiment. There are already countless campaigns that demand the ban of using animals in research or experiments because this action is deemed unethical.
C. Section 8 states that any person who violate should be punished by imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor more than two (2) years or a fine of not less than One thousand pesos (P1,000) nor more than Five thousand pesos (P5,000) or both at the discretion of the court. This sentence is not that grave for people to be afraid of committing animal cruelty. Due to the low consequences, the crime could be done repeatedly especially by syndicates.
D. There is no such section in the law that states anything about companies that use parts of animals as products (except food). Companies can use this hole in the law as an excuse of killing and using parts of animals in products. Example: elephant tusks for ivory, deer horns for furniture, rhinoceros horns for medicine, animal fur for clothing, crocodile leather etc.
III. Proposed Solutions
A. Consider animal killing for religious or community rituals as a major violation of the anti-animal cruelty law.
B. Totally an all for animal testing or experiments in products. Alternatives include, sophisticated tests using human cells and tissues (also known as in vitro methods), advanced computer-modeling techniques (often referred to as in silico models), and studies with human volunteers (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, n.d.)
C. Raise the sentence to people who violates the anti-animal cruelty law. Since in the Philippines, it is charged as a misdemeanor offense, the penalty should then be raised into an indeterminate sentence of 10 years and one day of prison mayor, as minimum, to 14 years and eight months, as maximum, legally erroneous as parallel to the penalty of homicide.
D. Philippines should no longer allow companies and factories which manufacture products from wild animals. The country should hone a wildlife centered environment. This would also contribute in preserving the endangered and threatened species.
E. Make animal fighting operations illegal. Sabong or cockfighting is a blood sport common in the Philippines in which roosters are placed in a ring and forced to fight to the death. It should be banned alongside other forms of animal fighting ventures as well.
F. Prohibit private ownership of exotic pets regardless of handler’s social status. Section 26 of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act (Republic Act No. 9417) still allows private ownership of wild animals if such person or entity can prove financial and technical capability and facility to maintain said wildlife. However, this reason is still unjust since animals should live in their natural habitat -- in full freedom to run, to hunt and to be developed as it sends it their species. We can affirm that, the animals were not put in the planet to be prisoners for life; to be tormented by their tamers, and neither to ridicule them in shows and they are obligate to carry out actions against their nature.
G. Having all pet owners have a legal registration as an evidence of pet ownership. This is important for if there is some incident that happens to their respective pet, owners are responsible to be testified and/or convicted once the animal cruelty has been proven.
H. Stop the Oplan Dog Pound, in which barangay captains aim to catch all stray dogs in the street, where they get them in some brutal ways.
These only proves how weak our bills are in terms of taking care of animals and fighting against the animal cruelty. And what we have to do is to strengthen them and think of what we can do. Our bills should be more focused on creating an animal-friendly society, for these animals, just like us humans, have lives that need and want care and affection.
So if you witness or suspect animal abuse, do not just stand there — report it! Animal cruelty is a crime, and the more often abusive individuals are punished for their behavior, the less likely others will be inclined to do the same. ANIMALS HAVE NO VOICE, SO IT IS OUR OBLIGATION AND DUTY TO SPEAK FOR THEM.
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