October 4, 2023
MANILA – Senator Grace Poe has filed a measure mandating the creation of an Animal Welfare Bureau (AWB) that will bolster the protection and promotion of animal welfare.
“Animals do have rights, too. Ang bantay ng ating bahay, kailangan din ng tagapagtanggol. Some humans consider their pet animals like a member of their own family. However, not all animals are given the same care and attention, they are sometimes left abandoned, or worse, experience cruelty,” Poe said in a statement on Tuesday.
(Those who guard our homes need defenders, too.)
Senate Bill No. 2458, which Poe filed Monday, aims to revise the existing Republic Act (RA) 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act of 1998.
Poe explained that under RA 8485, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) supervises the law’s implementation.
“However, BAI is a staff bureau that primarily performs policy, program development, and advisory functions, and is without control over regional and local veterinary services, animal production, and animal welfare, which significantly impairs its implementation and enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act,” she said.
Poe’s proposal for the creation of the new AWB which will have the following functions, among others:
- Provide minimum standards on the appropriate food, water, and shelter for each species of pet and animals depending on the age, breed, size, and special needs of the animals
- In consultation with concerned transport regulating agencies, experts, and animal welfare groups, set a species-specific standard for transportation of animals to ensure they remain in safe condition
- Establish an emergency animal response and rescue system to appropriately respond in cases of calamities such as but not limited to floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters
- Promulgate guidelines for humane slaughter of animals in consultation with the National Meat Inspection Service, local government units and other concerned government agencies
- Implement a system for inspection of animal facilities to ensure compliance with animal welfare standards and regulations
- Monitor compliance of the local government units with animal welfare programs, standards, rules and regulations
- Ensure proper coordination with non-government organizations, people’s organizations and academe for the strict implementation of the rules and regulations issued
- Issue, suspend, cancel permits or certifications pursuant to the purposes of the measure
- Levy and collect fee for registration, certification, inspection and monitoring system and of other fees as the AWB may deem necessary for the effective implementation of the law
The proposed bureau will be under the Department of Agriculture and will have offices at the city, municipal, provincial and regional levels, according to the bill.
The measure also proposes to punish people maltreating animals with an imprisonment of one year and six months up to three years, and a fine of P30,000 to P100,000.