More On The Newly Enforced Animal Welfare Act 2015

We have received some feedbacks from our recent post on the newly implemented Animal Welfare Act 2015 and most of us have more questions in regards to the new law. To get a clearer picture on some of the issues brought up, we have reached out to the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry's Department of Veterinary Service (DVS) Senior Deputy Director, Dr Saravanakumar Supramaniam to get further explanation on the Animal Welfare Act 2015.

 

 

There is much more attention brought towards the ethical practices of the usage of animals for research. Hence, it is prohibited for any persons to breed animals for research, testing, or teaching. Does it apply to research labs too? If yes, how do we report them?

When we ask about research lab or non-surgical experimental, animals in many projects are not subject to surgical interference but may experience pain or distress. If someone who wants to use animals for such experiments should be approved by the approved Institution Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and all the research/methodology will need to be checked in terms of if they involve cruelty or not - this should at least reduce any pain or minimise distress.

For example, people always do research on normal mice. They will need to send a proposal to get approval from IACUC in order for a check for any form of cruelty and they can only proceed with the research if the result is negative. Adequate arrangements should be made for supervision of experiments at remote locations. These experiments include toxicological, pathogenetic, behavioural, biological and therapeutic product studies, as well as feeding and grazing experiments outside accepted farming practices.

 

What about strays - we have seen people knock down strays and drive off - some intentional and some accidental of course. What is your advice on the actual procedure if it is witnessed and we would like to lodge a report subsequently on act of animal cruelty due to the hit-and-run event. What should we do?

As informed, Animal Welfare Act 2015 is only for pet owners and owner with license and it is not for strays because strays falls under town council jurisdiction. When comes to cruelty, Section 29 of the AWA 2015 governs all animals under animal interpretation. Therefore in case of any act committed as below please lodge a report if you see any person who:

  • cruelly beats, kicks, overloads, tortures, terrifies any animals
  • overrides or overdrives any animal, except for activities in relation to equestrian sports which is listed in the First Schedule of the Sports Development Act 1997 [Act 576]
  • causes, procures or being the owner permits any animal to be so used
  • being the owner of any animal or being the person in charge of any animal in confinement, fails or neglects to provide such animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter
  • by wantonly or unreasonably doing or omitting to do any act, causes any unnecessary pain or suffering to any animal
  • causes, procures or being the owner, permits any animal to be confined, conveyed , lifted or carried in such manner or position as to subject such animal to unnecessary pain or suffering 
  • employs, causes procure or being the owner permits to be employed at any work or labour any animal which is consequence of any disease infirmity, wound or sore, or otherwise is unfit to be so employed.
  • mutilates any animal in any manner including ear copping, tail docking, defanging, declawing, branding, piercing or debarking unless in the manner as determined and certified by a veterinary authority or a registered veterinary surgeon.
  • skins, roasts or kills any live animals for superstitious belief through a procedure which causes pain and suffering to the animals.
  • extracts any parts of any live animals through a procedure which causes pain and suffering to the animal for the purpose of getting skins, oils or other animal products
  • dynamites, electrifies or poisons any streams, rivers or other water bodies for the purpose of killing, harvesting or catching animals
  • keep any animal chained or tethered by using a short or heavy chain or cord or hobbles the legs of animal
  • keeps or confines any animal in any cage or other receptacle which does not measure sufficiently in height, length and width to permit the natural movement of the animal
  • offers for sale any animal which is suffering in pain by reason of mutilation starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill-treatment
  • possesses, without reasonable cause, any animal which is suffering in pain by reason of mutilation starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill-treatment
  • abandons any animal in circumstances which the animal is likely to suffer trauma, pain or suffering by reason or relocation, starvation, thirst, injury or illness
  • being the owner of any animal, willfully or negligently causes any animal to go out unattended in any place while the animal is infected with infectious disease
  • being the owner of animal, willfully or negligently causes any diseased, disabled or injured animal to die in any place
  • causes, obtain or assists at the fighting or baiting of any animal, or keep, uses, manages, or acts or assists in the management of any premises or place for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal, or permits any premises or place to be so kept, managed or used, or receives or causes or obtains any person to receive, money for the admission of any person to such premises or place
  • promotes or takes part in any shooting match or competition of which animals are released from captivity for the purpose of such shooting; or
  • organizes, participates, promotes or in any manner is associated with any sport or activity involving the use of animals, where such animals are subjected to cruelty, either during the sport or activity itself or while in training,

Hence, if anyone got to know about this, it is still wrong. What we need to do is to take action and what taking action means is that the authority really need full cooperation from the person to lodge a report and at the same time witness the case. With the police report and witness, the authority will make it a tangible case to proceed with the filing of case for further actions.

 

It is prohibited to kill any animal (both domesticated and stray) unless the killing is authorized by the veterinary authority or a registered veterinary surgeon. In addition, animal welfare officer are permitted to put an animal down following a written authorization by a certified veterinary surgeon. With this, is it possible that we shouldn't be hearing about the “authority” figures strangling and shooting people’s pets and/or shooting wildlife (mainly monkeys) as they please? 

It is prohibited to kill any animal unless the killing is authorized. The number of protected wild animals, protected wild birds, their nest or eggs thereof or trophies which may be shot and killed as well as taken for house confinement to be bred or kept as possessions may be authorized and specified in a license granted under Section 30 of the Act.

Which means, no one should kill the animal by using firearm and by that, no shooting is allowed unless it is authorized by veterinary authority during emergency or for the purpose of disease control. Killing is allowed if the disease is incurable - but in order to proceed to the next step, there must be best effort to work on recommendation before killing. We can put the animals to sleep without them feeling any pain. Some purpose of killing control is to depopulate as in some cases, we cannot control the strays population and killing is seen as a last resort option.

But it is a different case altogether when we talk about wildlife shooting because the AWA 2015 law does not cover any wildlife as they are under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 instead and thereafter, any matters related to shooting of wildlife should be referred to the Act.