I.

Introduction

At the end of this academic paper, it is expected that the reader will be able to familiarize himself of R.A. 8485 or otherwise known as the “Animal Welfare act of 1998” and other local government ordinances enacted, and the rising need for the active participation of NGO’s and citizenry especially when it comes to addressing the issues of animal cruelty. Animal rights is an issue which is below the priorities of the government. It has not been given importance at all up until recently when they can no longer ignore the reality of animal cruelty and how this could affect the health and lives of the Filipinos. Ask the average Filipino which would they prefer to be prioritized, Child Hunger or Animal Rights? One would usually answer the former but as Dr. Rosario Hernandez, Founder and President of Island Rescue Organization (IRO) would say, “How many institutions to you know is aimed at addressing child hunger? How many do you know is addressing animal rights?” What is animal rights? Is there a particular law, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that declares the rights of animals? Who is the authority that says what is good for the animals and what is bad for them? We don’t know what the animals are feeling or thinking because we can’t talk to them, we just rely right now on scientific study and research to get to know more about our furry or not-furry friends and whether what is being “humane” to them truly means. If it does not hurt them too much, that is humane. If it protects their healthy reproduction and continuity of species then it is humane. If it does not torture them then that is humane. Animals are a part of the environment. Their rights should also be included in a balanced and healthful ecology as mentioned by the 1987 Constitution. Domestic Submitted By: Page 1

Animals are more than just your pets, they are also living species that need to be respected as we respect fellow human beings who have life and is living in the same world as ours. Our implementing laws, especially those for the protection of the environment have institutionalized public participation in governance and require multi-stakeholder policy-making bodies, with representations from the nongovernmental organizations and people’s organizations, in addition to public and private sectors.i Currently, we already have the law passed and took effect in 1998, the Animal Welfare Act or R.A. 8485, which purpose was declared in Sec. 1 thereof as, “To protect and promote the welfare of all animals in the Philippines…”. But as to the current situation where animal rights is still not being respected, we seek to determine, through this paper, as to whether or not the law itself truly addresses the real issues, or it is in the implementation itself by the stakeholders that is the problem. Identifying the stakeholders of this academic paper is simple, The National Government which created the general law and laws of protecting animal rights and the implementation of such laws by the other two branches of the government, the Local Governments who are tasked to uphold the laws and govern in the grassroots level. The Non-governmental Organizations, which help the government in the implementation of laws, recommend and assure the continuity and sustainability of methods for the benefit of animals and their rights. The citizenry, whose health and environment are affected if animal rights are not properly upheld, their own movement for animal rights whether animal-lovers, owners or not, alike. II. Issues Involving Animal Rights

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There are a number of factors that involve the violation of Animal Rights. One such issue is the destruction of their natural habitat. A construction of R. A. 8485 mentions that it protects the welfare of “All” animals in the Philippines but the implementation of which has been limited to domesticated animals like dogs, cats, birds and fishes. We seem to have forgotten to notice Sec. 7 of the same law that says: SECTION 7: It shall be the duty of every person to protect the natural habitat of the wildlife. The destruction of said habitat shall be considered as a form of cruelty to animals and its preservation is a way of protecting the animals. The law is clear and without need of further construction and so, why does the government itself allow ecological and habitat destructive projects like the one happening in Tańon Straight since 2007 for the exploration of oil by the Japan Petroleum Exploration Company, Ltd. (Japex)? A UP scientist’s study published in Cebu Daily News recently says that the ongoing drilling is disturbing the dolphins, consequently driven away from their habitat by the sounds produced by oil rig machines.ii Dolphins and whales may neither be dogs, cats, fishes, birds or any other domestic pet but they are also animals which are found in the Philippines and cruelty towards them is punishable by the same law, a law which has been in existent since 1998. There are so many cases of the destruction of the environment that is contrary to law. Anywhere, whether land, water and air, which is the habitat of any animal but is destroyed or neglected is a form of animal cruelty and is punishable by the said Law. So far, there has not been any law that repealed or modified the said provision but there is yet to be a Supreme Court case decided that a perpetrator was convicted for violations of the said act.

