Target: Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin, Director General of the Veterinary Department of Malaysia
Goal: Increase penalties for incidents of animal abuse
The Malaysian Parliament will soon be voting on a piece of legislation called the Animal Welfare Bill which will dramatically increase penalties for animal cruelty and offer more legal protection for animals. If passed, Malaysia will have some of the most progressive and comprehensive animal cruelty laws in the world. Passing this bill would be a big step for global animal welfare and deserves our support.
The Animal Welfare Bill proposes that first-time offenders be fined between 20,000 and 100,000 Malaysian Ringgit (roughly $6,400 and $32,000) or face a prison sentence of up to three years. Repeat offenders will be fined double the amount imposed for their previous offense and a mandatory three month prison sentence. What makes these penalties particularly advanced is that they are concrete. Even in places with more advanced animal rights laws such as the United States or Europe, the penalties for the crimes are fairly vague and rarely enforced because the sentence falls on the discretion of the courts and legal authorities. Having simple and definite punishments for the crimes will ensure that the abuser is given the sentence they deserve. Also, having such severe penalties for repeat offenders will dramatically reduce the number of repeat offences.
The bill is currently being refined. A series of public engagements allowed the citizens themselves to determine what will be suitable laws and punishments for animal abuse. Provisions will be included for more intensive enforcement of the laws as well as the possibility of a police force specifically dedicated to animal welfare. This will increase the number of animal cruelty cases that actually make it to court.
What makes this bill truly advanced, however, is how comprehensive it is. In most animal cruelty laws the term “animal” refers only to companion animals. But the Animal Welfare Bill applies to all animals, companion, work, farm, or otherwise. Please sign the petition below to show your support for this incredible bill.
Dear Dr. Jamaluddin,
Parliament in Malaysia will soon vote on the Animal Welfare Bill, which will increase penalties for animal cruelty, offer more protection to animals, and possibly establish a police force dedicated to crimes against animals. This truly is a landmark bill that will put Malaysia on par with, if not above, many of the more advanced animal rights laws around the world.
The penalties the bill proposes are simple, concrete, and strong. There is little room for the vagaries of discretion that often set so many animal abusers free without punishment. Not only that, the laws will be universal, offering protection to all animals and not simply companion animals. I am in full support of this bill and hope it is passed into law so that it can be an example for the rest of the world as to how animal rights laws should function.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jp Corkery via Flickr