The new Commissioner for Animal Welfare Alison Bezzina, in her first interview since her appointment, waded into the debate about whether animals should wear clothes.
Andrew Azzopardi the host of the programme on 103 Malta’s Heart sought her opinion on this ever-increasing new trend.
Bezzina’s answer was that it depends on whether the clothes are worn for the good of the animal or for the pleasure of the owner. She has no problem with the first option. “While this can help certain breeds to protect them from cold it can cause inconvenience to others” was the answer of the Commissioner.
Asked about enforcement of existing legislation Bezzina lamented that this was not enough. The law, for example, prohibits keeping animals on a permanent leash, said Bezzina, but enforcing it implies getting someone to Court. This is a lengthy process that could be avoided if the Animal Protection Officers can impose fines.
Bezzina explained that the role of the commissioner is complex since it does not carry executive powers but is more of a consultative role to the Minister and the authorities. Such advice on the enhancement of animal rights is not always accepted, lamented Bezzina.
When asked if animal welfare is on the government agenda, the Commissioner said that she has seen the sector gaining importance along the years.
She welcomed the ‘raise’ in status of the animal welfare sector from Parliamentary Secretariat to Ministry. Activists of animal rights consider this as a develeopment, the Commissioner said.
Bezzina stressed that there is a need for more people to be educated while at the same time law should be enforced.