Poe pushes for stronger measure to ensure animal welfare

MANILA. Senator Grace Poe.
MANILA. Senator Grace Poe.File photo

SENATOR Grace Poe has pushed for the passage of a measure seeking to bolster standards for animal welfare and protection.

In a privileged speech on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, Poe raised the need to beef up the country’s laws on animal welfare, which will establish a respectful coexistence with animals by improving their living conditions.

She also asserted the need for a "whole of community" approach to end animal cruelty and promote their welfare.

Poe earlier filed Senate Bill 2458, which seeks a revised Animal Welfare Act to strengthen animal welfare standards, policies, rules and regulations, implementation and enforcement as well as provide tougher penalties to violators.

The proposed measure will amend and reinforce the original law, Republic Act (RA) 8485, as amended by RA 10631, which is considered a landmark in legislation.

"Recognizing the urgency and enormity around animal cruelty and neglect calls for all hands on deck," Poe said.

Under the measure, Department of Agriculture (DA) will be mandated to create a proper bureau to address animal welfare issues, which will be given sufficient budget and permanent personnel to enable it to be more effective in implementing and enforcing policies.

It will also capacitate local officers to address the animal welfare issues with dispatch through the creation of Barangay Animal Welfare Task Force.

Poe urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government to include efforts to address animal welfare issues as one of the metrics for awarding the seal of good governance to a municipality.

The senator mentioned several stories depicting the heroism of animals such as the dog, Yugo, who defended his human family from a snake attack in Panabo City, Davao.

In Zamboanga, Kabang, a stray puppy adopted by a family, shielded the kids crossing the street from a vehicle. The dog, however, suffered extensive injuries.

"Sadly, despite their worth and value to human society, and the existence of laws criminalizing cruelty to animals, many of them are still maltreated, neglected, and even tortured," said Poe.

Poe also expressed outrage over the fatal mauling of Killua, a golden retriever, who was killed by his fur-parent's neighbor.

The suspects claimed that Killua chased his child but based on a CCTV video, his actions were fraught with excessive violence and that it was Killua who was being chased.

Under Animal Welfare Act of 1998, amended by Republic Act 10631, “it shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance of shelter, or maltreat any animal or to subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horse fights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare.”

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, for his part, committed to make the Revised Animal Welfare Act a priority measure of the Senate. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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