Act now!

Tomorrow evening around 4:30, a group of animal rights activists will hold a press conference in National Heroes Square to bring attention to the importance of animal rights.

But that’s not all Danielle Fitt, along with a couple of her friends, including Janelle Wood, intend to do. Having collected 3,000 signatures the group was aiming for, they will be pressing both political parties to do something about enforcing already existing legislation regarding animals and to include that in their manifestos.

Fitt told Barbados TODAY that the group was started in November last year and they were waiting for the targeted number of signatures before making their next move.

Now they have surpassed their target and she is calling on people and the political candidates to look around and see what was going on around them and act.

In an email she sent to Barbados TODAY she wrote: “This email serves to inform you that the people of Barbados and some across the world have cried out to the political parties for a change, and that change is the enforcement of animal rights legislation.

“To that end, we have created a petition challenging the political parties to include, in their manifestos, a plan to update and enforce the legislation already in place. It is a very real problem that merits the immediate attention and action of our parties and we have surpassed our goal number of signatures, 3,000.

“Some of the persons who signed actually stated that they will not be voting should the issue be left unattended. At a time where Barbados’ tourism industry is suffering, persons from across the world have become interested in the issue as well. From as close as Trinidad to as far as Australia, and Bosnia!”

In addition to the BLP, DLP, New Barbados Kingdom Alliance, other minority parties, the group’s targets are the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Education, Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, the tourism sect generally, and farmers.

Fitt said if they fail to hit home their message and get the politicians to pay attention, they would put their heads together and plan their next move. She noted however, that whatever it was it would be within the law.

On the website, care2 the petition site, where they have started the “Barbados Votes for Animal Rights petition”, they noted that the animal control situation in Barbados had reached “a desperate level”.

“Dogs and cats roam the streets and fill the shelters and the pound as a result of various factors including over-breeding, neglect, abuse, and lack of education of owners. Legislation is in place to protect these animals from unsuitable owners and environments but needs updating and the enforcement of animal right laws seems to have taken the back seat.

“Animal lover or not, the situation influences us all. Pets and livestock which are not being taken care of pose a significant health risk. Water left to become stagnant provides a perfect breeding ground for disease carrying mosquitoes and increase the chance of the animal becoming sick (this can influence the quality of meats we purchase and may even cause the general population to cast a doubtful eye on local meats/eggs). Roaming animals which raid the garbage cans for scraps encourage vectors of disease (rats, mice, roaches, etc.) to live and breed in our neighbourhoods, around our schools and places of business.

“Registered voters and potential visitors to the island want to know who will support the fight against animal cruelty in this country.

“Who will push for a speedy update and proper enforcement of the animal control and dog licensing act legislation? Who will recognise that we in Barbados have a major problem with animal cruelty and neglect and take action?

“The Government is only as strong as the people who back them. We need our Government to take a deeper look into the animal control problem and understand that taking steps to ensure the update and strict enforcement of animal control laws is beneficial to the overall health of the island, as it relates to its people, its visitors, and its animals,” they wrote.

Fitt said apart from the signatures on the website, people also signed up when they visited supermarkets. A letter was also sent to politicians outlining their concerns. (DS)

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