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Animal cruelty institutionalised in Malaysia

I refer to the Malaysiakini report SPCA: Dog catchers have no right to enter homes.

The dog catchers arrogance in trespassing into people's homes is not just because they are desperate for the RM45 catcher's fee per dog from the local council.

It is also because they know that they will get away with the trespass as well as for inflicting cruelty onto the animals they attack in order to collect the RM45. This is because animal cruelty has been institutionalised by the federal government.

Since independence, the federal government has done nothing for the welfare of animals in Malaysia. The only legislation that sets out the penalty for animal cruelty is the Animal Ordinance of 1955.

This piece of legislation is a colonial relic left over from the British administration. Since then, the federal government has not updated it nor has it been superceded by a newer act.

The fine for animal cruelty is RM200. That was a large sum in 1955 but in 2008 it's small change.

There is provision for a jail term of 14 days along with the fine but the jail term has never been imposed in the very few animal cruelty cases that have been brought to court.

In fact, very few people have ever been charged with animal cruelty despite numerous cases having been publicised in the newspapers.

A case is point was that of the man who in 1995, strung up his German Shepherd dogs on his gate, strangling them with their choke chains while beating them to death.

There were numerous witnesses to his grotesque act as well as newspaper journalists and photographers who captured the act on film and published the photographs on the front pages of their newspapers.

What action was taken against this man? None.

He tortured his pets to death in front of an audience but he was never even charged for his brutality.

The mindset of the federal government is that treating animals badly is acceptable.

Consider what Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated’ and we can see how the rot has set into Malaysia.

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