Managing partner of AMAR, Alghiffari Aqsa, featured as a guest speaker on the podcast ‘Ngolah Politik’ by CCHRS UPN Veteran Jakarta on May 13. He was asked to explain in-depth regarding the topics of animal welfare and animal rights in Indonesia. By exploring this subject on an online platform, awareness regarding the topic can be raised towards a broader audience. This can help to prompt more discussions on this matter amongst Indonesians.
Emergence of concerns regarding how animals should be treated has increased in Indonesia over the years. The spread of information and media depicting animal cruelty has encouraged many domestic pet owners and animal enthusiasts to take measures to fight against it. However, there is a debate over whether to approach this issue by advocating for animal rights or animal welfare.
“People often get animal rights and animal welfare confused, even though these notions have quite significant differences.” Alghiffari said.
In the episode, he defined and compared the two terms.
“Animal rights means that animals are like humans – they have human rights too. So they are not to be killed, they have the right to freedom, [and] they have dignity too. For animal welfare, animals are allowed to be killed but in a respectful manner; [and] their health must be maintained [and] arranged so that they do not suffer and so on,” he explained.
From keeping wild animals in captivity and forcing them to act in ways that are unnatural to them for entertainment purposes; to testing products on animals to ensure that they are safe for use; and forcing chickens to live in tiny cages for their entire lives to farm eggs for consumption, animal cruelty is a major problem that comes in multiple forms within various industries both in Indonesia and worldwide.
Although there are many citizens who support either animal rights or animal welfare, some of them may not be aware of the legal aspects of it. Animal rights and animal welfare is regulated under Article 302 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) and Law No. 8 year 2009. In addition to this, despite there being many advocacy and animal protection groups and organizations that aim to eradicate animal cruelty, there are currently not many law firms in Indonesia that specialize in the field.
“There are many organizations that concentrate on animals, but there are not many that concentrate on the legal aspects of it.” Alghiffari stated. “Whenever there are cases of [animal] torture and so on, if it is not currently viral on social media then it may not be processed. Even if it is processed, will it proceed to imprisonment or not?”
Animal welfare is one of the seven legal issues that AMAR handles.
“In terms of animal welfare, we review legal decisions on it; we have conducted a campaign regarding animal welfare; and there is an on-going case concerning the death of a dog and a charity established by self-proclaimed animal lovers who in reality abuse animals and personally benefit from donations themselves. We are still pushing that to the police,” he explained.
Listen to the full episode at:
AMAR Law Firm & Public Interest Law Office