Malaysia

C
Malaysia
Recognising animal protection

Recognising animal protection

This theme examines recognition of animal sentience and the importance of animal protection as a societal value within the country, including government support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, prohibition of cruelty and protection for different categories of animals.

C

Formal recognition of animal sentience

There is legislation with partial application

Although there is no legislation or policy that formally recognises animals as sentient beings, the Animals Act 1953 prohibits causing “suffering” to animals as a separate concept to pain, which is an element of sentience. However, there is no recognition of positive feelings and levels of awareness or consciousness introduced in legislation, nor does current knowledge of the science of animal sentience seem to inform legislation in force.

A proposed draft Animal Welfare Bill published in 2012 would, if enacted, recognise further aspects of animal sentience by requiring all reasonable steps to be taken to meet the needs of animals for a suitable environment and diet, to be able to exhibit normal behaviours, to be housed with or apart from other animals and to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

The definition of “animal” in the prevention of cruelty part of the current Animals Act 1953 covers all living creatures including fish and invertebrates, whether wild or tame (section 43). The definition in the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 similarly includes “any living creature other than a human being…whether wild or tame” (section 2).

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The developments in the draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012 are indicative that animal sentience is becoming an issue of national concern. The government undertook a stakeholder consultation on the draft Bill and also an online public survey.[1] There are strong organisations, including NGOs, working to advance animal welfare.[2]

There has been coverage of the new proposed legislation in the media since its publication in 2012.[3] In March 2014 the government commented that parliament review of the Bill was expected for June 2014.[4] As at the date of publication of this report, the government has advised that the Bill is with the Attorney General’s Chambers and that it is anticipated that it will be ready to be presented at the next Parliament sitting.

 

[1] http://www.oie.int/eng/AW2012/presentations/PTT%20Session%202/2.6.%20Jam...

[2] http://www.oie.int/eng/AW2012/presentations/PTT%20Session%202/2.6.%20Jam...

[3] For example http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/07/19/animal-welfa...

[4] http://www.rr-asia.oie.int/uploads/tx_oiefiles/RAWS_CG_Mtg_7_March_2014.PDF

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The government has demonstrated interest in recognition of animal sentience and in improving animal welfare by giving a pledge in principle of support for the UDAW and developing proposed updated legislation. .

The government is to be congratulated for launching a National Strategic Plan for Animal Welfare 2012 to 2020 as part of its collaboration with the OIE. One of the objectives of the plan is that “Malaysia as a developed nation (2020) will have a caring society that is concerned with animal welfare.”[1] There do not appear to be very significant barriers to improving animal welfare through the formal recognition of animal sentience.

 

[1] http://www.oie.int/eng/AW2012/presentations/PTT%20Session%202/2.6.%20Jam...

 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are enforcement mechanisms in the Animals Act 1953 for the offence of causing or allowing unnecessary pain or suffering, with punishment of a fine and/or imprisonment.

B

Support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

There is full government support

The King of Malaysia and the Malaysian Ministry for Agriculture pledged support in principle for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare in September 2008.

Note: The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare is a proposed formal international acknowledgment of a set of principles giving animal welfare due recognition among governments and the international community. An expression of support for the UDAW demonstrates a government’s commitment to working with the international community to improve animal welfare.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Malaysia’s support of the UDAW is reflected in the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012, as this incorporates principles from the UDAW. This support means that the government can use the document to guide future decision-making processes regarding animal welfare in Malaysia. Animal sentience has not yet been recognised formally in legislation, however principles of the Five Freedoms are recognised throughout both the Animals Act 1953 and the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012.
For example, the UDAW requires that all appropriate steps shall be taken by states to prevent cruelty to animals and prevent their suffering (at point 3). The dramatic increase in severity for penalties for animal cruelty from the Animals Act 1953 to the proposed Animal Welfare Bill shows that the government is seeking to provide a stronger incentive to protect animals through enforcement and penalties for non-compliance.
The government is also following the principles of the UDAW in that the UDAW requires that appropriate standards on the welfare of animals be further developed (at point 4). Development in animal welfare is shown by the inclusion of requirements for standards of welfare for animals used in scientific research in the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012, whereas there are currently no guidelines protecting them.

The government is strongly encouraged to conclude the legislative process for the 2012 Bill. 

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The Malaysian government appears to be willing to implement the requirements of the UDAW (through the draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012), and its involvement in animal welfare progress on an international level is evidence of a desire to utilise government resources to improve the current animal welfare standards in Malaysia in line with the UDAW standards.

The proposed Animal Welfare Bill envisages the creation of an Animal Welfare Board. The Veterinary Association Malaysia has reported that in 2013 the government set up a Malaysia Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, as an interim measure before the Board can be established.[1] This interim group reportedly consists of members of various relevant government departments together with private sector representatives. The action of setting up this interim group before the proposed Bill has been enacted demonstrates a desire for progress in this area.

 

[1] http://vam.org.my/home/2014/03/malaysia-animal-welfare-advisory-council-...

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Support for the UDAW has undertaken all the formalities within the government. 

