Animal justice remains a pipe dream

20 January 2021 | Society

Windhoek • [email protected]

A ground-breaking animal protection and welfare bill launched by disgraced former justice minister Sacky Shanghala in late 2019 and that was slated to become law in mid-2020, has stalled amidst the minister's downfall, the pandemic and the bill’s transfer to the agriculture ministry last year.
The significant slowdown of the once swift momentum propelling the bill towards enactment to overhaul the current ineffective and outdated animal protection law, worries major stakeholders, including a stop to the once frequent updates to interested parties and stakeholders that ended after the agriculture ministry took over the completion of the bill.
“We are concerned with the delay that the transfer from one ministry to another seems to have caused, and we are disappointed as registered interested and affected parties that we have not had any feedback on the progress of the bill,” the Namibian Animal Welfare Association’s (NAWA) Heather Craemer said this week.
Craemer added that the once high hopes that Namibia’s deficient current animal protection law would be replaced with a landmark new law, a first for Africa, has diminished.

Defective
Legal expert and lawyer Ronel Lewies of Annie's Animal Legal Fund Namibia explained that the current legislative protection of animals in Namibia “is so deficient that one could consider it non-existent”.
She added: “We are in desperate need of revised animal protection and welfare legislation in Namibia. The fact that it has taken nearly 58 years for this subject to get the attention of the legislator, and now, that it is finally getting attention, the process is being protracted is, unfortunately, a less proud moment for Namibia.”
She warned that if the bill is “not treated with the sense of urgency it deserves, it will soon become a disgrace to our country, which prides itself on the protection of its natural resources”.
The animal protection and welfare bill, while still under the leadership of the justice ministry, was slated to go before the Cabinet Committee on Legislation by February 2020. By May 2020 it was envisaged that the bill would be tabled at National Assembly.

Roadblocks
Dr Albertina Shilongo, chief veterinary officer of veterinary services at the agriculture ministry, last week emailed a brief response to questions on the progress of the bill. “The bill was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture last year and it needs to be finalised. However, we could not make progress with a stakeholders’ workshop to finalise the bill due to Covid-19 restrictions and the ongoing outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in the Northern Communal Areas.”
Lewies noted that Namibia’s 2020 state of emergency and restrictions “understandably, may have contributed to some delay in enacting the new legislation. Since I’m not privy to what the current status of the bill is, I can’t say with great certainty whether the delay is reasonable or not. What I can say with certainty, is it is the animals of Namibia are suffering the consequences of the delay.”
Hanna Rhodin, national director of SPCA Namibia, said the slow-down of the bill’s progress since the onset of the pandemic is understandable.
“However, we keep our hopes high that the ministry prioritises the bill and that stakeholders will be consulted again soon, so that the bill can be finalised and go through the necessary next steps to become law," she said.

Impaired
The current Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 is close to 60 years old and has never been reviewed, supplemented or updated. Currently, the maximum penalty for the contravention of the Act is N$200, irrespective of the severity of the offence.
NAWA’s Craemer added that the current law makes any prosecution of cruelty cases in Namibia unlikely to succeed. Moreover, apart of domestic animals, the current law contains no protection for livestock production animals or regulations around the treatment of livestock.
The proposed new law would include robust and stiff prison sentences and fines for those guilty of animal neglect, abuse and other cruelties. These range from five to 15 years behind bars, fines of between N$10 000 and N$200 000, or both.
The bill further enhances the powers of animal welfare officers and organisations and addresses pet breeder regulations.
Rhodin said the revamped bill would not only better protect and ensure animal welfare, but give Namibia the chance to make a statement internationally.

Similar News

 

Conservancy feeds their own children

2 days ago - 11 May 2021 | Society

For a second consecutive year, members of the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy are using part of their income to provide food to all registered schools and...

‘We are in it together’

2 weeks ago - 29 April 2021 | Society

Old Mutual has contributed N$1 million towards the procurement of vaccines through the Vaccines for Hope coalition, an alliance of more than 50 private sector...

Golf for Autism making a difference in an indifferent...

2 weeks ago - 29 April 2021 | Society

April is dedicated to autism awareness. In Namibia, the Autism Association – established in 2000 – spearheads various fundraisers to train children, parents, teachers and...

Cash for kiddies’ cancer ward

2 weeks ago - 26 April 2021 | Society

Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) donated N$75 000 to the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN), which will go towards the renovations project of the 8th Floor...

Food for 200 Omaheke families

2 weeks ago - 25 April 2021 | Society

Deputy minister of gender equality Alexia Manombe-Ncube handed over food parcels to 200 households at Omitara and farm Blouberg in Omaheke region on Friday.The items,...

NGOs plan the way forward

3 weeks ago - 19 April 2021 | Society

In partnership with the Bank Windhoek Social Investment Fund and the Lithon Foundation, the Capricorn Foundation recently hosted an online capacity building workshop for NGOs...

Always be kind!

4 weeks ago - 15 April 2021 | Society

Staff of Nedbank Namibia and across the country recently participated the annual worldwide Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Day commemorated on 17 February.The RAK Foundation...

New leaders for ACPCN

1 month - 16 March 2021 | Society

The Association of Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches of Namibia (ACPCN), an umbrella organisation for Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches and Christian-based organisations in Namibia, held its...

513 ex-refugees feud with government

2 months ago - 07 March 2021 | Society

Windhoek • [email protected] group of 538 Angolans living at Osire refugee camp are at legal loggerheads with the Namibian government who they accuse of trying...

Win with Agribank’s selfie competition!

2 months ago - 04 March 2021 | Society

Hileni Namwandi (26) of Omuntele in the Oshikoto region won a N$10 000 voucher in Agribank’s first round of their women and youth loan scheme...

Latest News

Collaborations is key

1 hour ago | Technology

Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Emma Theofelus has called on young women to collaborate to reach wider audience and build stronger portfolios for...

Talks about debts and financial...

2 hours ago | Local News

Windhoek · [email protected] next Future Females Windhoek talks will focus on escaping debt and creating a financial freedom mindset.According to organiser Adel Oosthuizen, the financial...

How servitude impacts property values

2 hours ago | Life Style

When searching to purchase a property, most buyers are on high alert for any excuse to hackle down on price. Discovering that a property comes...

New owners for iconic Safari...

1 day - 12 May 2021 | Tourism

Funds advised by Kasada Capital Management today announced the acquisition of the 414-key Safari Hotels and Conference Centre in Windhoek. This transaction will be made...

Chill with Windhoek Express

2 days ago - 12 May 2021 | Art and Entertainment

Recurring events• 07:00 Bio-Markt / Green Market at the Stephanus Church (Dr Kenneth Kaunda Street) in Windhoek until 12:00.• 08:30 The weekly Inspire Market features...

Government in catch 22 on...

2 days ago - 12 May 2021 | Local News

While acknowledging that the majority of Namibians rely on the national broadcaster for information, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila conceded that government cannot meet its employees’...

Murorua takes over BAN reigns

2 days ago - 12 May 2021 | Banking

The Bankers Association of Namibia (BAN) announced that Nedbank chief executive Martha Murorua has taken over the reigns as chair from Ester Kali, CEO of...

Bowling on a roll

2 days ago - 12 May 2021 | Sports

Namibia Bowling Association (NBA) president Michael Wells has expressed his pleasure at the improved performance of players at the recently held Namibia National Bowling Championships.The...

Virtual international training for local...

2 days ago - 12 May 2021 | Sports

Eight Namibian soccer coaches will take part in an international instructor’s course organised by the German Football Federation and Botswana Football Association to help improve...

Load More