Call to expedite passage of Animal Welfare Bill | Daily News

Call to expedite passage of Animal Welfare Bill

Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Namal Rajapaksa yesterday (2) said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have instructed that the Animal Welfare Bill be expedited.

The objective of the Bill is to strengthen the law on the prevention of cruelty towards animals and secure the welfare of all animals, by clearly defining offences and introducing stringent penalties, while also establishing a National Animal Welfare Authority with comprehensive powers to address all cruelty issues.

“Several organizations and volunteers have been pushing for this bill to be passed for the last 10 years, but it has not yet seen the light of day. The Prime Minister had a meeting in March this year regarding this Bill. Taking everything into consideration, hopefully this Bill can be finalized and presented in Parliament in the next couple of months,” he told the Daily News. The Animal Welfare Bill is proposed in place of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance of 1907, which is insufficient when dealing with the types of cruelty animals face today.

He added, one way of protecting wildlife is bringing forward this legislation, and introducing strict regulations. “Citizens should also be responsible. The law itself cannot prevent cruelty to animals.

I think education and awareness are very important, concerning this matter,” he added. Rajapaksa said the National Youth Services council is working with other relevant organizations to educate and create awareness among the youth on responsible behaviour towards the environment and wildlife. “We are also looking at getting the Youth Parliament’s involvement in this regard,” he added. Minister Namal Rajapaksa tweeted recently of his meeting with Minister Ali Sabry and animal rights activists on the Animal Welfare Bill.

The current British-colonial laws to prevent cruelty to animals in Sri Lanka have not been updated since 1907, and are completely inadequate to deal with today’s challenges like elephant riding, factory farming, and unethical wildlife tourism.