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Animal euthanasia (from the Greek meaning "good death") is the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, an animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or conditioniiiis also a sensitive issue to be tackled by our stakeholders. In June 2010, The Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala passed the controversial Administrative Order No. 21 which allows for the inhumane “Tambucho-gassing method” or the tail-pipe method of killing dogs and cats. In the Committee on Animal Welfare, created by Sec. 5 of the R.A. 8485, the only members who opposed the inclusion of such were PAWS (Philippine Animal Welfare Society) an NGO which advocated n the different issues concerning animal rights and welfare,iv and PSPCA (Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals). Hence, such method was included in the said

Administrative Order. After persistent opposition by the NGO’s and animal rights enthusiast, as of Aug. 13, 2010, the said Administrative Order was officially retracted and replaced by The office of Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala by Administrative Order 13 and such has been referred back to the Committee on Animal Welfare (CAW) for review and reconsideration. Other countries have similar but a lot more sophisticated means of putting down animalsv such as the use of a very high dose of pentobarbital or sodium thiopental. Unconsciousness,

respiratory then cardiac arrest follows rapidly, usually within 30 seconds.vi Local governments such as Cebu City, Marikina City, Quezon City, Bacoor City and the Province of Batangas City, through the efforts of their City Veterinarians have condemned the euthanasia killing through the tail-pipe method.vii The most recent to join the advocacy was the City of Cebu where early November of 2010, through the policy implementation of Dr. Alice T. Utlang and in cooperation with Island Rescue Organization (IRO), they did away with their gas-chamber and implemented

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the pentobarbital method or euthanasia. They were lauded by the Human Society International and received funding worth USD 25,000 per year to help Cebu City Pound implement their new policies for the protection and welfare of animal rights.viii Other local governments are yet to follow such footsteps. Animal population control is also one of the issues drawing the line between animal cruelty and animal welfare and their protection. Animal population control is considered a significant initiative which does not violate animal welfare rights. ix Animal population control is significant because it prevents the spread of diseases, uncontrolled breeding and environmental pollution. For domestic pet owners, this promotes proper care of animals who can be duly provided with its needs and who can stay healthy and behave. This is not a method of preventing procreation control between animal species which will lead to their extinction and cats and dogs that are spayed and neutered do not experience pain during the process. Local Government units should promote animal population control because the Local Governments ideally must provide services which private entities are not able to provide or provide services which are expensive when availed of by private entities. The Local Government Units are empowered to promote health and safety and this includes animal health care and welfare.x Animal population control should not be confused with slaughtering dogs for dog meat. R.A. 9482 or “Anti-Rabies Act of 2007” specifically punishes, “any person engaging in buying and selling (trading dog meat) for human consumption.” Police Officers in Quezon City recently rescued 70 dogs after NFA received information that the dogs would be sold to restaurants in Pangasinan which serve dog meat. At least half a million dogs are slaughtered and consumed annually in the Philippines.xi Even procuring animals for medical study purposes if made through inhumane methods are not forgiven by law. Just Submitted By: Page 5

recently as well, Barangay security officials in Quezon City on Wednesday rescued 40 cats that were about to be killed and sold to medical students. The men responsible were apprehended and a case in violation of R.A. 8485 will be filed against them.xii Protection of animal rights not only concerns animal-lovers or animal-rights activists but everyone. Dog meat lovers are exposed to extreme danger considering that they do not know whether or not these are free from diseases that produce threat to health as they do not pass through the required quarantine inspections conducted by the National Meat Inspection Services and the City Veterinary Services. The meat, if poorly cooked contains parasites that can easily be transmitted to humans.xiii Dr. Heiman Nertheim and colleagues from the National Institute of Infectious diseases and the National Institute of Hygiene and epidemiology in Hanoi, Vietnam reported on two cases where rabies infection, a viral disease that causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in warmblooded animals, usually transmitted to being bitten by an infected animal, xiv occurred through consumption of infected dog meat.xv III. Role Model: Cebu City Government In the opinion of some NGO’s, the Government of Cebu City is the only Local Government Unit in Cebu that has been affirmatively implementing R.A. 8485 and R.A. 9482.xvi The City Government of Cebu, even before the passage of the 1998 Animal Welfare Act and the Anti-Rabbies Law, already initiated Ordinance 1611 acknowledging animal rights by defining euthanasia as, “Any humane method of killing animals, animal population control”, providing a mandate for anti-rabbies vaccination for dogs, registration of animals, stray animal control, management of animals that bite humans and prescribing liabilities of owners of stray animals. xvii The said ordinance however was amended by City Ordinance 1802, xviii which Submitted By: Page 6