B

Laws against causing animal suffering

There is legislation

Section 44 of the Animals Act 1953 creates offences for committing or (being the owner) permitting cruel treatment or neglect, or wantonly or unreasonably omitting to do or doing any act that causes unnecessary pain or suffering. This applies to all living creatures including fish and invertebrates, whether wild or tame (section 43).

The proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012’s cruelty provisions (at sections 26, 29, 31, 54 and 24) would increase penalties to up to three years imprisonment and a fine of no more than 100,000 ringgit and not less than 20,000 ringgit for animal cruelty, unlawful animal testing and killing. It would also impose positive duties on people responsible for animal welfare to ensure that the animal has a suitable environment in which it can exhibit normal behaviours, suitable diet, separate housing where necessary, and protection from pain, suffering, injuries and disease. Other offences under welfare provisions would carry penalties of up to two years imprisonment and/or fines between 15,000 and 75,000 ringgit. It is also intended that the provisions of the Animal Welfare Bill will be accompanied by guiding codes of practice.[1]

 

[1] http://www.rr-asia.oie.int/uploads/tx_oiefiles/RAWS_CG_Mtg_7_March_2014.PDF

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Malaysia’s social and cultural traditions including caring for animals. Written laws on animal care date back to the 15th Century and a law concerning cruelty to animals was first introduced in 1910.[1]

Penalties under the existing legislation have been increased and the proposed draft Animal Welfare Bill is more closely aligned with international standards. Conducts which will be deemed animal cruelty are described in detail and the reach of the provision is very broad, in that it extends to having in possession or selling animals that are suffering in pain by reason of mutilation, starvation, thirst or overcrowding (section 29(l)), carrying out unlawful mutilations (section 29(m)), promoting or partaking in a competition where animals are released from captivity for the purposes of shooting (section 29(o)), and skinning, roasting or killing an animal for the purposes of superstition or to extract animal products such as oils and skins (section 29(q)). The broad scope of the proposed draft Bill suggests that the government is attempting to make animal cruelty a mainstream concern of society.

 

[1] http://www.oie.int/eng/AW2012/presentations/PTT%20Session%202/2.6.%20Jam...

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The improvements in the proposed new legislation (the draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012) suggest that the barriers to improving animal welfare are relatively low. Religious and social traditions do not appear to be significantly holding back progress in this area. In March 2014 the government reported that implementation of the draft was anticipated by the end of 2014.[1]

 

[1] http://www.rr-asia.oie.int/uploads/tx_oiefiles/RAWS_CG_Mtg_7_March_2014.PDF

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Under the current Animals Act 1953, veterinary authorities and police officers may, without warrant, arrest anyone who they see committing an offence of cruelty under section 44, and seize the animal involved. Contravention is punishable by imprisonment and/or fines.
The proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 would greatly increase the potential penalties for offenders including a much higher fine for animal cruelty (up to 200,000 ringgit) and up to three years imprisonment, or both (section 54(1)). It would also allow for the appointment of Animal Welfare Officers who can enforce the Act, as well as voluntary Animal Welfare assistants (section 36) who would have the power to arrest suspected offenders, and powers of search, seizure and inspection (sections 39, 40, 43 and 48).

C

Protecting animals used in farming

There is legislation with partial application

The prevention of cruelty provisions of the Animals Act 1953 apply to this category of animals. There are also provisions specifically relevant to the transport and slaughter of animals used in farming. Animals cannot be imported or exported without a licence (section 6), and must be examined before export (section 16). These provisions make specific reference to neglecting to provide sufficient food and water during transport. Section 86 of the Act provides that the Minister can make rules to regulate abattoirs and slaughter-houses, which has been done by the Animals (Control of Slaughter) Rules 2009.

The movement and slaughter of cattle may be prohibited by the government (section 51), and section 55 states that subject to exemption by the State Director, no bulls may be owned over the age of 15 months unless sterilised or authorised.

There are no other provisions in the current Act dealing specifically with the welfare of animals used in farming, including provisions on rearing, although an Animal Welfare Code of Practice on Good Animal Husbandry Practices (MS 2027:2006) provides some guidance in this area.
Under the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012, section 27 regarding the transport of animals would require that animals are transported in clean and safe conditions with adequate food and water provided. The cruelty offence under section 29 would include unlawful mutilations; section 2 states that accepted veterinary management procedures include the dehorning of cattle, nose-roping, ear notching, clipping fur, horns, tusks or tails and making marks on animals. Welfare provisions are set out in section 24 of the draft, which would include the requirement that all reasonable steps are taken to meet the needs of the animal for a suitable environment and diet, to be able to exhibit normal behaviours, to be housed with or apart from other animals and to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The current Animals Act 1953 does not establish standards of welfare for animals used in farming that reach good international standards.

