Malaysia Passes New, Stricter Animal Welfare Act
The Malaysian government has passed into a law a new animal welfare act that imposes harsher penalties for those torturing or neglecting an animal.
Following outcry from animal rights activists, the Animal Welfare Act 2015 was passed on Tuesday aiming to reduce the numbers of crimes against animals in the country.
“There were so many cases reported in the media, especially social media on animal cruelty. I think for the future, awareness will increase and with the heavier penalties, the offenses will be reduced,” said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The new act imposes a minimum fine of RM20,000 (more than US$5,200) to offenders plus possible jail time. The hefty price is 100 times higher than the one outlined in the Animal Act 1953 currently in place.
Cage sizes at pet stores and requirements for animal transportation are also outlined in the new act.
Animal advocates celebrated the government move but wished that one more thing was included in the new law: mandatory spay and neuter.
“It is something very sad,” stated Edward Lim, shelter manager at PAWS Animal Welfare Society. “Owners are not doing their part. They should neuter their animal, they should not be letting their animals breed unnecessarily.”
Malaysia has a big stray problem with homeless animals roaming the streets being a very common occurence.
Advocates say the reason behind the problem is partly ignorance and partly religious as some Malay Muslims find that spaying or neutering their pet is cruel.
To fix those problems the government is looking into introducing further measures such as making animal welfare one of the subjects taught in schools.