Independent Senator: For too long animal cruelty in TT unpunished

FOR too long brutal acts of animal cruelty and abuse of animals in TT has gone unpunished, said Independent Senator Charrise Seepersad.

"Animals cannot speak for themselves. We will speak for them."

She was contributing to debate on The Animal (Disease and Importation) (Amendment) Bill.

Seepersad said effective legislation was also needed in terms of fireworks use as it caused fear in domestic animals, farm animals and other wildlife. She pointed out that the hearing of these animals were much more sensitive than humans.

She said the law for sellers of fireworks should carry harsh penalties and enforcement cannot be selective but must be a deterrent.

She also said there are unscrupulous sellers and buyers of wild meat and many, if not all, would carry some type of pathogen.

"We can be exposed to who knows what in the country."

Opposition Senator Saddam Hosein said there have been incidents of disgusting behaviour and ill treatment of animals including the hanging of a dog in San Fernando and another dog being chopped up.

"It is time Parliament protect those people and animals who can't protect themselves."

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat in piloting the bill said that under Section 21 it creates an offence for dumping a part of an animal in a public space. He said their are pluck shop owners who dump bags of feathers and also dumping by crab and oyster vendors.

"This is a very serious offence."

seeks to ensure the 65 year-old legislation is updated in accordance with what is expected of TT in terms of trading in a global environment in meat, meat products and animals.

He pointed out the bill seeks to introduce the words "animal health and welfare" to the legislation as well as expand the powers of the minister to make regulations that deal with animal health and welfare standards.

"This gives the bureaucracy flexibility to function outside the walls of the Parliament."

The bill also seeks to establish an animal advisory committee to assist the minister and the country.

Rambharat said TT "sits on the edge" of foot and mouth disease which is currently in Colombia and Venezuela and he recalled the ban of corned beef from Brazil (in 2017) due to a tainted supply.

"It is one of my favourite foods."

On the import permitting system in the bill Rambharat said that it was important to have people doing inspections on the ground, on shelves, at market places and abattoirs.

Opposition Senator Wade Mark in his contribution said the bill makes the inspector a "tzar" of animal health and standards with no mechanisms of accountability and also gives the minister too much power. He said there are currently monopolies in local livestock, and it must be ensured that no one used the legislation to create monopolies as small and medium-sized farmers have to be protected.

"This bill is not in the interest of small people. It is for big goat and sheep farmers. Don't use Parliament for your own objectives. We will not permit it."

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said there was nothing untoward in the minister making regulations and speculated if the public health regulations were subject to affirmative resolution and Parliamentary debate with the current pandemic "we would have a train line of coffins".

The bill was passed in the Senate with amendments.


"Independent Senator: For too long animal cruelty in TT unpunished"

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