Case of animal abuse

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Saturday, January 25, 2014


I AM writing to express my objection to the use of wild animals for picture taking by one of the hotels in the uptown area during the Sinulog festivities.

The hotel had two exotic animals - a tiger and an albino phyton - placed in a makeshift booth in its front lobby.

The tiger was chained and rested on an elevated platform; it appeared to be docile, if not sedated. The albino python, which was about 2 meters long, was handled by three men and was placed on a raised table.

Tourists and revellers were allowed to take pictures with the animals for a fee of P150. The hotel was located directly across the street parade route.

This is clearly a form of animal abuse as these animals were exposed to prolonged periods of excessive noise and human contact, let alone used for commercial benefit.

Wild animals ought to have minimal human interaction in order not to alter their behavior. They are very sensitive and highly vulnerable to stress and diseases.

I am not sure if the owners of these animals have the appropriate permits, as it is illegal to possess protected wildlife under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, and its subsequent implementing guideline DENR Administrative Order No. 2004-55.

If they do, which normally is granted only to research institutions and approved breeders for purposes of propagation, the owners must have a special permit from DENR for putting them on display or showcasing them in for exhibition.

Representatives from DENR should look into this matter and ensure that there will be no recurrence of a similar abuse in the future.

What is more perplexing was the fact that the act was carried out in full view of the public, including tourists, local and foreigners alike, in a blatant display of animal rights violation.

Surely, at least a few government employees would have seen this or knew about it as it was done for at least two days.

Unless and until we acknowledge animal rights at the ground level, we will never progress in our conservation efforts.--Frederick Norman Oplado, Mandaue City

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 26, 2014.

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