ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers has approved a long-awaited Animal Welfare Bill to be presented in parliament, days after a US pop star Cher slammed a state-run elephant orphanage.
A statement from the cabinet office said on Tuesday (11) that the clearance of the Attorney General has been obtained for the bill.
The bill will first be published in the government gazette and then submitted to parliament for approval, the cabinet statement said.
The Animal Welfare bill was drafted over 15 years ago to replace a century old law. However, the bill was repeatedly delayed for various reasons amid growing reports of cruelty to animals in the Island.
Last week US singer Cher took to Twitter to criticise the state-run Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage over a video shared by the orphanage of a new born twin elephants being taken to the nearby river for their first bath, along with their mother and a fellow herd member. The video showed a caretaker dragging one of the elephants to the water by its ear.
“Does this look right, humane to anyone? These babies look terrified, they want their mother. Why do PPL sell their souls for dollars,” said Cher in a tweet.
“The zoo will make a fortune and then elephants momma, and nanny will be traumatized forever,” she tweeted again.
Zoo Directoress of Sri Lanka, Shermila Rajapaksa holds media fiasco with captive born twins. In video the mother and nanny being dragged by ear forced into water for her to go "Live" ❗#PinnawalaElephantCruelty @GotabayaR #ShermilaOut #Pinnawala @vfaes_org @stae_elephants @cher pic.twitter.com/Y3vpH5rtH3
— Rally For Animal Rights & Environment- RARE (@RARE_SriLanka) January 7, 2022
In Sri Lanka, where a human-elephant conflict has been raging for years, 300 to 400 elephants are found dead each year, some shot by farmers who struggle to keep their crops safe from wild elephants who sometimes kill villagers.
There are also reports of cruelty against stray dogs.
Sri Lankan animal welfar activists have been pushing for the bill to be passed as soon as possible. (Colombo/Jan11/2022)