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Animal Cruelty Bill Passes First Hurdle with National Legislative Assembly

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Members of the SPCAT picketed the Thai parliament
Members of the SPCAT picketed the Thai parliament prior to Martial Law
BANGKOK – Thailand’s  first animal cruelty bill that will penalize people who neglect, torture or fail to adequately take care of animals was passed in principle by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Wednesday with a vote of 188-1 and  four abstentions.

Highlight of the bill is that it requires owners to provide appropriate welfare and living conditions for animals under their care.

It also bars animal cruelty from being used as a non-tariff trade barrier by foreign countries.

The bill covers domesticate pets, as well as animals kept for food, entertainment or any other purpose.

However the bill does not include cruelty to wild animals, which is specifically covered by a separate law.

Under the law, officials are permitted to search homes or businesses when they receive a complaint about animal cruelty.

However, NLA members did not include 20 proposals sought to be added to the bill by a civil group for animal rights which wanted legislators to include specific details to strengthen law enforcement and give a clearer and broader definition of  “animal cruelty”.

Among the 20 proposed additions were discarding animals or keeping them in a too narrow confinement; getting animals to fight without permission; and eating live animals as well as prohibiting dog and cat trade for consumption.

But some provisions were left open for amendment later.

In reaction to the first passage of the bill,  the Soi Dog Foundation issued a statement supporting the bill saying the group was  happy when many provisions had been amended to cover the general protection of both animals kept for shows and in wilderness.

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