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Political parties get animal manifesto

The Animal Rights Coalition wants political parties to ban animal circuses. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

The Animal Rights Coalition wants political parties to ban animal circuses. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Animal circuses should be stopped and hunting regulations toughened, animal activists told the political parties yesterday.

The Animal Rights Coalition issued a 19-point list of action to be included in the electoral manifestos of the political parties.

At the top of the list was the hot topic of animal circuses, which the coalition said should no longer be issued with permits.

“Instead, more emphasis should be given to promote and bring to Malta non-animal circuses for cruelty free entertainment.”

The document also called for an end to zoos in which animals are restricted in small cages, including dolphinariums, because animals should be able to enjoy their national habitats.

Meanwhile, there should be better regulation of importing exotic animals. Potentially dangerous animals, such as tigers and non-indigenous ones like crocodiles, should no longer be allowed entry.

“There are enough abandoned cats and dogs as a visit to any sanctuary will prove... Any owners of exotic or dangerous animals should prove that the animal is being kept in a suitable and secure environment and is covered by sufficient insurance to cover costs and damages if their pet escapes or injures another animal or a human.”

Regarding the perennial karozzini saga, the coalition said immediate action was needed on these horse-drawn cabs.

“All horses should have adequate shelter from the weather and access to a water supply. Any owners convicted of ill-treatment or neglect should have their animal confiscated and not be allowed to own a horse again.”

The coalition also proposes horse race organisers should tell the Animal Welfare Council whenever events take place to ensure a vet is present, at their expense.

“Illegal horse races must be immediately stopped and horses should be confiscated. The organisers should be dealt with in a manner that deters them from ever organising such races again.”

On hunting, the coalition said that the majority of the Maltese did not want to see the few remaining birds shot out of the sky or being stuck in small cages.

“The perception is that hunters try to influence party policies by threatening to withhold their votes. However, animal and bird lovers also vote and have rights to enjoy nature and the countryside.”

The coalition said the hunting season should be brought to an end immediately when illegalities occurred and the police administrative law enforcement section should be strengthened.

However, it disagreed with such a collective-punishment approach when it came to allowing dogs in recreational areas.

“Green wardens or a strengthened ALE are needed to stop abusers rather than blaming all dog owners for individuals who do not clean up after their dogs.”

It declared itself against the “decimation” of trees and in favour of strengthening laws against animal abusers and restricting animal breeding to alleviate strays.

It called for more emphasis on education, “dignified and comfortable retirement” for working animals and stricter regulations on rat and slug poison sales, while urging the Animal Welfare Council to meet more regularly and replace any non-committed members.

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