The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) will assess applications for animal acts to decide whether the shows will be approved, the legislature’s 1st Standing Committee President Kwan Tsui Hang said on Thursday.
Currently, animal performances are not regulated, and animal fights for entertainment and betting are not banned.
Members of Kwan’s committee on Thursday continued its revision with IACM officials of the government’s animal protection bill. The veteran lawmaker-cum-unionist said after the meeting that the officials proposed that for performances involving animals, such as circuses or magic shows, organisers would have to apply to the bureau for permission.
However, she said that instances such as police officers performing with their dogs at public events and aquariums on display in public places would not be covered by the bill.
Kwan added that the bill would prohibit organised animals fights, adding that if the bill is passed, bullfighting would effectively be banned in Macau.
Portuguese-style bullfights were held in the city in the 1990s. In traditional Portuguese-style bullfighting, the animals are not killed in the bullring but slaughtered by a butcher after the show. Bulls that have shown “extraordinary bravery” aren’t killed but selected for breeding.
Local Buddhists and Taoists have pointed out that animal fights organised by humans for entertainment violate their religious principles.
Commenting on the abandonment of animals, Kwan said the bill’s proposed fines range between 20,000 and 100,000 patacas. She said the fines might be too harsh, and IACM officials told the lawmakers on Thursday that they would look into the matter.
Kwan also said that religious organisations would have to receive official approval from the bureau if they host an event to release animals, adding the bureau would encourage locals to release animals in an environment suitable for them.
Buddhists traditionally release birds and other animals in an act of “making merit” on special occasions such as Buddha’s Birthday.
Kwan said it may be difficult for people to define which locations are appropriate for specific animals to be released into for religious purposes, adding that people may easily break the law. “Where are the proper places? Some people may think [an area] is suitable when in fact it’s not,” she said.
Kwan and fellow committee members will continue to discuss the animal protection bill with IACM officials next week. (macaunews/macaupost)