Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Amended Animal Welfare Act

For the past few months now, I have been in touch on and off with old schoolmates and have seen posts going viral over one particular topic that is quite close to my heart: animal welfare.

This is not the only cause I champion but I do choose my battles and while there are things that I would still disagree with regarding the matter, there are things that have struck me the most:

  1. People seem to feel the need to rely on animal welfare groups to enforce the provisions of the law. For the record, this is a copy of the Animal Welfare Act (RA 8485) as posted on the website of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society. Portions of this act were amended in 2013 and the link to the amendments is here. Anyone can quote this act and demand justice for any animal they would like to seek justice for. Which brings me to the next phenomenon, which has been brought on by the popularity of social media shaming.
  2. Getting an act of cruelty to go viral is not the solution. That is called armchair activism. Do I also repost or share those bits of news? Sometimes, yes, and lately, to point out why it's not exactly helping. Viral is viral. It creates awareness which is good. However, awareness shouldn't stop there. And that goes back to point #1.
Many times, in seeking justice for an animal, people have been known to say "Bring the matter up with PAWS!" Unfortunately, what they do not realise is that the organisation's hands are tied unless an actual witness to the act is willing to testify against the accused. And unless you are truly willing to stand as witness, the guilty party will always certainly go free and offenders/criminals will keep doing what they do.

People have criticised supporters of animal welfare as people who "only care about animals". This is not true. However, we often speak very loudly about these matters because the ones who need the defence cannot do much for their own cause. And really, I find the accusations of "you don't care about people at all" rather offensive because no one says that of defenders of children's rights, or women's rights, and I don't see how those causes are any different.

So if you honestly want to help, arm yourself with education. The tool is right there in the above links. It's the same thing any defender of the rights of other sectors of society would do.

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