One of Malta’s leading animal sanctuaries has struck out at the new pet allowance scheme, which will see people paid €150 for adopting pets from sanctuaries, describing it as “populist and money-wasting”.
The MSPCA published a lengthy Facebook post earlier today in which they raised nine issues they found with the new scheme.
“We have remained silent regarding the pet adoption allowance scheme announced by Hon. [Clint] Camilleri last Tuesday in the hope that there would be a widespread public outcry against it and the public delivered. Thank you.”
“Now, let’s delve into why we also oppose this populist, money-wasting scheme.”
The MSPCA vehemently attacked the scheme for its approach and put forward several alternatives to the scheme, including a “well funded and sustained stray neutering program [which] would help tackle the root of the problem”.
They even referred to a government scheme that promised shelters would receive €40 assistance for every animal housed, which according to the MSCPA turned out to be a farce that does not reflect the actual number of animals that are admitted and re-homed.
The NGO also warned that the scheme will be abused, questioning how Animal Welfare officers will find the time to carry out periodical inspections on adopted pets when they “struggle to check up on cruelty reports before a month has passed”.
On a more ethical note, it warned the scheme risks distorting the very point of charity and good deeds.
“It is dangerous to teach people that good gestures should be paid. A person should adopt an animal because they want to open up their home to love an innocent creature, not for financial reasons,” it said.
The situation is also very personal for MSPCA who claim to have been promised land for better facilities in 2004 by the government but ‘this promise has been broken time and time again.’
Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri also took to Facebook to defend his position on the scheme.
“Apart from the fact that this was a promise in our electoral manifesto, which has won a mandate from the public, I believe it is a positive initiative for families to adopt, instead of buy, pets. However, I am taking note of all suggestions for potential fine-tuning to ensure that this allowance is utilised for animal welfare and that it fulfils its intentions.”
“I must also emphasise that NGO animal sanctuaries, which do impressive work in this sector, already benefit and will keep on benefitting from government grants for rehoming animals.”
According to Camilleri, each sanctuary receives €70 to rehome a cat, €50 for every puppy, €70 for every small dog, €110 for a medium-sized dog and €130 for every old dog, which in total amounts to around €60,000 in funds per year.
Camilleri also goes on to state that each sanctuary and Animal Welfare benefit from a vet allowance (€80,000), Animal Aftercare Clinic (€200,000), Animal Welfare Initiatives (€258,000) and Local Council Animal Fun (€50,000).
If the social media reaction is anything to go by, it would appear as though the public heavily favours the opinions of MSPCA, with the ‘Adopt A Pet Allowance’ scheme having received an incredible amount of backlash since its announcement yesterday.