Suggestions for a Revisal of the Present Animal Welfare Policy



Earlier this year The Municipality of Cape Town held an Animal Welfare Conference whereby interested parties from the province were invited to submit their proposals/suggestions for a revised Animal Welfare Policy. Although I am not a resident of Cape Town, I still called that Municipality and requested permission for my suggestions to be tabled as well. They graciously allowed me to submit my suggestions after that call. Here are the points I included in my proposal document:


Proposed Suggestions for Revisal of Animal Welfare Policy:

 

1. Fireworks

Lobby for a total ban nationally. The gruesome and bloody carnage on the roads every single year is clear evidence that fireworks are an unnecessary, irresponsible and selfish practice that results in a significant number of fatalities of animals fleeing in blind terror to get away from the loud noise and the even louder bangs. During the ‘festivities’ animals are the primary victims; their lives are either taken when they run onto roads and are hit by speeding cars, or they become victims of cruel people who enjoy using animals to experiment on by inserting crackers into animals’ anuses, mouths, ears and so forth.

 

2. Pet Stores

Strict health & safety regulations regarding animals' wellbeing, including mandatory random Animal Inspector visits and mandatory vet treatments for sick animals at expense of pet store owner. This will deter pet-store owners from taking in so many animals from breeders due to possible personal costs they will incur for the sick animals.

 

3. Stricter Breeder Regulations

Below is a list of practices that should have been banned years ago but are unfortunately still occurring today. Under the revised Animal Welfare Policy the following rules pertaining to specific animal species should be implemented and become immediately effective:

3.1. No tail docking of dogs

3.2. No ear cutting of dogs

3.3. No declawing of cats

3.4. No debarking of dogs

An official breeder permit will be required in the future or a fine of R100K and/or 5yrs imprisonment should be mandatory. This will apply to all animal breeders (cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, snakes, lizards and so forth). This will discourage informal, unregistered backyard breeders from ‘setting up shop’ and will also set a precedent of stricter guidelines that registered breeders will need to follow; that is all breeders will need to conduct themselves in a responsible, ethical and compassionate manner toward their animals.

Bitches (dogs), Queens (cats), Does (rabbits, hamsters) and Sows (guinea pigs) should only be allowed to breed ONE litter per year – a heavy fine will be issued for violation of this rule - R100K and/or 5yrs imprisonment. This strict condition will aid in reducing the number of unwanted, abandoned and abundant animals entering animal shelters each year and will thus allow for more animals to become adoptable because there will be lesser animals being bred for private profitable sale. This will result in lesser unnecessary animal deaths at kill shelters and more animals being given homes.

 

4. Mandatory Requirements for People Wanting to Become Pet Guardians.

If a person who wants an animal does not comply with the following requirements they must be denied the right to adopt until they do comply with the list below:

4.1. Family MUST have an existing healthy, happily socialised animal – this will establish that they qualify as responsible guardians who are able to care for an animal. If there are children under the age of 12 years in the home they must especially be observed (discreetly) when the animal rescue conducts a home check, to see how they and the other household members interact with and treat the existing animal/s in the household.

4.2. The yard must be fully fenced and gated so that animals cannot leave the premises and be put in harms way. If cats are the resident pets then a high fence is mandatory so that they cannot jump over and escape into neighbours yards or run onto busy roads.

4.3. The animals must have appropriately sheltered accommodation in the yard – warm, dry dog kennels or cat shelters that will protect the animals from the elements of nature (cold weather, rain, strong winds, strong summer sun, icy snow and so forth).

4.4. Animals must be fed regularly, with fresh water put out daily and always in supply.

4.5. All domestic pets residing in private homes should ideally be neutered or spayed by six months of age – this is the age they reach sexual maturity so this rule should become mandatory because it will prevent pet guardians from dumping their pregnant female pets in shelters to ‘get rid of the problem’. Responsible pet guardianship requires that all animals (male and female) under a guardian’s care be sterilised as soon as they reach sexual maturity.

4.6. No guardian will be allowed to chain a dog for more than 2 hours a day. The dog must have a fully fenced property to be able to exercise and run around in, plenty of food and water on a daily basis, as well as an appropriate shelter that it can rest in or take shelter in during a storm.

 

5. Animal Law Revisal for Animal Abusers/Offenders

An overall revisal of animal laws should be looked at, more especially that the law calls for harsher penalties & longer jail-terms for animal abusers, as well as revising animal laws that afford more protection to animals kept in captivity and being bred for profit.

 

6. Animals in Entertainment

There should be a full ban implemented on animals being used in entertainment. Circus animals are abhorrently and cruelly abused by their trainers and these animals suffer immense emotional, mental and physical distress all of their lives. The performing of animals (especially wild animals) in circuses is unethical, unnatural and overall an unacceptable practice. Animals in all circuses should therefore be banned fully. Bolivia made history in March this year by being the first country in the world to put a full ban on all animals (domestic and wild) performing in circuses. Dolphins who perform in aquariums are also forced to live in unnatural habitats (the pools they are housed in are miniscule and it has been documented by experts that dolphins suffer extensive emotional distress and exhibit unnatural behaviour such as ‘rocking’ back and forth and swimming in circles due to their unnatural surroundings and their unnatural existences by being shut away from other mammals of their kind who swim freely and without restrictions in the open ocean).

 

7. Encourage Communities to Report Animal Abuse and Cruelty

Confidential reports of animal cruelty or animal negligence, by either anonymous or known individuals, should offer a small financial reward for these people coming forward if the tip is legitimate and leads to the subsequent charging and / or arrest of individuals.

Crimes to report will include, but not be limited to:

Animals chained for periods over 4hrs, up to 24hrs a day everyday,

Neglected 'backyard' animals (aka forgotten animals),

Unfed and unwatered animals,

Unsheltered animals,

Unattended or sick animals,

Abused/beaten animals,

Animals used in gambling rings (dog racing, dog fighting, cock fighting)

Encouraging people to alert the authorities to the above-mentioned crimes will also encourage more people to report more crimes - the more severe the crime the higher the reward (shooting animals such as monkeys, cats, doge etc. with pellet guns, dog fighting, dog racing, bestiality etc).

 

8. Shock Collars & Choke Chains

These should be deemed illegal and inappropriate harnesses to control dogs. Not only are these apparatus dangerous but they are emotionally stressful to the animal and causes it undue distress.

 

9. Final Year Vet Students

A recommendation or proposal can be put forth to the South African Vet Council for final year vet students to start doing community service internships, preferably in the poorer communities around the country because animals in these communities are in dire need of proper medical care. Final year students should always be under the supervision of senior vets. This internship training will equip emerging veterinarians to deal with all types of scenarios, from general check-ups to serious situations involving critically ill or injured animals.

 

10. Horse Slaughter

This practice should be banned outright – it is immoral and unethical to barter and sell horses for slaughter. These are highly intelligent, sensitive animals and they should not be subjected to such amoral abuse.

 

Submitted By Jessica Singh
Founder and MD of Pawfect Nation - Durban