The president of the animal protection association Anima, Albano Martins, believes that the government’s decision to set a one-year maximum prison sentence for animal abuse “is a huge step backwards.”
Martins said that Macau’s 9/96 law contemplates a three-year maximum jail term for those who physically or mentally abuse racing animals. Therefore, he sees no reason why offenders who mistreat pets should receive a lower sentence.
“Do they [the government and lawmakers] know that such a law applies in Macau? It would make sense to establish a three-
year sentence, because it doesn’t make any sense to have a three-year prison sentence applied to those who abuse racing animals and only a one-year prison sentence for those who mistreat all the other animals,” he recalled.
The president of AL’s 1st Standing Committee, lawmaker Kwan Tsui Hang, said on Monday that lawmakers agreed to set a one-year prison sentence for animal abuse while discussing Macau’s Animal Protection Bill draft, which passed its first reading last year.
She recalled that Macau usually has lower prison penalties than its neighbouring regions, and that the spirit of the law is to raise awareness of animal protection, urging citizens to love and care for pets and other animals.
Kwan reiterated that, according to government statistics, there haven’t been many cases of animal abuse here.
The Secretary for Administration and Justice, Sonia Chan, also said that the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) recorded few animal abuse cases, with complaints amounting to just a “one-digit number.”
Martins does not hold the same opinion. He raises the possibility that many animal abuse cases may not even be reported. “There are many examples of animal cruelty here,” including killing, he warned.
Anima, the Society for the Protection of Animals, was founded in 2003 and has since become known for fighting for animal rights. (macaunews/macaudailytimes)