The proposed Animal Welfare Bill, if enacted, would not be sufficient in itself to bring Malaysia into alignment with international standards for this category of animals, as it lacks detail on farm animals, but section 60(2)(a) of the Bill provides for the creation of secondary regulations for the purpose of responsible ownership, including of farm animals. The government advises that the existing Animal Welfare Code of Practice on Good Animal Husbandry Practices (MS 2027:2006) will form part of these regulations. Animal welfare codes of practice on transport and slaughter are also envisaged by the National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan 2012-2020, as well as an animal welfare accreditation system for slaughter houses.[1]

The government is recommended to acknowledge and implement the principles of all of the Five Freedoms (some of which are set out in the proposed draft Bill).

 

[1] ISBN 978-967-0176-17-8 (at page 10)

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 does include some provisions that show a desire to improve the welfare of farm animals, and it is also positive that the government has started work on the more detailed documentation that will be needed to implement the provisions of the Bill.

The practice of Halal slaughter without pre-stunning presents barriers to the improvement of animal welfare at slaughter. However, some improvements to welfare at slaughter can still be made within these restrictions (such as the use of immediate post-cut stunning) and it is noted that the government has recently produced a guideline for slaughtering cattle for Qurban, including animal welfare considerations.[1]

 

[1] http://www.rr-asia.oie.int/uploads/tx_oiefiles/RAWS_CG_Mtg_7_March_2014.PDF

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Section 67 of the Animals Act 1953 allows for the search, seizure and inspection of premises where animals are thought to be diseased or for the purpose of ascertaining whether any offence under the Act is being or has been committed. Veterinary officers, customs officers and police officers may arrest without warrant any person committing or attempting to commit a breach of the Act where a reliable name and address have not been produced (section 69(1)), and have power to take them to a police station to be dealt with under the Criminal Procedure Code (section 69(2)). This should allow for the effective charging of offenders under the Act.

There are enforcement mechanisms for the prevention of cruelty provisions of the current Animals Act 1953, with offences punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. These apply to all four footed animals including farmed animals.

B

Protecting animals in captivity

There is legislation

Section 50A of the Animals Act 1953 states that it is an offence to keep any animal in captivity for sale, export or exhibition without a licence under the Act. The general cruelty prohibitions (under section 29 of the Act) also apply to wild animals kept in captivity.

Section 10 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 prohibits the operating of zoos, commercial captive breeding, circuses or wildlife exhibitions without permits, and to do so is an offence under section 66. There is also a cruelty offence (section 86) which is similar to the general offence under the Animals Act 1953 and which includes a prohibition on housing wildlife in premises which are not suitable for or conducive to the comfort or health of the animals. Relevant secondary legislation in this area consists of the Regulations of the Wildlife Conservation (Zoo Handling) 2012, Regulations of the Wildlife Conservation (Exhibition) 2013 and Regulations of the Wildlife Conservation (Commercial Captive Breeding) 2013. These include licensing requirements and minimum space provisions.

Section 24 of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 could provide some improvement as it would require that all reasonable steps are taken to meet the needs of the animal for a suitable environment and diet, to be able to exhibit normal behaviours, to be housed with or apart from other animals and to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. The licence requirement would also continue under the proposed draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012, with the relevant Minister able to make provisions and licence requirements for those responsible for animals used in training facilities, zoos and animal parks (section 9(7)).

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Animals in captivity are not adequately protected under current legislation. The welfare of animals in captivity cannot be seen as a mainstream concern of society if standards in this area do not meet good international welfare standards. Whilst the general cruelty provisions do provide some protection, legislation specifically related to minimum standards in captive facilities such as zoos would be beneficial.

Although the law requiring zoo and circus operators to be in possession of a permit may provide a mechanism for effective enforcement, the only welfare-related condition for licensing set out in the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 is that a licence will not be granted to someone who has been convicted of an offence under the Act or under other animal cruelty legislation. The imposition of further conditions on welfare standards could assist here.

The proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 could increase the protection of captive animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The existing legislation has provided for human resource for this indicator as the Minister has been given powers under the Wildlife Conservation Act to make regulations for licensing in relation to zoos and similar animal facilities. However, there appears to be no publicly available evidence of such regulations made under these powers, only some brief guidance which is not detailed and which does not seem to have been updated recently. There is no evidence either of existing financial resources allocated through legislation for the development of these tasks. There could be some practical barriers in terms of the division of responsibilities as the Ministry of Agriculture would oversee implementation of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill, if enacted, whereas under the Wildlife Conservation Act responsibility lies with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, although the government advises that there will be guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures developed on the responsibility of each ministry to avoid overlap of functions, and the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 will allow officers of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to be designated as Animal Welfare Officers to enforce regulations under the Bill.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The cruelty offences are punishable with a fine and/or imprisonment. Those found operating a zoo, commercial captive breeding, circus or wildlife exhibition without a permit in breach of section 66 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 are subject to a more substantial punishment of a fine not exceeding 70,000 ringgit and/or imprisonment of up to three years.

D

Protecting companion animals

There is legislation with partial application

The general prevention of cruelty provisions of the Animals Act 1953 apply to companion animals. However, there is at present no legislation specifically protecting the welfare of this category of animals.

