The Cabinet of Ministers this week cleared a long-awaited Animal Welfare Bill to be published as a Gazette and be submitted to the Parliament for approval.
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 country.
As per the Government Information Department statement, the approval to complete the drafting of the Bill has been cleared by the Cabinet of Ministers on 19 October 2020. It also added that the Attorney General has given the clearance for the Bill that was drafted by the Legal Draftsman.
The proposal to this effect submitted by Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on Monday.
The Bill was approved days after, famed US pop singer Cher last week took to Twitter to criticise the State-run Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage over a video shared by its management of the 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 and it triggered much criticism from world animal lovers, including Cher.
“Does this look right, humane to anyone? These babies look terrified, they want their mother. Why do PPL sell their souls for dollars,” Cher tweeted on Saturday.
“The zoo will make a fortune and then elephant’s momma, and nanny will be traumatised forever,” she tweeted again.
Cher had taken an interest in Sri Lanka elephants after helping a troubled elephant named Kaavan – gifted by Sri Lanka to Pakistan was found to be in a zoo in 2020. The animal was airlifted to an elephant orphanage in Cambodia with the help of many international organisations.