Ministry backs down on pet bill

Under the bill, the owner of two-year-old Snow (left) and 23-year-old Owen will need to pay 900 baht to register them. (Photo by Komsan Jandamit)

The Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives minister has withdrawn a bill on animal torture and welfare for further review following heavy criticism.

The move came after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s comment on Thursday the bill on animal torture prevention and animal welfare should be reviewed even though the cabinet chaired by him approved it on the previous day.

Under the bill, owners must pay up to 450 baht for each pet or face a jail term up to two years or a fine of 25,000 baht.

Local administrations must require owners to register their pets. They may charge fees not more than the rates set by a ministerial order -- 50 baht for a registration form, 100 baht for a pet ID booklet and 300 baht for a chip.

Soravit  Taneeto, director general of the Livestock Department, said the Agriculture Minister Grisada Boonrach agreed to withdraw the bill it had proposed to the cabinet.

“We will review it with the Council of State and related agencies based on the principle of not adding to people’s burden before resending it the cabinet. We will also hold public hearings before proceeding,” he said.

Supporters of the bill say it can help mitigate the problem of abandoned animals. Opponents say the fees are too high, especially for those keeping several pets. Some claim even more pets will be abandoned because people cannot afford to register them.


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