Bill expands animal rights to include pet birds under protection

SENATORS are now seeking for the expansion of animal rights in a bill now pending before Senate to include pet birds under protection and creating an animal welfare enforcement officers in law enforcement agencies.

Senate Bill No. 3329 aimed to amend certain sections of “The Animal Welfare Act of 1998” to protect and promote the welfare of all terrestrial, aquatic and marine animals in the country by supervising and regulating the establishment and operations of all facilities, utilized for breeding, maintaining, keeping, treating or training of all animals either as subject of trade or as household pets shall include birds.

The measure is a substitution of Senate Bill Nos. 1691, 19432, 3154 and 3222 and proposed Senate Resolution Nos. 578 and 747 introduced by Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Gregorio Honasan II, Manny Villar and Francis Pangilinan.

Section 10 of the measure mandated the Secretary of Agriculture to deputize animal welfare enforcement officers from non-government organization, citizens groups, community organization and other volunteers who have undergone the necessary training for this purposes.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other law enforcement agencies shall designate animal welfare enforcement officers which shall have the authority to seize and rescue illegally traded and maltreated animals and to arrest violators.

For the purposes of this Act, animal welfare pertains to the physical and psychological well-being of animals, it includes, but not limited to, the avoidance of abuse, maltreatment, cruelty and exploitation of animals by humans by maintaining appropriate standards of accommodation, feeding and general care.

It also mandates the assurance of freedom from fear, distress, harassment and unnecessary discomfort and pain, and allowing animals to express normal behaviour.

A new Section 6 to read as follows:    It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal or to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or 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.

Abandonment of animals is also prohibited in the measure. An imprisonment of six (6) months to three (3) years and a fine of P50, 000 up to P300,000 shall be imposed to violators. If the violator is an alien, he/she shall be deported after serving sentence.

The Department of Agriculture is the lead agency for the enforcement of this act.

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