The Animals Act 1953 requires licensing for all dogs over 3 months of age (section 38), and mandates collars and badges to be worn as any dog found out of doors without these may be destroyed (section 36(7)). The Minister may declare a State to be a rabies infected area. Provisions outline the responsibilities of dog owners in such areas, procedures regarding dogs that have bitten someone and when rabies vaccinations should be mandated (sections 39-42). The Minister may also make orders regarding the conditions and regulations under which dogs may be kept and the circumstances in which they may be destroyed or disposed of, and the manner in which licensing may be effected (section 86(2)(k)). Section 10 states that dogs and cats imported by sea must be confined to a cage or kennel, and if any die or are lost during the journey the veterinary authority must be immediately notified (section 10).

The proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 would make it an offence for pet animals to be sold to anyone under the age of 12, except when accompanied by an adult (section 28). It would prohibit killing dogs and cats by shooting with firearms (section 24(6)). The general anti-cruelty legislation in section 29 of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 would apply to companion animals, as would the welfare provisions under section 24, which includes the requirement that all reasonable steps are taken to meet the needs of the animal for a suitable environment and diet, to be able to exhibit normal behaviours, to be housed with or apart from other animals and to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. Provisions particularly relevant to companion animals would include a prohibition on keeping the animal chained or tethered with a short or heavy chain (section 29(h)), offering for sale or having in possession any animal suffering in pain by reason of mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill treatment (section 29(l)), or causing, procuring or assisting in the fighting or baiting of any animal (section 29(n)). The proposed Bill would prohibit mutilations (including ear cropping, tail docking, ‘defanging’, ‘declawing’, branding, piercing or ‘debarking’ unless in a manner determined and certified by a veterinary authority or registered veterinary surgeon (section 29(1)(m)). The government has also reported that codes of practice are being produced relating to pet shops and breeders.[1]

 

[1] http://www.rr-asia.oie.int/uploads/tx_oiefiles/RAWS_CG_Mtg_7_March_2014.PDF

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There are at present no legislative provisions that provide detailed protection for the welfare of companion animals. Whilst the prevention of cruelty provisions under the Animals Act 1953 are relevant, it cannot be said that the welfare of companion animals is at present a mainstream concern for Malaysian society. The existing provisions are applicable mainly to rabies control and include culling powers that might not take welfare provisions into consideration at all.

In the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012, the improved cruelty provisions would be applicable to all animals, with some provisions particularly relevant to companion animals. The draft contains some good measures relating to needs, although these are not in line with the Five Freedoms, not recognising some important issues such as freedom from distress.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Proposed developments under the draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012, together with relevant codes of practice for breeders and pet shops, demonstrate that there is scope for improvement in this area.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The prevention of cruelty provisions under the Animals Act 1953 are the only current enforcement mechanisms protecting companion animals. These are enforced by veterinary authorities and police officers (section 45). No evidence has been found of additional codes or guidance in relation to this indicator.

Under the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012, breaches of the cruelty provisions under section 29 and the welfare provisions under section 24 would be punishable with higher potential fines and longer potential terms of imprisonment.

D

Protecting animals used for draught and recreation

There is legislation with partial application

The general prevention of cruelty provisions of the Animals Act 1953, as described above, apply to this category of animals. Although not explicitly acknowledged as an independent issue, section 44(f) within the cruelty offences provisions of the Animals Act 1953 also provides some specific protection for animals used for this purpose, as it prohibits an animal’s owner from employing the animal or causing it to be employed in any work or labour for which it is unfit to be employed (including by reason of disease, infirmity, wound or sore).

Section 58(a)(iii) of the Animals (Amendment) Act 2013 requires licensing of animals kept for exhibition, recreation or sports, and the government is encouraged to use this mechanism as a means of introducing detailed animal welfare controls.

Section 68(2)(f) of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 would allow the relevant Minister to prescribe a code of practice with regard to the maximum load to be carried or drawn by any animal, and section 68(2)(g) to prescribe a code of practice with regard to the use of any bit or harness. Also, the welfare provisions under section 24 would apply, which includes the requirement that all reasonable steps are taken to meet the needs of the animal for a suitable environment and diet, to be able to exhibit normal behaviours, to be housed with or apart from other animals and to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The Animals Act 1953 is the currently active legislation, and it does not suffice to mainstream welfare concerns for animals used in draught and recreation in Malaysia. This issue is not acknowledged independently as a priority for animal welfare action.

The welfare provisions under section 24 in the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 would provide some improvement in this area through the requirements for animals to be able to, for example, exhibit normal behaviours. The harsher penalties proposed under the Bill might encourage more attention to the welfare of this category of animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Upon the enactment of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012, the relevant Minister would be authorised to make codes of practice in relation to the maximum load to be carried and drawn, and the use of bits and harnesses (section 68(2)(f) and (g)). There do not appear to be any significant barriers to the Minister further enhancing the welfare of animals in this category.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The enforcement mechanisms for the prevention of cruelty provisions under the Animals Act 1953 are currently applicable to animals in this category, with penalties having been increased in 2013 (Animals (Amendment) Act 2013).

Under the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012, potential fines and terms of imprisonment would be significantly higher.

