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Macau has no agenda for animals
The lack of laws to protect animal rights in Macau could result in serious social and health problems, director of the Society for the Protection of Animals (Anima) Albano Martins said on last weekend’s TDM Talk Show.
According to Martins, Macau is still in the 18th century in terms of animal rights protection, considering that the territory’s first animal rights protection bill was drafted in 2008, but is still on hold.
“To this day, there is no animal rights protection. Macau is getting more and more developed, but animals are almost forgotten. They are bought just like they were toys and thrown away as they get bigger. We have to put an end to this,” he said.
The association headed by Martins, wants to see animal cruelty and abandonment to be treated as a crime – “but this is not an easy task,” he bemoaned. Martins said there is a massive lack of laws concerning animals, which places Macau quite far from other neighbouring cities, such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
“Cruelty has not only to do with abandoning animals, but also with the lack of laws of animal welfare in Macau. For instance, everybody can own a pet shop because there are no regulations on the issue. There are animals that stay caged in shops for more than six months,” he pointed out.
To this day, the MSAR has no regulations for pet shops, veterinary clinics and even for professionals that take care of animals. “Everybody can be a vet in Macau. Who are the vets that are taking care of the pandas? They came from China,” he stressed.
And the lack of laws and regulations could become a social nightmare, Martins underlined.
“We have non-regulated pet shops abandoning animals and these animals will be on the street and there is a real risk of them spreading diseases,” he warned.
“Macau is located in an area that is sensitive to rabies, because China is an endemic area for rabies. Many animals are smuggled to Macau, so the level of risk should be considered similar to the Mainland,” he warned.
Animals in Macau are only vaccinated against rabies if they are registered by the Civil and Municipal Affairs Bureau’s (IACM) animal shelter. According to Martins’ estimates, there are around 8,000 non-registered animals in the territory.
“Rabies is transmittable to humans, so this is not only an animal problem, but also a social issue. If we have a problem of rabies in Macau, the Government won’t find enough qualified vets to take care of it,” he stressed.
There is also no legislation on transmittable diseases in the MSAR. Therefore, he added, European authorities do not consider Macau laboratories qualified.
“If we want to take animals to Europe, that’s another nightmare. Even people that care about animals found themselves with a lot of problems to bring animals along with them to Europe, and [sometimes] they have to leave them in Macau,” he said.
A regional gap
Moreover, Martins believes that rates for getting an animal registration license are too high in Macau, compared with other regions. “Edmund Ho [former Chief Executive] lowered the rates from MOP 2,000 to 500 for an animal license. The number of registered animals doubled since then. However, this is still high compared to other regions, where rates are under MOP 100,” he said.
In 2006 and 2007, Anima was asked twice by IACM to share its views on an animal rights protection bill. A year later, the draft was sent to the office of secretary for Administration and Justice. Despite these efforts, an animal protection law is yet to be enacted.
“Unfortunately there is no agenda for animals in Macau. There is only agenda for pandas,” Martins said.
“And that is only because pandas are considered a national animal and a symbol of China… however, people forget that China is getting more modern and they have already legislated on animal protection rights. Macau is far from China in this field,” he stressed.
“It’s a pity that the Government cannot find an agenda for animals.”
Last year, according to Martins, around 700 animals were killed in the kennel, an average of two animals per day. “At Anima, every day we deal with cases of abandoned animals, and we try to do our best, but we have not enough space,” he pointed out.
On last weekend’s TDM Talk Show, Martins also urged IACM to include a qualified Vet on its board, in order to share professional insights with the other members. “People on IACM’s board don’t care about animals. They should have a vet on the board, young people that are really aware of these problems… someone at least capable of dealing with this kind of issue,” he suggested.
Responsible Right of Expression — In the interest of freedom of expression, coupled with a true sense of responsibility to encourage community dialogue, the Macau Daily Times offers its readers the opportunity to express their opinions on news-related matters through this website. All opinions are welcome. However, we reserve the right to remove comments that are deemed to be obscene, or are merely insults written under the cloak of anonymity. MDT
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