Khaw Boon Wan praises Parliament Bill introduced to strengthen animal welfare

SINGAPORE - Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan has praised the Bill to strengthen animal welfare introduced in Parliament two weeks ago, saying on Friday that it "made history" and will "give teeth" to measures to protect animals.

In a blog post, Mr Khaw said the rare Private Member's Bill tabled by Members of Parliament Yeo Guat Kwang, Alex Yam, Gan Thiam Poh, Edwin Tong and Vikram Nair was the fruit of more than two years of hard work.

"It will set new animal welfare standards for individuals and businesses in Singapore, and engender greater responsibility amongst pet owners," he said. "It will also update the penalties for convicted acts of animal cruelty."

Mr Khaw also praised the Animal Welfare Legislative Review Committee, which consisted of MPs, animal welfare activists, veterinarians, grassroots leaders and industry representatives, for consulting widely and being inclusive in their approach.

He noted that the topic of animal welfare evokes "strong reactions" among Singaporeans both in favour and against.

The Bill, he said, "reflects a diversity of perspectives from animal lovers and those who are less comfortable being around animals".

"We need the understanding and cooperation of all, as we try to balance these diverse views. The key objective is to achieve a harmonious living environment for everyone."