Cruelty to Animals: Riding the Butanding

News reports in the past days contain images of various animals being maltreated. A dog was tied to the back of a tricycle and dragged. A pig was transported, also at the back of a tricycle, by tying all feet together and hanging the pig upside down. The photo that got everyone’s attention is that of a girl STANDING on a butanding (whale shark) in Oslob, Cebu.

Would those acts violate the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 (click here for the entry in the Legal Wiki)? It provides: “It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal or to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animal or to subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horse fights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured or deprive of adequate care sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare.”

The same law also provides that: “It shall be the duty of every person to protect the natural habitat of the wildlife. The destruction of said habitat shall be considered as a form of cruelty to animals and its preservation is a way of protecting the animals.” Could we say that invading the natural habitat of the butanding is a violation of this provision?

Just some things to ponder and discuss over the long weekend.

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