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Ph Lawmakers Push for Enhanced Animal Welfare Act

For the first time ever, last March 19, several dogs made their appearance at the Senate Plenary Hall, including rescued dogs and those owned by lawmakers, during Senator Grace Poe’s privilege speech in support of Senate Bill 2458, also recognized as the Revised Animal Welfare Act.

This comes in the wake of the brutal killing of a Golden Retriever in Bato, Camarines Sur named Killua, which highly gained backlash from netizens and many pet owners alike, and ignited the social media hashtag #JusticeForKillua.

She stated, “Sadly, despite their worth and value to human society, and the existence of laws criminalizing cruelty to animals, many of them are still maltreated, neglected and even tortured. We cannot rely on individual efforts alone. In response to this situation, I proposed a law, Senate Bill No. 2458, to be known as the Revised Animal Welfare Act.

Today, we seek to strengthen this law. This bill shall firmly establish standards geared towards engendering responsible pet ownership as well as ethical behavior and accountability from all those who have control over or provide care to animals. As such, the bill has more stringent penalties for violations of the Act,” Sen. Poe emphasized.

Additionally, the revised act aims for mandatory animal welfare education, a proper bureau with sufficient budget and permanent personnel, barangay animal welfare task force, and deputizing animal welfare enforcement officers.

The legislation also seeks to support the Department of Agriculture in ensuring firm accountability and the effective implementation of policies.

Sen. Poe added, “We hope to pass this bill soon and put an end to despicable incidents such as what happened to Killua.

Individuals found guilty of subjecting animals to cruelty, maltreatment, or any prohibited acts as outlined in the measure are liable for imprisonment ranging from one year and six months to three years, along with a fine of not less than P30,000 but not exceeding P100,000.

Meanwhile, individuals involved in dog meat trading will be subject to a penalty of not less than P5,000 per dog and imprisonment ranging from one to four years, or both, as stipulated in the measure.

Penalties will also be imposed for actions such as abandoning animals, operating an animal facility without the necessary permits, and utilizing animals for shows, research, or scientific purposes without the required permits – as they are all considered animal cruelty.

Other lawmakers, such as Senator JV Ejercito, who is also a dog owner, supported the prompt and firm passing of the bill, emphasizing that what has happened recently violates the law.

He expressed, “I implore the public to show greater empathy towards animals. They possess the purest hearts and deserve our love and compassion. Let us strive to create a world where animals are treated with the care, and respect they rightfully deserve.

Senate President Miguel Zubiri lauded Sen. Poe and expressed his full support, saying “I will support that measure wholeheartedly. I will make it a priority measure in this Chamber so we can pass it.

The Senate President also suggested the idea of transforming the new Senate building in Taguig into a pet-friendly environment.

The bill is presently awaiting consideration by the Senate Committee on Agriculture.


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