C

Protecting animals used in scientific research

Legislation is being discussed or developed

Current protection for this category of animals comes from the general anti-cruelty provisions of the Animals Act 1953; however, these refer to “wanton” or “unreasonable” acts causing “unnecessary” pain or suffering, concepts which may provide exemptions for scientific research.

Section 58(a)(iii) of the Animals (Amendment) Act 2013 requires licensing of animals kept for research or scientific experiments, and the government is encouraged to use this mechanism as a means of introducing detailed animal welfare controls.

The proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 would cover animals used for scientific research as a specific category.
The Animal Welfare Board that would be established under the Bill would act as a licensing body for those who use animals for scientific purposes (section 20(1)(b)(ii)), with powers of suspension in cases where the licensee’s animal ethics committee has failed to comply with the scientific use code in relation to the licensee’s use of animals (section 21).

Section 26(1)(a) of the Bill would prohibit the use of animals in research, testing and teaching unless all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the physical, health and behavioural needs of those animals are met in accordance with both good practice and scientific knowledge. Section 26(1)(b) provides that when the animals are ill or injured, they shall receive, where practicable, treatment that alleviates any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress; and section 26(1)(c) requires that where those requirements cannot be met, pain or distress must be reduced to the minimum possible levels. Section 26(2) would prohibit a person or institution from using animals for scientific purposes unless they are a scientific establishment, or a member of staff or a student at a scientific establishment that holds a licence authorising that use of animals. The welfare provisions under section 24 of the proposed Bill would also apply, which includes the requirement that all reasonable steps are taken to meet the needs of the animal for a suitable environment and diet, to be able to exhibit normal behaviours, to be housed with or apart from other animals and to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease; however, this requirement is applied with regard to the circumstances including any lawful purpose for which the animal is kept and any lawful activity undertaken in relation to the animal (which would include licensed research) (section 24(3)).

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Current legislation is not effective to mainstream the welfare of this category of animals.

It is in this category of animals that the proposed Animal Welfare Bill would make the most significant progress, and the government should be commended on the significant intended improvement to the welfare of animals used in scientific research under this Bill.

The Bill would assist with bringing Malaysia closer to good international standards of animal welfare, however it does not appear that two of the principles of the Three Rs have been considered. There is no suggestion of policy to replace animals in scientific research or to avoid using them, and there is no apparent strategy to reduce the use of animals. However, as organisations would require ethics approval from the Animal Welfare Board, and would need to meet the requirements to minimise pain and suffering and to meet the physical, behavioural and health needs of the animals (where possible), it appears as though the principle of refinement of scientific methods may have been contemplated in creating these provisions. The Board would be able to impose any conditions on the licence (including regarding animal welfare) as they see fit (section 13(2)).

Relevant guidance in this area exists in the form of the Malaysian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, produced by the Laboratory Animal Science Association of Malaysia with the purpose of ensuring the ethical and humane care and use of animals used for scientific purposes (and also covering use for teaching purposes). This Code is detailed and includes explicit references to the concept of the Three Rs and requirements that these are taken into account in research using animals. Members of the Association are required to submit written proposals, with justification, to an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for approval. Particular justification must be given for specified cases including the use of non-human primates.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The government appears to be willing to input resources into improving the welfare of animals in this category, as seen by the proposed mandatory oversight of scientific experiments and licensing by the proposed Animal Welfare Board. However, while these proposed changes represent positive steps, it is noteworthy that potential caveats exist for all legal protections that they must be afforded to the animals concerned only where “reasonable” or “practicable”. The government has advised that the Three Rs will be incorporated in secondary regulations made under the Bill, and the current detailed scope of the Malaysian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes suggests that there are relatively low barriers to improvement in this area.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

At present there are enforcement mechanisms for the general prevention of cruelty provisions of the Animals Act 1953, where conduct is “wanton” or “unreasonable” and causes “unnecessary” pain or suffering.

If the Animal Welfare Bill were to be enacted, the Animal Welfare Board would be responsible for ensuring that those who carry out scientific experimentation using animals are from institutions authorised to perform such experiments, and are abiding by the regulations that accompany their licence. In the event of non-compliance, the Board would be able to suspend a licence (section 21).

B

Protecting the welfare of wild animals

There is legislation

The Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 is relevant to this category of animals, although from a welfare point of view, there are some contradictions in this legislation. 

This legislation is conservation-focused; there are strong penalties for hunting specified endangered species (section 68), and protection for animals in designated wildlife sanctuaries (sections 49 and 74-76). Hunting is permitted under licence, although there are some welfare-related restrictions such as a prohibition on the use of snares (section 29). Section 86 prohibits cruelty to wildlife, but the use of birdlime (adhesive) is permitted, with approval from the Director for Wildlife and National Parks, when birds are damaging crops (section 53). Secondary legislation includes the Wildlife Conservation Order (Open Season, Time and Method of Hunting) 2014.

The general prevention of cruelty provisions in the Animals Act 1953 apply to all living creatures, including fish and invertebrates (whether wild or tame) (section 43).