provided for the harsh method of killing employed by Carbon Monoxide gas poisoning but as mentioned already, this was already taken down and replaced with pentobarbital the internationally-accepted method of euthanasia through injection through policy enactment of the City Veterinarian. On the upside, the same ordinance passed in 2000 provided also for the adoption of unclaimed healthy animals after determining the capability and reliability of the adopting party otherwise they will be donated to research institutions recognized by the government.xixThe Cebu City government has an existing Memorandum of Understanding with the HSI with regard to the technical conduct of spaying and neutering animals. “Cebu City has not only surpassed HSI’s expectations but also become a model for other provinces within the country as well as for other nations with in the Asian Sub-continent.” Said Kelly O’maera, director of Companion animals and Engagement. The City has been using butterfly nets in place of galvanized iron wires to capture stray dogs, improving the animal shelter from enclosing several numbers of dogs to single dogs per cage and providing vet-training or best practices for spay and neutering techniques.xx These new policies are parallel to the intention and provisions of R.A. 8485 and R.A. 9482. Specifically, Section 6 of the R.A. 8485 that mentioned the exceptions to killing of animals. The last paragraph thereof states, SECTION 6: Xxx In all the above mentioned cases, including those of cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabaos, horses, deer and crocodiles the killing of the animals shall be done through humane procedures at all times. For this purpose, humane procedures shall mean the use of the most scientific methods available as may be determined and approved by the Committee. Only those procedures approved by the Committee shall be used in the killing of animals. Submitted By: Page 7

However, even this provision has been proven by the passing of Administrative Order 21, to be an inadequate safeguard for the protection and welfare of the animals. As of September for the year 2010, the City Pound of Cebu has impounded 778 stray dogs, vaccinated 6, 974 dogs, neutered 1,000 dogs and captured 6 rabid dogs in Cebu City.xxi

From Top to Bottom, Left to Right: 1) Each Dog confined in the Cebu City Dog Pound has its own medical record chart 2) They have sanitary operating rooms for spaying and neutering dogs 3) One-dog-one-cage system prevents dogs from catching the diseases of other dogs 4) Cebu City employed veterinarian holds dog net they now use to catch stray dogs, standing where the “tambucho”

IV.

IV.

Role

of

NGO’s: Groups upholding animal rights If it weren’t for non-governmental organizations, animal rights would not have been given any

recognition by the government of the Philippines. In fact, the one who actively lobbied for R.A. 8485 was Submitted By: Page 8

PAWS since its establishment in 1986. However, at that time the government was not ready for the animal rights advocacy but since PAWS and its volunteers never gave up on their goal, a revised bill was actually passed and signed into law on Feb. 11, 1998 by then President Fidel V. Ramos. xxii This paper’s author interviewed Dr. Rosario Maria Hernandez, president of Island Rescue Organization, a NGO pending SEC registration. She’s also a US Immigration Attorney and why asked she chose to uphold animal rights, all she answered was, “Somebody’s got to do it.” As of now, IRO has 20 active volunteers mostly composed of students and young professionals fueled by the spirit of volunteerism. “Our long term goal is to establish a rescue center and sanctuary for all animals. We are hoping to make a Memorandum of Agreement also with the City of Cebu in the future after we establish our sanctuary wherein we take their impounded animals and take care of them. Take note, not only dogs or cats but all animals, even carabaos. It would help the government by lessening their load of animals to take care of in the pound and we may also be able to provide for services that they have not yet provided.” The same NGO who passed the law, is also the same NGO that provided for a key role in the proper implementation of the law in the LGUs. Local Governments like the province of Batangas, sought to take advantage of the a major loop hole found in the Animal Welfare act which allows the consumption of Dog Meat as cultural and ritual purpose but not for commercial purpose. It was PAWS, who made a massive world-wide campaign and with help from other animal welfare groups, that made the Benguet Provincial Government to finally give in. PAWS met with the Meat Inspection Service, a division of the Department of Agriculture with the goal of closing the loophole in the Animal Welfare Act, prevent the circumvention of the law, and establish clear methods of enforcing the law.xxiii Submitted By: Page 9

