Animal rights activists concerned with ‘Musical Chairs of Animal Welfare Directors’

The Animal Welfare directors changing every so often has raised the concern of animal activists within Vuċi għall-Annimali, who claim the agency is not effective in operating both as a sanctuary and a regulator

Animal activists have expressed concern about the Animal Welfare directors changing every so often and insisted that the agency operating as both a sanctuary and a regulator is inefficient.

“This ‘Musical Chairs’ of directors will not solve the chronic problem that this department has,” Vuċi għall-Annimali said on Wednesday.

This comes following the resignation of former Animal Welfare Director Patricia Azzopardi. She was asked to resign over lack of action on a number of animal abuse cases, MaltaToday revealed in April.

The tipping point seems to have been her lack of action on the current situation surrounding the pit bull attack on owner Andre Galea, sources close to government said.

Vuċi għall-Annimali explained that the current system, where the Animal Welfare department operates as both a sanctuary and a regulator, is ineffective in protecting animal welfare due to limitations in space, capacity, and resources.

For this reason, they suggested the splitting of the animal welfare department into two entities, with one focused on regulation and the other dedicated to animal care.

“The ‘regulatory’ aspect of the department should remain in the hands of the ‘traditional’ governmental department, whilst the care of animals is to be transferred to an agency set up specifically for this,” the activists explained.

The agency would recruit people who want to work in this sector and provide training to all workers. It would also organise neutering campaigns for cats and dogs and partner with animal NGOs to increase the number of animals that can be kept.

Additionally, the proposed agency would be responsible for providing suitable care for all animals in its custody, including abused animals that the state has intervened to rescue. It would also receive financial investment to function correctly, with basic resources such as appropriate vehicles and tools.

The Animal Welfare Department would still carry out inspections on violations of laws or cruelty to animals, enforce microchips, and provide funds and grants to animal associations to better operate.

The activists recommend that both the department and the agency should be separate from the Ministry of Agriculture. 

The group believes that implementing these changes will address the chronic issues and ensure the protection and care