Wild animals would also be protected from cruelty under the Animal Welfare Bill 2012. Section 29(r) is also directly relevant to wild animals, prohibiting the use of dynamite, electrifying or poisoning any stream, rivers or other water bodies to kill, harvest or catch animals, as well as prohibiting the use of animals in fights (section 29(o)), the use of animals for sports where the animal would be subject to cruelty (section 29(p)), or skinning, roasting, killing or extracting parts of live animals through a procedure causing pain and suffering to obtain skin, oils or other animal products (section 29(q)).

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There is some level of protection for Malaysian wildlife, however there is room for progress. Most protection is for entire species of animals from a conservation point of view rather than considering the welfare of individual animals. The prohibition on the use of snares is a positive step in avoiding cruel hunting practices. An improvement in minimum standards of welfare for all wild animals targeted by man could help to promote the protection of wild animals to become a mainstream concern of society.
The requirement of obtaining a permit for entry to, and the prohibition on activities within, wildlife reserves (sections 48 and 49 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010) may assist in creating mainstream community concern for the preservation of wildlife within these sanctuaries.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The government appears willing to provide both human and financial resources to improving welfare in this field, particularly for animals that are endangered and protected, but further clarity is needed to understand the legal status of other animals in this category. The introduction of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 would be a positive step for the welfare of wild animals. It is noted that in April 2014 the government held a seminar intended to create awareness among the public on animal welfare in wild animals.[1]

 

[1] http://www.rr-asia.oie.int/uploads/tx_oiefiles/RAWS_CG_Mtg_7_March_2014.PDF

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 authorises wildlife officers to enforce the Act, and gives them powers including confiscation, search and seizure, and inspection (Part 8 of the Act).

Section 89 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 states that offences under the Act will be deemed a seizable offence (capable of arrest without warrant) for the purposes of the Criminal Procedure Code. The Director General may authorise any officer to exercise the powers of enforcement under this Act (section 90).

Governance structures and systems

Governance structures and systems

This theme examines government commitment to improving animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government.

D

Government accountability for animal welfare

There is legislation with partial application

Under the Animals Act 1953, the relevant Minister has been allocated power to make regulations with respect to many aspects of animal welfare (section 86). The Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (sections 48, 31 and 32) and the proposed draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012 (section 9) have strong emphasis on requiring licences and permits for various activities involving the use of animals in various contexts.

Existing powers would be improved with the enactment of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012. This would establish an Animal Welfare Board with a strong decision-making and oversight role concerning many practices that involve animals in many contexts, as well as an advisory role to the Minister (section 5). The role of the Board would also include to impart education in relation to the humane treatment of animals and to encourage the formation of public opinion against the infliction of trauma, pain or suffering to animals and for the promotion of animal welfare by means such as lectures, books and posters (section 5(1)(d)). It is reported that the government has already established an interim body to begin this work, which is positive.[1]

 

[1] http://vam.org.my/home/2014/03/malaysia-animal-welfare-advisory-council-...

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Currently, the Animals Act 1953 does not provide much responsibility and accountability for improving animal welfare.

The content of the National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan 2012-2020 demonstrates intended improvement in this area. The development of the draft Animal Welfare Bill shows an attempt to promote an attitude of animal protection in mainstream society, and this is becoming more pronounced with time as seen by a trend of broadening the scope of what acts are deemed cruel, and an increase in penalties for breaches of provisions. The establishment of wildlife sanctuaries and reserves by the government should also help to improve protection for wildlife. Incorporation of the welfare provisions into the proposed Animal Welfare Bill (section 29), along with penalties for non-compliance, would be a positive step in bringing relevant legislation in Malaysia up to good international standards.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There do not appear to be any significant financial or human resource barriers to assigning government responsibility and accountability at a high government level, although the division and allocation of responsibility between various government departments and bodies could provide some practical issues.

It is noted that the government has stated in the National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan 2012-2020 that it is intended to establish new animal welfare bodies in relevant local authorities and to conduct training programmes to enhance enforcement capabilities.[1] Budget, duties and responsibilities for implementing the Plan are also set out clearly within the Plan itself.[2]

 

[1] ISBN 978-967-0176-17-8 (at page 6)

[2] ISBN 978-967-0176-17-8 (at page 13)

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are powers given to government bodies under existing legislation but no apparent mandate for them to act to improve animal welfare.

The situation would be improved with the enactment of the draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012, as the Animal Welfare Board (which would be established under the Bill) would have legal mandate to create policy and make decisions under the Bill. 

Animal welfare standards

Animal welfare standards

This theme examines whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, the extent of engagement with the OIE on animal welfare issues, and whether the government publishes reports on progress in improving animal welfare.

D

OIE animal welfare standards

Legislation is being discussed or developed

Very few of the OIE’s animal welfare standards appear to have been adopted in Malaysian legislation. Where such legislation does cover some of the guiding principles or standards (for instance, in animals used in slaughter), there is no significant legislative development. As such, standards on transport, animals in research and others have not been adopted by existing legislation. 

