Updated: 04/27/2013 00:30

Govt accepts all 24 recommendations proposed by AWLRC to raise animal welfare standards here



Govt accepts all 24 recommendations proposed by AWLRC to raise animal welfare standards here

The Ministry of National Development has accepted all 24 recommendations proposed by the Animal Welfare Legislation Review Committee (AWLRC). 

The recommendations, both legislative and non-legislative, are grouped under four thrusts. 

These include ensuring reasonable care and welfare of animals, increasing deterrence and stepping up action against wrongdoers, fostering greater responsibility in the industry to ensure animal welfare, and fostering greater responsibility amongst pet owners and greater community awareness of animal welfare. 

Among the recommendations is a tiered penalty structure that differentiates the intent of the offender and nature of the offence. 

The committee has proposed different penalties for individuals and corporate bodies such as pet shops and farms. 

The current penalty is a maximum fine of $10,000 and/ or a 1 year jail term. 

The AWLRC has recommended that repeat malicious offenders of animal cruelty and abuse be given a maximum fine of $50,000 and/ or 3 years' jail. The offender would be prohibited from keeping animals for up to one year. 

For those with deliberate or malicious intent of being cruel to an animal and repeat offenders who fail to ensure adequate care, the proposed new penalty is a maximum fine of $20,000 and/or 2 years' jail. The offender would also be prohibited from keeping animals for up to one year. 

For first-time offenders who are reckless or ignorant or those who fail to provide care to the animals, the proposed new penalty is a maximum fine of $10,000 and/ or one year jail term. The offender would also have to perform community service. 

Corporate bodies will face stiffer penalties depending on the nature of the offence. 

Repeat corporate offenders for wilful or cruelty cases can be fined up to $100,000 and/or be prohibited from engaging in animal-related trade for up to one year. 

Wilful offenders including repeat offenders face a maximum $40,000 fine and/or be prohibited from engaging in animal-related trade for up to one year. 

For those businesses that are reckless or ignorant and that fail to provide care can face a maximum $20,000 fine. 

Another recommendation is setting a minimum age of 16 years old for buying a pet and including this requirement as a condition of licensing for pet shops and pet farms selling pets. 

MND said this is a significant step towards improving animal welfare in Singapore. 

Chair of AWLRC Mr Yeo Guat Kwang said, "It marks a significant step for animal welfare in Singapore, as we will move on to more proactive and responsive legislation as well as instilling responsible and appropriate behaviour in all stakeholders who play a part in an animal's life cycle. The committee's report and its 24 recommendations is the result of a collaborative effort by a group of stakeholders who have an interest in animal welfare. It is a fine example of a ground up initiative and what can be achieved when communities work together around a common passion." 

MND will work with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to carefully work out the detailed implementation plans and roll out the recommendations in phases. 

MND also welcomes Mr Yeo's plans to table a Private Member's Bill to amend the animal welfare legislation in the Animal and Birds Act, as a follow-up to the Committee's recommendations.

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