The challenges of implementation and the impacts on Guyanese, not only livestock sector stakeholders, were underscored by Opposition Parliamentarian, Needkumar, in his contribution to the debate on the Animal Welfare Bill 2016.
“This Bill in inundated with shortcomings,” he said, urging that the Bill not be rushed through the National Assembly.
As such, he endorsed the call by his colleague, Dharamkumar Seeraj, for the Bill to be sent to a Parliamentary Special Select Committee.
According to him, the Bill contains “too many” subjective provisions and onerous enforcement penalties. “There is a lack of practicality in implementation, but also the immediate inconsistent balance with other legislation in force, as well as the onerous impacts in many cases,” he said.
Needkumar pointed out that the provisions of the Bill do not care for the customary “survival methodology of many persons” and lack of clarity in several sections of the Bill, pointing to the requirement for persons with animal to register with the Guyana Livestock and Development Authority (GLDA) as one such provision.
“This is just another backward bureaucratic measure to further burden the poor people of this country,” he said, also warning that persons can be “selectively” targeted.
Commenting on the provision that regulates transportation of animals, he said, “What is being created here is a formula for harassment. The impact envisaged is that on many days, there shall be long queues of cattle trucks lined up on the roadside at several police stations and outpost, not to mention the significant increase in costs of beef and other meat products.”
Needkumar warned too that the Bill will create a situation where profitability will decrease, fees will be increase and act an as disincentive for sector stakeholders and other negatives.
“We are not opposed to an improved, constructive and meaningful regularization of the issues related to animal welfare in Guyana…we must do so with a n approach with will impact positively on our economy and citizens, while achieving acceptable standards,” he said.
The Bill will affect stakeholders in the local livestock industry directly and includes requirements that relate to: Prohibited acts and protection of animals; Protection of animals while kept or raised; Protection of animals during health care provision and zoo technical interventions; Protection of animals at the time of humane killing; Humane killing without delay; Protection of animals during transport; Humane transportation of animals; and Protection of wild animals, among other provisions.