Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina has responded to criticism she faced after suggesting that people eat less meat during an interview on live television last week.
Appearing on an episode of Popolin, Commissioner Bezzina argued in favour of improving the welfare of animals on farms and suggested that, while activists and lawmakers do their part, the public can also help by reducing animal-product consumption.
“It’s a long way until we fix the situation because there are a lot of currents against us, but every individual can choose to eat less meat and drink less milk to reduce the pain,” she said.
“If we reduce our intake of meat, together we can make a difference and make a difference today.”
In addition, Bezzina advocated for more plant-based diets, but didn’t go as far as to suggest that everyone should be vegan. Nonetheless, her comments received backlash.
“Some people were surprised, shocked, and even appalled that The Commissioner for Animal Welfare would suggest eating less animals! A gentleman even wrote in during the live programme, to tell me ‘imissek tistħi’ (you should be ashamed),” she said in a Facebook post following the interview.
In response, Bezzina doubled down on her argument.
“Is this how little we expect from our ambassadors?” she said. “If that’s the case, I’m (not) sorry to disappoint. There are so many compelling and pressing reasons why we should cut down on our meat consumption, that no tradition or economic reason comes close.”
“For me, saving animals from a lifetime of suffering and slaughter is the primary driver, but the sorry state of our planet and our ill-health are more than good reasons for anyone to go more plant-based,” she continued.
Just two weeks ago, Bezzina, along with the Justice Ministry and Animal Rights Ministry, proposed a legal amendment that would allow magistrates to ban people found guilty of animal abuse from owning pets in the future.
The new amendment will empower magistrates to ban those found guilty of animal abuse, meaning they and their family will be barred from owning pets.
However, Commissioner Bezzina also pushed for further measures, reiterating her stance that the Director of Animal Welfare should be empowered to ban owners of confiscated pets from owning pets until the respective court case is concluded.
“It’s the only way we can safeguard animals from the moment there is a big suspicion that abuse is being carried out,” she said.
What do you make of this? Let us know below