Written by Fikri Ajlan
When we speak about animal violence in Malaysia, even though people don’t perceive this social disease as serious as others, it somehow managed to attract and intrigued people’ curiosity towards this matter. Since almost newspapers in Malaysia have reported animal cruelty cases throughout the years, does it gain a sense of empathy in one to help those animals or are we even aware of it? Only we can answer it for ourselves for sure.
We live in the modern era where the technology has become so advanced and almost every human on earth utilized its functions. The rapid growth of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide an unlimited medium and access for all of us to benefits. Back in the old days, they would never be able to feel this kind of advancement and for one to expressing one’s opinion is not as easy like today and the medium is very limited.
Through social media, we can express almost anything, from our thoughts, political views, sensitive issues and even our personal rants, and with the power entrusted in the journalists, they could make a change in spreading the awareness and provide information to the public. Animals cannot speak for themselves and it’s very terrible to witness and read all of the violence that had been done the animals.
More than two decades of psychological and sociological research reveals that barbarous acts toward animals often lead to brutality toward humans. Such violence has been observed in serial killers, who often began their sprees of violence by practicing on animals, but is well-documented in cases of domestic violence and child abuse as well. There are also several outer factors that might be triggering the act including the likes of wrong media influences, lack connection to the natural forms or even sometimes, behavioural or psychological disturbances.
Image credit: rspca.org.uk Image source
Back in 2013, The Star has reported a list of shocking animal cruelty cases in Malaysia and from there, you can see a lot of distracting stories and newspapers in Malaysia begin to cover this issue. One of the cases is about a baby elephant embracing its dead mother. This case has caused a lot of commotion when it was discovered that 14 pygmy elephants in which 10 of them are females and four males aged between four and 20 years were found dead at Gunung Rare Forest Reserve in Sabah. The saddest part about this story is the elephants’ deaths were caused by poisoning, allegedly by workers in oil palm plantations bordering the reserve. Thus, the news portrayal makes us think some people can be so mean and evil in order to get what their profits and didn’t bat an eye at all to this poor animal.
Another heart breaking story tells us about 14-year-old female Malayan sun bear and Arabian stallion at Malacca Zoo and Night Safari died due to the food poisoning that was given by an elderly businessman from Johor. Based from the CCTV footage, it shown the man was feeding the animals fruit that had been combined with toxin. Later, we have found out that the man used to owned a zoo that was shut down and the reason he poisoned those poor helpless animal was out resentment and he wanted to take revenge. So it’s really upsetting to see why people can be so selfish and didn’t even think about the consequences of their actions.
In 2014, an article titled “Apathetic authorities to blame for animal cruelty in Malaysia, observers say “ that was published by MalayMail Online on May 15 suggested that the reason why animal abuses keep happening was due to the authorities’ lack of concern .
“It is the enforcement of law, law is there to punish but the authorities are not taking animal abuse in this country seriously. Even in court, nothing is ever done on serious abuse,” Lawyer N. Surendran said.
Fast forward to 2016, New Straits Times Online reported The Animal Welfare Act 2015 is in plan to be implemented next year. According to Veterinary Services Department (DVS) director-general, Datuk Dr Kamarudin Md Isa, the new law would possibly make the animal abusers to think twice before commit animal cruelty as stricter punishments will await them
In Mac 2015, The Guardian reported a couple who kept more than 40 pets in neglected conditions at their home have been arrested and jailed, and the most sickening part is that the presiding magistrate describing it as the worst case of animal cruelty he had seen in 30 years.
June Harding, 46, and her husband, Paul, 45, left their 31 dogs, seven cats and four guinea pigs to sleep in their own feces in tiny rooms with no natural light. Moreover, they were not given with clean water supplies and many of the animals were infected by eyes disease, rotting teeth and ulcers in which two of them had to be put down when they were found by police and animal welfare inspectors.The married couple were each sentenced to 12 weeks in prison after pleading guilty to a total of 28 charges of animal neglect, thus they are banned from life from keeping animals.
Meanwhile in April 2015, RSPCA expressed their concern on the increasing cases of animal cruelty as people continuing to abuse them in disturbing ways. The animal welfare charity received 159,831 complaints in 2014, compared to 153,770 in 2013.
RSPCA chief veterinary officer James Yeates stated that it was extremely concerning that RSPCA is still receiving more than 20,000 complaints about animals being deliberately abused.
“Most of the complaints we receive involve animals being neglected or not receiving the right care and often we can put that right by offering welfare advice. However, it is shocking that in 2014 people are still being deliberately cruel in what can be disturbingly inventive ways”, he added.
Based on the article posted by The Guardian titled “MP calls for tougher animal cruelty sentences amid link to domestic abuse” on 8 November 2016, a Member of Parliament (MP), Anna Turley is urging the government to sterning the punishment for animal cruelty offences, as research shows people who harm animals are more likely to commit domestic abuse.
After hearing about what RSPCA inspectors describing the most horrifying abuse they had seen and the offenders weren’t punished properly for it, It as a shocker for Turley to learn that the maximum jail term for such offences was six months, having not been changed since 1911.
In a nutshell, both local and international newspapers gave a lot of input in covering any cases that related to animal violence. Of course, the western media will give a bigger coverage since there were a lot of cases have been reported there compared in Malaysia. However, based on what I’ve read from the articles, both Malaysia and British government are trying their best in implementing the new rules and regulation in taking care of the animal welfare.
In Malaysia we can see Animal Welfare Bill 2015 and Animal Welfare Act 2015 are being enforced in the country to prevent any occurrence of the animal abuse cases and giving severe punishments to the abuser. While in the United Kingdom, they are still figuring out in improving their Animal Act but nonetheless, the government still doing their best in protecting the animal right and welfares.
The most disturbing part is that both local and international newspapers reported that people are still deliberately abusing animals and they even do it to fulfill their personal agenda. It’s a really disgusting behavior and for someone to commit any kind of cruelty to those animal needs to seek mental help from professional. So at least with the help from the Act, animal cruelty cases can be lessen and the abusers would be punished accordingly.
Azura. A. (2016, July 28). Bye bye animal cruelty: Animal Welfare Act to be enforced next year. Retrieved November 13, 2016 from New Straits Times Online.http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/07/161372/bye-bye-animal-cruelty-animal-welfare-act-be-enforced-next-year
Kugan. J. (2013, December 26). Malaysia’s worst animal cruelty scandals of 2013.Retrieved November 13, 2016 from The Star Online.http://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/features/2013/12/26/malaysias-worst-animal-cruelty-scandals-of-2013/
Peter Walker.(2016, November 8). MP calls for tougher animal cruelty sentences amid link to domestic abuse. Retrieved November 13, 2016 from The Guardian .https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/08/mp-calls-for-tougher-animal-cruelty-sentences-amid-link-to-domestic-abuse
Press Association. (2015, April 22). Cruelty to pets is rising and disturbingly inventive, warns RSPCA. Retrieved November 13, 2016 from The Guardian.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/22/pet-cruelty-rising-rspca-warns-0
Steven Morris and agency. (2015, March 11). British husband and wife jailed over ‘appalling’ animal cruelty. Retrieved November 13, 2016 from The Guardian.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/11/british-animal-cruelty-husband-wife-jailed-40-pets
Yap. T. G. (2014, May 15). Apathetic authorities to blame for animal cruelty in Malaysia, observers say. Retrieved November 13, 2016 from MalayMail Online.http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/apathetic-authorities-to-blame-for-animal-cruelty-in-malaysia-observers-say#sthash.QIudD8BJ.dpuf