A recent report of animal cruelty in the Kuruman area is shocking. Notwithstanding the existing legal framework for animal protection, the DA acknowledges that the field of animal protection is a contested one.
Humans have a special responsibility to ensure that cruelty against animals is prevented. The Democratic Alliance believes that each living creature has intrinsic value and is a sentient being. While the DA acknowledges that animals can be used in service of humans, legislation and regulations must ensure that animals are not abused or exploited.
Despite longstanding animal protection in South Africa, there is more that must be done to improve the enforcement of laws and alignment across the government. The DA welcomes the integral role that the NSPCA plays, as well as the variety of other animal welfare and animal rights organizations that operate in our communities. The partnership between state and civil society group needs to be maintained and strengthened, with increased funding for groups that operate in this field.
The DA’s 2009 policy document on environmental affairs indicates that under a DA government, animal protection would move to the newly created Ministry of Natural Resources and Heritage, and would enjoy its own empowered inspectorate.
Other policy initiatives on animal protection would include:
– The creation of an Ombudsman for Animal Protection
– The employment of at least one state attorney in each province to represent the interests of animals
– Increased capacity for working committees at provincial and national levels for all stakeholders who work with animals including farmers, wildlife managers, veterinarians, scientists and animal protection organizations.
We believe there needs to be a pragmatic and ongoing approach to law reform with regard to animal protection, focusing on the further strengthening of laws and the increasing of penalties in line with further realizing the intrinsic value and sentience of animals.
Karen de Kock, MPL