29 May 2015
Denpasar, BALI – Law students at Udayana University today became integral to Bali Animal Welfare Association’s (BAWA’s) agenda to achieve stronger laws and better law enforcement to protect animals in Bali and throughout Indonesia.
Bali is subject to Indonesian animal welfare laws which are old and largely irrelevant, weak, little known and rarely enforced.
In partnership with globally active Humane Society International, BAWA today (Friday 29 May 2015) launched its second series of international seminars targeting reform of laws to protect animals.
At the Faculty of Law at Udayana University’s Denpasar campus, the seminar invited students of law to submit recommendations for amendments to laws applying to five key animal welfare case studies, mostly concerning companion animals in Bali:
- Dog culling
- Abandoned animals
- Chaining & caging
- Dog meat trade
- Dog fighting
BAWA said: “Animal welfare and human welfare are inextricably linked and the One Health concept should be incorporated into Indonesian legislation to safeguard people and animals.”
The seminar follows recent reports of increased cases of rabies in dogs and humans in Bali, one human death this month from rabies and that authorities have allowed stocks of the life-saving anti-rabies vaccine (VAR) to run dry throughout the island. At the same time government continues to indiscriminately cull roaming dogs, including healthy and vaccinated dogs, in the face of overwhelming local and international evidence that vaccination not elimination is the effective means to control and eradicate rabies.
“Human rights and those of the animals with which people live are being violated in contravention of advice from leading human and animal health specialists and local and international guidelines and evidence,” said BAWA.
BAWA called for transparency from government on rabies cases in humans and in dogs. Registered yayasans (NGOs) such as BAWA should have access to health records and laboratory reports on rabies.
“We work in the field every day and need to always have curent, accurate information on rabies. We have a duty of care to inform communities and tourists, who pick up animals in the streets, of the risks.”
International speakers at the seminar on Strengthening and Enforcing Animal Protection Laws in Indonesia included frontline animal welfare specialists from United Kingdom and Australia and BAWA’s legal consultant. Students and other participants were encouraged to explore the legality of the five case studies and propose and submit amendments to laws.
“Indonesia must reform its archaic laws in line with humane, responsible and progressive animal protection laws in neighbouring countries,” said BAWA.
“Animal welfare is of increasing national and international concern. It is no longer considered a luxury. It is an obligation. Current disregard for animal rights puts Bali at risk of alienating large sectors of its key tourist markets.”
LOCALLY, BAWA used the seminar to propose amendment of the provincial bylaw (Perda Rabies No. 15 of 2009) which prohibits the export of dogs from Bali. The bylaw, introduced as a misguided attempt to control rabies, prevents the export of healthy, vaccinated Bali dogs that are offered homes overseas.
“Controlled international adoption of Bali dogs would provide homes for many unwanted dogs; support population control and end the perceived need to cull; and help gain overseas recognition and respect for the very significant Bali heritage dog which currently is at risk of extinction,” said BAWA.
“Lifting the ban could save the Bali dog which some scientists believe to be the most genetically pure and oldest dog known to man.”
BAWA says the bylaw is not in accordance with Indonesian national law that allows the regulated import and export of dogs. And it is not in accordance with regulations of other ASEAN member countries or recommendations by leading authorities.