‘No scientific evidence that animals can transmit COVID-19’

The new Commissioner for Animal Welfare, Alison Bezzina, believes that giant strides have been made in the field of animal protection in recent years but much more commitment is required to implement laws. She dismissed reports of animals infecting people with Covid-19, and called for the facts to be taken into account before disseminating such rumors as these led to abuses.

Animal protection activist, Alison Bezzina has been entrusted with the role of Animal Welfare commissioner. She told TVM that she was looking forward to be able, through her new role, to put her knowledge, love and passion for animals into working for their protection.

Alison Bezzina said that the legislative framework to ensure the protection of animal rights had improved considerably in recent years and Maltese laws were among the best in Europe. She said however that there is still work to be done both in enforcing and raising awareness among the public on this subject.

“We’re almost there, the problem is enforcement … from my experience as an activist we’ve always had a problem with the resources you need to enforce the law that is already there; you need inspections and resources to go the court, to pursue what it right, if you want to enforce a law where for example animals who are not kept in an adequate place will be forcibly remove, you must have a place where to put these animals, otherwise you can’t enforce that piece of law “.

On the subject of zoos, the Commissioner said she agreed with the position taken by former Commissioner, Denis Montebello, and believed that animals should not be exploited for human use and pleasure.

She said, however, that since we are living in a society where this has already happened, the role of the Office of the Commissioner is to ensure that there is an improvement in the quality of life of these animals and the circumstances in which they live, with the least possible cruelty.

“Based on this report we are trying to make amendments to further strengthen this position. This law is currently at public consultation stage and I urge the public to participate and convey their opinions to ensure that zoos which already exist are at least regulated in the best possible way “.

As to whether animals transmit Covid-19 as alleged in some media reports, she said these were baseless allegations. “There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this allegation, of course there is also the fact that we are talking about an animal which is not like a chair or a table … we had someone who abandoned a dog in a yard and did not feed her because her owner was afraid to approach her because she was afraid of getting the virus. ”

She appealed to those who adopted animals during the Covid-19 period because they had or still have more time on their hands, not to abandon them when the pandemic is over.