CA DI­RECTS TO EX­PE­DITE AN­I­MAL WEL­FARE BILL

Court case cov­ers as­pects where le­gal reform is re­quired to pre­vent an­i­mal cru­elty Demand to ex­clude food an­i­mals de­fers pass­ing of bill

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FEATURES - By Catherine Dou­glas

Ow­ing to gov­ern­ment in­ac­tion to pass the pro­posed An­i­mal Wel­fare Bill, a group of pe­ti­tion­ers from an­i­mal wel­fare and re­li­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions filed a case in the Court of Ap­peal (CA) to draw attention to the ur­gency of get­ting such a bill passed.

Ac­cord­ing to at­tor­ney Lalani Per­era – one of the pe­ti­tion­ers

– the case was not limited to mat­ters per­tain­ing to the bill only, but cov­ered many other as­pects where le­gal reform is re­quired to pre­vent an­i­mal cru­elty such as the in­hu­mane slaugh­ter of food an­i­mals, an­i­mal sac­ri­fice, killing of dogs to con­trol ra­bies, suf­fer­ing of cap­tive ele­phants at the hands of pri­vate own­ers and lack of proper wel­fare stan­dards for zoo an­i­mals, among other topics.

Sub­se­quent to the fil­ing of the case, a steer­ing com­mit­tee com­pris­ing rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and four rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the pe­ti­tion­ers meets reg­u­larly to mon­i­tor the progress of these mat­ters. The com­mit­tee is chaired by a se­nior of­fi­cial of the min­istry responsibl­e for tak­ing the bill to the Cabi­net (i.e. the min­istry in charge of live­stock).

Promising news for sup­port­ers of the long-awaited bill, the Court of Ap­peal is now mon­i­tor­ing the progress of the bill and has directed rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties in­clud­ing the min­is­ter in charge of live­stock to take swift mea­sures to ex­pe­dite the process.

One of the main ob­struc­tions to the pass­ing of the bill was from poul­try and meat in­dus­tries that de­manded food an­i­mals ex­cluded. As is the case in many other coun­tries, these groups were lob­by­ing au­thor­i­ties to re­move cer­tain an­i­mals from the bill, which oth­er­wise would give them no pro­tec­tion from cru­elty within their short lives and dur­ing the slaugh­ter process.

With the pe­ti­tion­ers strongly ob­ject­ing to these rep­re­sen­ta­tions and tak­ing them up at the high­est lev­els, and is­sues re­solved, the bill is now await­ing ap­proval from the min­istry and its sub­mis­sion for Cabi­net ap­proval.

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