The above mentioned situations are an example of our stakeholders working together for the creation of laws and its proper implementation of the laws for a specific cause. V. Role of Citizenry: Awareness and Participation The author of this academic paper had an informal survey of 50 respondents through www.surveyshare.com and encouraging connections using social media to answer the survey. Basically, this involves random sampling of people 18-65 years of age and all are Filipino citizens. Aside from social media, the author also encouraged the members of Island Rescue Organization (IRO) to answer a simple survey composed of five simple questions aimed at discovering the awareness of people of the law and how they contributed in upholding animal rights and here are the results of the survey:
1) Before this survey, were you aware of a law passed in 1998 that protects and promotes the welfare of all animals in the Philippines? Option Respo nse % TOTAL 100.0 0% Yes 57.89 % No 42.11 % 2) How do you scale the protection of the welfare of animals in your local government? (Barangay, City, Municipality and Province) Option Respo nse % Total 100.0 0% Best 0.00% Good Bad Worse 18.42 % 50.00 % 5.26%

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I'm not aware

26.32 %

3) Do you own an animal?(domestic or otherwise) Option Total Yes No

Response % 100.00% 81.58% 18.42%

4) (Situational) If you ever saw a person maltreating an animal, did you go and tell that person that what they are doing is against the law and reprimand them or did you normally just ignore it? Option Response % Total I told them off I don't care I haven't seen anyone maltreat any animal so I don't know what to do I haven't seen anyone maltreat any animal but I will tell them off if I encounter it I told the police 100.00% 31.58% 10.53% 23.68% 34.21% 0.00%

5) Do you think the Philippines is a country that is ready to take seriously and uphold animal rights? Option Response % Total Yes No Maybe I don't care 100.00% 23.68% 50.00% 26.32% 0.00%

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Data Analysis Based on the data gathered by the author, one can analyze that some people are not aware of the law but there are a greater number of people who are actually aware that a law exists that promotes and protects the lives of all animals found in the Philippines. And though even if the law exists, half of the respondents believed that their local government is “bad” in protecting the welfare of animals in their jurisdiction. Though, it is very apparent that a whopping 81.58% of the respondents own an animal, (domestic or otherwise) so this law does affect a lot of people because almost everyone, at least with the group of respondents, has an animal. What interested the author most about the results of the survey, is that a lot of people are actually doing their part of implementing the law when they tell people off if they see them maltreating animals which is great. However, some chose to say that they don’t know how to deal with something like that because they haven’t seen animal cruelty yet. A greater number does however say that even though they haven’t seen animal cruelty they commit to tell people off about being cruel to animals and that it is against the law and a few just said they don’t care. None of them however said that they will tell the police. The last question is aimed to get their opinion as to the Philippines being ready to take animal rights seriously and half of the respondents answered, “No”. While the other half is torn between “Maybe” and “Yes”. None chose, “I don’t care”. VI. Conclusion and Recommendations To conclude this academic paper, there are many loopholes in the law as well as its implementation but civic society is already moving to really uphold that rights of

