Cebu City Gets Tough On Cruelty

CEBU CITY - This city is the first local government unit (LGU) in the country that has passed an ordinance against cruelty to animals using forced oral drenching method before slaughter even before RA 8485 otherwise known as the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 has been enacted.
calendar icon 7 November 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

Cebu City Veterinarian Dr. Alice Utlang bared that oral forced drenching before slaughter or "tingal" in the Cebuano dialect is prohibited as this is often applied to increase body weight so that wholesale and retail prices of meat are likewise unfairly increased.

Apart from inflicting pain to the animal, such method also dupes and deprives the consumers from the true kilo weight of meat they are buying, Utlang said.

Cebu City Ordinance No. 2080 approved on July 5, 2006 amends ordinance No. 879, promulgating rules and regulations governing the activities of butchers and their helpers and other persons in the slaughtering of domestic food animals and domestic poultry in the Cebu City abattoir, their supervision and control and providing fees thereof.

Under the ordinance, forced oral drenching is a form of cruelty causing animals to bloat and suffocate while this method also causes meat to suffer in quality and shortchanges consumers with artificial weight of meat cuts.

The ordinance likewise stipulates that any cattle either cow or carabao found to be bloated or forced drenched will be taken into custody and subjected to summary condemnation.

Utlang said those that violate the ordinance will be subjected to a fine of not less than P1,000 nor more than P5,000 or an imprisonment of not less than six months nor more than one year or both.

In fact, Cebu City is the first LGU in the country to adopt a local legislation that gives due protection to the general welfare of animals while the National Government only passed the Animal Welfare Act two years after or in 1998, Utlang stressed.

Early this year, a butcher was apprehended for applying the forced oral drenching method and was jailed for two nights before posting bail and paying a fine of P5,000 while last year, a person was arrested for slaughtering a dog for food meat and was fined P2,000 and spent overnight in jail, Utlang revealed.

Department of Agriculture (DA-7) Animal Welfare Coordinator Dr. Verna Agriam on the other hand, admitted no person has been charged in court for violating the Animal Welfare Act.

Though the law was approved in 1998, "we are still on the information dissemination stage," as people still need to be aware on the provisions of the law, Agriam said. Budgetary constraints have hampered the massive advocacy drive about the law as focus of their agency is on poverty alleviation programs, Agriam added.

Agriam is urging local government units to help the National Government in its campaign promoting and protecting the basic rights of animals that include freedom from malnutrition, injury, illnesses and harm.

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