Preventing animal cruelty

City of Cape Town calls for public comment

The City of Cape Town is in the process of drafting a new Animal Welfare Policy
animal welfare

The City of Cape Town’s draft Animal Welfare Policy opens for public comment next week. Residents are encouraged to provide input into the city’s efforts to promote animal care. 

City officials said to promote the welfare of animals and provide the framework for the city’s approach to understanding and dealing with domestic companion animals. It will focus primarily on the welfare of domestic companion animals and working equines (cart-horses). 

This follows a workshop with interested parties facilitated by the city’s Health Portfolio Committee in May 2011. The presentations and contributions at this workshop served as the basic framework for the draft Animal Welfare Policy. In January 2012, the Western Cape Government hosted an Animal Welfare Summit, followed by a further workshop in March 2012 – both of which provided further direction for the policy.

The finalised draft will undergo a public participation process from 9 September until 11 October 2013. During this time stakeholders and interested parties are encouraged to provide their comments. The draft policy will be made available for viewing at the city’s libraries and subcouncil offices. Electronic copies will be available on the city’s website at www.capetown.gov.za/haveyoursay. Comments can be submitted to Aminalwelfare@capetown.gov.za.  

Two public sessions where oral representations will be heard are scheduled for 26 September 2013 at the Council Chambers, 44 Wale Street, Cape Town. Residents have to register to attend either of these sessions by sending a request to Aminalwelfare@capetown.gov.za. 

This policy is supported by the legislation that the city is mandated to implement and entitled to enforce, the city’s Animal By-law, which regulates the management of animals, including dogs, cats and working equines. This is important in terms of ensuring public health and safety.

However, the by-law does not clearly articulate the city’s approach to the care and welfare of animals. In the absence of a policy, there is a lack of clarity on the roles and responsibilities between and within government for promoting animal care. The city therefore identified the need for a policy, as part of its commitment to creating a 'caring city'. 

Animal rights need to be balanced with the potential effect that animals may have on humans. The city has the difficult task of considering any health, nuisance, economic, tourism, and safety risks and ensuring that it has legislation and policies in place to protect residents and animals.

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