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animals and promote their welfare. As a result of this academic paper, it can be safely concluded that animal rights is really taking an important priority in society today. Though it is still beginning to bloom apparently a lot of people are already aware of its existence that indeed animal cruelty is a sad reality in the Philippines. Based on the citizenry awareness survey the author of this academic paper has done, a lot of people are aware of the existence of R.A. 8485 but not all of them are willing to uphold animal rights. A lot of the respondents also think that the Philippines, as a country, is not ready to take animal rights seriously but as the reader has read in this paper so far, non-governmental organizations, civic society and even the government has already taken positive steps in really implementing the law and upholding animal rights. So, there is hope for this country yet. Based on this academic paper, here are some of the recommendations: 1) Mandatory implementation of R.A. 8485 in the LGUs to be mandated by the President using his supervisory powers. 2) Amending the law prescribing prohibited forms of euthanasia. 3) Amendment of the law prescribing guidelines for the Committee for Animal Welfare to follow in the future in prescribing guidelines. 4) Protection of the environment, using the law RA 8485 as leverage to fight against the perpetration of acts by either government or private person that is destructive to the habitat of animals. 5) More participation of NGO’s to policy-making of the LGU’s in the

implementation of the law.

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6) More efforts on behalf of the National Government to spread information about this law because even police officers are not aware of its existence and to make the citizens aware of the serious situations of animal cruelty and the law that punishes it. Just to emphasize, in the random sampling survey, the author purposely did not group the respondents for their preference of being an animal lover or not because upholding animal rights is a very real concern as it does not only affect animal lovers but everybody as well. For example, the killing of dogs for meat is an alarming problem since there is always a risk of people who will purposely use dog meat in the food that they are selling or you are buying from food vendors at the side walk. You will never know it could either be dog or cat meat you are eating and getting diseases from it. Also, the control of animal population, adoption-system and free anti-rabies shots of local governments, like what Cebu City is doing, helps decrease the risk of rabid dogs from being on the loose on our streets because there would be less unwanted dogs without responsible owners. “Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend. ~Corey Ford”

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ENDNOTES

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i

Ramos, Gloria. “Respecting the people’s rights to participate in decision-making”. globalnation.inquirer.net. 29, November, 2010. ii Tabada, Job. “Crimes at Tańon Straight”. Globalnational.inquirer,net. 07, December, 2007. iii “Animal Euthanasia”. En.wikipedia.org. iv “PAWS”. En.wikipedia.org. v Hizon-Bermudez, Patricia. “Horrors of Tambucho gassing of unwanted dogs.” Ph.yfittopostblog.com, Yahoo! News Philippines. 3, August, 2010. vi “Animal Euthanasia.” Loc. Cit. vii Moran, Kathy. “Tail-Pipe Killing Halted”. Dailyanimalwelfarenews.blogspot.com. 21, August, 2010. viii “Cebu City dog pound lauded, gets funding.” Cebu Daily News, 04, November, 2010. ix Utlang, Alice T., “Welfare consideration in animal population control”, powerpoint presentation during the 77th PVMA Annual Scientific Conference, 18, February, 2010. x Ibid. xi “Cops rescued 70 dogs in Quezon City”. www.abs-cbnnews.com. 18, November, 2010. xii “40 Cats rescued in Quezon City”. www.abs-cbnnews.com. 15, December, 2010. xiii See, Dexter. “Dog meat sold in Baguio likely unfit to eat.” www.mb.com.ph. 28, November, 2010. xiv “Rabies”. En.wikipedia.org. xv Onloving.animals.blogspot.com. xvi Hernandez, Dr. Rosario Maria. President of Island Rescue Organization. 29, November, 2010. xvii City Ordinance No. 1611. “An Ordinance Consolidating the public or city pound and rabies control ordinances in the Cebu City under the officer of the City Veterinarian”. 15, February, 1996. xviii City Ordinance 1802, “An Ordinance further amending t ordinance No. 1611 as amended by ordinance No. 1622 and 1682…” 16, January, 2000. xix City Ordinance No. 1802, Loc Cit. xx “Cebu City dog pound lauded, gets funding.” Loc. Cit. xxi Ibid. xxii “PAWS” loc. Cit. xxiii Ibid.

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