Amendments to Animal Welfare Act of 1998 a must
LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Amendments to Animal Welfare Act of 1998 a must

/ 04:05 AM March 26, 2024

On March 19, I had the opportunity to witness in person Sen. Grace Poe’s privilege speech on Senate Bill No. 2458 which “seeks a revised Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to strengthen animal welfare standards, policies, rules and regulations, implementation and enforcement as well as provide tougher penalties to violators.”

The session hall was packed with fellow animal welfare advocates and some popular AW groups like Animal Kingdom Foundation which initiated the invitation to other AW groups like ours. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri commented that it was the first time that “animals of the four-legged kind” were allowed in the session halls of the Senate, drawing hearty laughter from the audience. He said that seeing his wife Audrey with their dog inside the session hall brought his blood pressure down, again drawing a hearty response. Poe gave a 30-minute privilege speech which hopefully will progress. This was followed by valid points raised by Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

As a solo rescuer and member of a low-key AW group, Save ALL (Save Animals of Love and Light), our hopes are boosted once again as efforts on the amendments to the landmark Animal Welfare Act of 1998 (Republic Act No. 8485) are spotlighted.

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On the ground, it takes mental strength to take in the abuses and cruelty to animals, the abandonment of newborn kittens particularly on busy streets where they are sure to be run over, hoarding of pets, puppy mills, dog meat trading, and other chest-pain triggers. The AWA of 1998 has weak fangs thus the amendments up to the present. My wish list is as follows: (1) cooperation from the local government units; (2) a more regular spay-neuter program in each barangay to curb the overpopulation of cats and dogs (that are subsequently abandoned or sacked); (3) higher penalties for AW offenders especially those who shoot and kill animals with impunity; (4) and most important of all, education and more awareness on responsible pet ownership and animal treatment provided to all citizens. I see kids maltreating kittens. Maybe they see adults doing the same. A subject on humane animal treatment should be included in the school curriculum of elementary students. Start them young, mold them young as they say.

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PAMELA CLAVERIA, M.D.,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Grace Poe, opinion, Senate

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