The intended improvements in the proposed draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012 are reflective of an adoption by the Malaysian government of some of the OIE’s guiding principles for animal welfare into its legislation. The National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan 2012-2020 acknowledges the importance of the OIE’s standards.[1]

This is especially notable through the inclusion of the principles of freedom in section 24 of the proposed Bill (reflective of (2) in Article 7.1.2 in the OIE’s Guiding Principles of Animal Welfare). Those responsible for animals would be required to contemplate the needs of the animal for a suitable environment and diet, to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, to be housed with or apart from other animals and to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease (section 24).

The Malaysian Department of Veterinary Services commented in a presentation available on the OIE’s website that, with respect to the OIE standards, most air animal transports are in compliance with OIE standards and that animal welfare standards during transport by land have improved tremendously over the years.[2]

 

[1] ISBN 978-967-0176-17-8  (at page 2)

[2] http://www.oie.int/eng/AW2012/presentations/PTT%20Session%202/2.6.%20Jam...

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

On a review of the proposed changes from the Animals Act 1953 to the draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012, it is clear that the Malaysian government is contemplating transposing more of the OIE’s animal welfare standards into legislation, thereby promoting the concept of animal welfare in the country. This shows a desire to bring legally enforceable animal welfare standards to an international level.  The Department of Veterinary Services advises that “Malaysia is seriously taking various measures to meet our obligations in implementing the OIE Animal Welfare Standards”, that “legal infrastructure and competency in animal welfare will be improved to be more effective” and that a “National Animal Welfare Strategy will provide the general framework for all stakeholders to be achieved by 2020.[1]

The requirement of the proposed Animal Welfare Board (under section 5(1)(d) of the draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012) to provide humane education for those responsible for animals also reflects the OIE’s guideline that owners and handlers should have sufficient skill and knowledge to ensure that animals are treated in accordance with its principles. This could also assist with creating an understanding of animal needs for those involved in fields using animals.

The overall role of the Board as an advisory body, to enforce and ensure the effective implementation of the Animal Welfare Bill (if enacted), to monitor the work of animal protection associations and to educate, should assist in allowing further progress (section 5 of the Bill).

The Bill could be further improved by increasing consideration of the Three Rs of ethical animal use in research and science beyond the scope currently envisaged by section 26.

 

[1] http://www.oie.int/eng/AW2012/presentations/PTT%20Session%202/2.6.%20Jam...

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The existing legislation does not provide human and financial resource dedicated to the promotion and policy development of animal welfare standards. However it is reported that, in anticipation of the establishment of the Animal Welfare Board under the proposed Bill, the government has already established an interim body to begin work in this area.[1] The extent of resources and powers that will be given to Animal Welfare Officers if the Bill is enacted also indicates that the government is willing to support the movement to increase the welfare standards for animals across many contexts. Together with a good level of engagement with the OIE, this suggests that improvement should be possible.

 

[1] http://vam.org.my/home/2014/03/malaysia-animal-welfare-advisory-council-...

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

C

Engagement with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

There is policy

The government has a good level of engagement with the OIE regionally. Under RAWS (the OIE’s Regional Animal Welfare Strategy, which involves countries from Asia, the Far East and Oceania), Malaysia has launched a National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan for 2012 to 2020, including expenditure of up to 80 million ringgit in order to improve welfare.[1] The government acknowledges the importance of the OIE and its standards in the Plan.[2]

 

[1] http://www.australiananimalwelfare.com.au/content/international-context

[2] ISBN 978-967-0176-17-8 (at page 2)

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The government of Malaysia is actively involved in RAWS – the Regional Animal Welfare Strategy. RAWS enables countries to come together to share information, produce new ideas and produce improved frameworks for animal welfare in the region.[1] The OIE’s third and fourth conferences were held in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, and the Malaysian government is contributing to development programmes that aim to provide training workshops in Malaysia, Thailand and China. During the fourth meeting, the Malaysian representative expressed interest in assuming responsibility for the secretariat after 2014.[2] This is indicative of a desire for animal welfare leadership by the Malaysian government at an international level, and is extremely positive. Further, the launch of the National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan 2012-2020 indicates that further progress is likely.

The Universiti Putra Malaysia has a government sponsored animal welfare centre and is engaged with the OIE New Zealand and Australia Collaborating Centre on livestock transport and slaughter issues.

It is clear that international welfare ideals have been considered in the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012, and the implementation of this Bill would bring Malaysia into conformity with the OIE international welfare standards.

The country’s international involvement increases the likelihood that welfare concerns will be factored into international trade agreements.

 

[1] http://www.rr-asia.oie.int/fileadmin/Regional_Representation/Programme/I_Welfare/Animal_Welfare_documents/RAWS_Newsletter_February_2013.pdf

[2] http://www.rr-asia.oie.int/uploads/tx_oiefiles/RAWS_CG_Mtg_7_March_2014.PDF

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The government’s desire for involvement and international leadership is evidence of its desire to continue seeking progress and development. There are no significant barriers to improvement.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

E

Reporting on progress

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence of policy or legislation requiring the government to report on progress towards set goals.

