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Sri Lanka needs a new animal welfare bill
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Sri Lanka needs a new animal welfare bill

“Seriously? It’s JUST A DOG!”

This is a common thought that some people have when they see an injured or dead dog on the streets. In Sri Lanka, animals are often abused directly and indirectly and the 115 year old animal welfare legislation is not effective in preventing the abuse of animals in there. Yash Nanayakkara, a 12 year old Yourcommonwealth Contributor, believes Sri Lankans need to find it in their hearts to treat animals better as the laws do not provide the protection that animals need.

In Sri Lanka, animals play a big part in the entertainment and tourism industry. In parades and festivals, they are decked with heavy, uncomfortable clothes or wrapped around with electric bulbs for our amusement.  But, do the animals enjoy what we do to them for our entertainment? 

In 2019, a 70 year old female elephant was on display at the Perahera Festival. Under the mask and elaborate costume, she was malnourished and had difficulty walking. Every night for 10 days she was required to tolerate noise, fireworks and smoke for the pleasure of local and international tourists. But is this really necessary for the Sri Lankan tourism industry?

Like us humans, I believe animals deserve peace and quiet. But, how is this supposed to happen when noisy safari jeeps bustle in and out of Sri Lankan national parks every day? The number of  safari visits should be reduced, in order to maintain the necessary calm and quiet in habitats around the country.

Animals in city areas are also not cared for. There is a blatant disregard for the animals’ well-being. The lives of sick and injured animals are at risk because no one cares enough to take an injured stray off the road and to a veterinary hospital. 

The state of animal welfare in Sri Lanka calls for major changes to be made to our veterinary sector. The health and care of animals must be valued as much as human healthcare, whether these animals are pets, stray or   wild animals. The government must intervene to improve the animal healthcare system, provide quality medicines and treatment for injured or sick animals.

If an animal is brutally murdered by a person, there must at least be a fine of at least 50, 000 rupees, not a mere 100 Sri Lankan rupees fine and a six month six-month jail term, as per Sri Lanka’s current law.

In my opinion, no one should get away with ill-treating, beating, starving and abusing any animal. The current law indirectly allows these ills . The neglect and abuse that animals in Sri Lanka face today is evidence that we need a brand new animal welfare bill. The animals need it; they really do. Let’s use our voices to advocate for the animals in Sri Lanka.

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Photo credits: Pixabay/Canva

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About Yash Nanayakkara: I love to write articles and editorial pieces on current world issues, such as inequality and the environment. My ambition is to become a child rights activist.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles

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