‘Laws not very strict’

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Students of Gospel Primary school during the Pet show on Friday. Picture: SPCA / FACEBOOK

As the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) gears up to celebrate its 70th anniversary, strengthening laws on animal rights and animal protection is a key focus for the organisation.

Speaking to this newspaper, SPCA clinic and shelter manager Shaneel Narayan said one of the reasons why there was an increase in stray animals in the country was due to the lack of legislation.

“The laws are not very strict, that’s why there’s a lot of stray animals around,” he said.

He added the existing laws were either not very strict, neither was it being enforced, therefore causing negligence and ignorance from some Fijians.

“We are working on that with different stakeholders to strengthen the laws.”

The Greater Good Foundation, a stray animal homeless shelter, said Fiji was developing an international reputation for animal brutality, and it was time for our leaders to make animal welfare part of their agenda.

Spokesman, Mohammed Khan, said the world watched in horror at stories of dogs poisoned with weed killer, deliberate cane knife injuries including amputations and animals burned alive with boiling water.

“These are abhorrent in other countries but common in Fiji, social media is also documenting pig hunters kidnapping dogs off the streets and from compounds and routinely torturing and starving them,” he added.

Mr Khan said Fiji’s animal cruelty laws were not enforced and there have been no convictions.

“Due to the lack of proper welfare policy, the government and councils are responsible for deadly baiting campaigns which are conducted under the cover of darkness, so no one sees.”

Mr Khan said every few months, they mount a midnight operation in main towns and cities, and overnight scores of dogs and cats died an agonising and slow death.

The Greater Good is calling on the newly elected government to work with Fiji’s animal welfare NGOs to come up with a proper plan to address animal welfare.

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