With the implementation of the National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan for 2012 to 2020, the government will need to assess achievement of its set goals in order to track progress and implementation.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There is no evidence of reporting on progress to improve animal welfare. However, the establishment of a national strategic plan for animal welfare presents a good basis for a programme on future progress reporting.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no evidence of existing mechanisms, policy or legislation that would support the capture and analysis of information in relation to animal welfare in the country. However, given the government’s commitment to improving animal welfare, for example, via its collaboration in the OIE Regional Animal Welfare Strategy and development of the National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan for 2012-2020, there are not considered to be any significant barriers to the government commencing reporting on progress.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Providing humane education

Providing humane education

This theme examines whether issues of animal care and protection are included in the national education system at primary and secondary level, and comments on whether animal welfare issues such as humane handling form part of veterinary medicine education.

D

Education on animal care and protection

Legislation is being discussed or developed

With the enactment of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012, an Animal Welfare Board would be established (section 5), with a role of imparting education in relation to humane treatment (section 5(1)(d)).

Some veterinary schools have included animal welfare in their curricula and the Universiti Putra Malaysia has a government sponsored animal welfare centre.

However, there is no legislation or policy in existence or in development mandating the provision of education on animal protection in the national education system.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Including education on animal care and protection in the national education system would serve Malaysia in creating a mainstream understanding of welfare standards. Through focusing on the benefits for humans of abiding by animal welfare standards, as well as an understanding of the purpose of abiding by welfare requirements, Malaysia should be able to continue its progress in animal welfare.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

Historically this does not appear to have high priority within the educational system. However, given the government’s commitment to developing a society with caring attitudes towards animals by 2020 it appears that it should be possible to see improvements through introducing animal welfare to the education system. The National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan 2012-2020 states that it is intended to prepare animal welfare guidelines or modules for implementation in schools, institutions of higher learning and research centres, and to prepare animal welfare awareness programmes for implementation at all education levels.[1] The government is encouraged to progress these aims.

 

[1] ISBN 978-967-0176-17-8 (at page 7)

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Promoting communication and awareness

Promoting communication and awareness

This theme examines whether there is government consultation and engagement with relevant stakeholders on animal protection issues, such as the development of new legislation and policy and the licensing of scientific research using animals.

C

Consultation with stakeholders

There is policy

The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry has established the Malaysian Animal Welfare Advisory Council, chaired by the Minister of Agriculture, as a platform for stakeholder engagement on issues relating to animal welfare, and as an interim measure before the draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012 is enacted.[1]

The government conducted a stakeholder consultation upon publication of the draft Animal Welfare Bill 2012 and also an online public survey.[2] The government also intends to consult with the public on the development of secondary regulations and codes of practice.[3]

The proposed Animal Welfare Bill 2012 envisages that the Animal Welfare Board will monitor the work of animal welfare associations (section 5(c)), but not that it will engage with such associations or take representations from them.

The government is engaged with some stakeholders in relation to an annual animal welfare day, intended to improve public awareness of responsibility for animal welfare, and is considering developing a regional animal welfare day in association with the OIE.[4]

 

[1] http://vam.org.my/home/2014/03/malaysia-animal-welfare-advisory-council-...

[2] http://www.oie.int/eng/AW2012/presentations/PTT%20Session%202/2.6.%20Jam...

[3] http://www.rr-asia.oie.int/uploads/tx_oiefiles/RAWS_CG_Mtg_7_March_2014.PDF

[4] http://www.rr-asia.oie.int/uploads/tx_oiefiles/RAWS_CG_Mtg_7_March_2014.PDF

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The consultation carried out by the government on the proposed Animal Welfare Bill demonstrates some willingness to engage with relevant stakeholders, including NGOs, and it is positive that a specific advisory council has been established for stakeholder engagement. The National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan 2012-2020 acknowledges that it was developed as the product of the views and contributions of various parties including government agencies, universities, associations and NGOs.[1] Interaction also occurs on a voluntary basis by organisations wishing to work with the government on issues affecting animals.

 

[1] ISBN 978-967-0176-17-8 (at pages ii and 16-19)

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no current legislation relevant to this indicator. However it appears that the government is seeking to engage with stakeholders and there has been consultation on the draft Animal Welfare Bill and engagement for the animal welfare day, which suggests that there are no significant barriers to improvement in this area.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The existence of the advisory council demonstrates strong policy commitment to stakeholder engagement on animal welfare issues.

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BMI forecasts the economy to grow at 4.2% for the period 2014-2018. The BMI also predicts that private sector investment will be a major driver of growth in the economy. Domestically, private consumption remains a strong driver, although high household indebtedness could lower consumption going forward. Other expected booster to growth will be investment in mining and a rapid public transport network costing $11 billion. The EIU predicts that in the long term, “Malaysia is well placed to make rapid progress in the next 20 years”. For example, the presence of a large ethnic Chinese contingent within the population may prove economically beneficial as “closer trading relations develop with China”. EIU forecasts growth to average out at 4.1% for the period 2021-30.

 

Date of information: 11/02/2014
Population 
29,239,927
GDP 
$303,526,203,366
GDP (PPP) 
$17,143
Education expenditure (% of GDP) 
5.1 (2010)