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Recognizing records of animal cruelty in the country, Senator Leila de Lima has filed a measure seeking to impose stiffer penalties for crimes involving animal abuse and negligence.

In filing Senate Bill 1918 last November 17, De Lima maintained that it is the duty of the state to protect and promote the welfare of all animals, by establishing a system of supervision and regulation to ensure humane treatment in all aspects of keeping, maintaining, handling, transporting, breeding, training, treating and use of animals.

“Animals have long been humanity’s partner in subjugating the world and pushing our civilization forward. Animals have been a constant source of companionship, entertainment, hard labor, and even food. Many animals are likewise being sacrificed in the altar of science,” she said.

“As we mature as a species, we have since grown to understand that our relationship with the animals need not be attended by cruelty and unnecessary hardship. In fact, studies have shown that there is a link between cruelty to animals and towards humans. Thus, there is basis for legislation that stems the cruelty, negligence, and maltreatment of animals,” she added.

Under her proposal, an Animal Welfare Bureau shall be created to protect animal welfare by implementing a system for inspection of animal facilities to ensure compliance with animal welfare standards and regulations, promulgating guidelines for humane slaughter of animals.

The bureau is also mandated to establish an emergency animal response and rescue system to appropriately respond in cases of calamities such as but not limited to floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

De Lima cited notorious animal abuses in the country including the one where the officials of Manila City Pound allegedly crammed 60 cats inside a two by three feet cages and subjected cats and dogs to dehydration and starvation.

She cited the reported mass shooting of dogs by a veterinarian pursuant to an execution order issued by the local government in Marinduque last September and the animal abuse caught in the CCTV in one municipality in Pampanga last October where the dog was beaten to death by barangay officials.

Stressing that cruelty can also stem from supposed loving and caring owners, De Lima further recalled a couple who cut open a pregnant dog using a kitchen knife and a pair of scissors last June.

The senator maintained that these are just some of the notorious animal abuses happening in the country as a great number are left unheard, unrecorded, and unreported.

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