Is there a pet-friendly vote?

Kathy Moran

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Animals can't vote but animal-lovers can. Here are candidates who have supported laws for animal welfare

PET-FRIENDLY VOTE. This elections, which candidates will animal-lovers want to vote for? Image courtesy of PAWS

MANILA, Philippines – I have always wondered what it would be like if we could elect officials to government who are what I like to call “pet-friendly?”

I am well aware of the fact that there are many problems that ail our beautiful country–yet, as far as I know, people are better people if they treat their animals well.

Having covered the “pet beat” for over 10 years, here are some animal-welfare friendly candidates for the national position whom you might consider voting for—at least according to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

  • Rep. Bernadette Herrera of Bagong Henerasyon Party List. She has authored the amendment for the Animal Welfare Act and was responsible for lobbying for the amendments to be taken up in Committee Hearings.
  • Rep. Boyet Gonzales of Mandaluyong. He is responsible for supporting the animal welfare act amendment for Second Reading in the Lower House
  • Rep. Raymond Palatino of the Kabataan party-list. He filed House Resolution 2759 directing the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to prohibit public school field trips to marine parks.  Palatino cited studies that have shown that keeping dolphins and whales in captivity also shortens the life span of these animals. In Ocean Adventure Park in Subic, four out of five killer whales and a bottlenose dolphin used for performances have already died. All of these animals were from Japan.  “Is this what we want our youngsters to learn – that people would risk endangering the lives of endangered animals just for entertainment? The nation’s youth deserves the right to be informed correctly and protected from misleading facts,” Palatino said.
  • Senators Chiz Escudero and Gringo Honasan. Both re-electionist senators have supported the amendment of the Animal Welfare Act in the Senate and have supported the positions that the 14-year old anti-cruelty law must be updated to impose heavier penalties on animal offenders.

There are many animal cruelty issues and people have taken opposing views on many of them. For us animal-lovers, there is only one view. No to animal cruelty, in whatever form.

City pounds

“The problem of inhumane management of city pounds is a common problem,” says Anna Cabrera, PAWS executive director.

“The problem is rooted in mayors who refuse to appoint city veterinarians and to set aside a budget that will make sure their respective cities have animal control facilities that operate humanely. Stray dogs that are caught must be given food and water–every day, even during holidays. If they see this issue as a trivial one then it goes to the very core of these candidates, it shows whether they are deserving to be voted in by people who care for animals.”

PAWS urges people to vote only for those candidates who will commit to at least run humane city pounds and appoint city vets who will make it a point to abide by humane standards.

“We also want mayors who listen to civic groups and respond to these groups’ concerns in a timely manner,” added Cabrera.

The Mali Issue

The situation of Mali, Manila Zoo’s resident elephant, makes me quite sad. It was local politics that refused the offer to transfer her to an animal sanctuary.

“They say animals don’t vote,” says Cabrera, “and that is why officials do not care for them. Animal lovers can make a difference by being guided by the information provided by our Animal Questionnaire. Animals don’t vote but people who care for animals do.”

Here is the six-point questionnaire prepared by PAWS for an animal-loving electorate.

  1. Will your local official set aside sufficient budget for humane stray animal control and proper management of your city pound?
  2. Will your local administration set up a budget for low-cost spay-neuter programs for dogs and cats to prevent pet overpopulation?
  3. Will your local administration include a place for animals in evacuation areas and include animals in disaster-relief programs?
  4. Will your local administration appoint a city veterinarian and an animal welfare officer who can help uphold the Anti-Rabies Act and the Animal Welfare Act?
  5. Will your local government institute a “no-pet” policy for certain areas in your city?
  6. What is your stand on Mali the elephant?

It is indeed humans who make our country a more humane place. Let’s vote for those candidates who know that treating animals humanely makes for a better community. –

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