Myanmar is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia bordering China, India, Bangladesh, Laos, and Thailand, and having access to the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Myanmar has a rich biodiversity with 314 mammals, 1131 birds, 293 reptiles, and 139 amphibians. There are also some of the largest intact ecosystems among the countries of Southeast Asia, however, the current conditions of the ecosystem are threatened due to land-use intensification and overexploitation.
Because of climate change, Myanmar is mostly affected by this factor and is predicted to have serious changes in the development of economic and environmental sectors. Due to this factor, Myanmar expressed interest in combating climate change by expanding the use of renewable energy and lowering the level of carbon emissions. This is an important factor that can affect the habitat of lots of animals, thus, their population as well.
In Myanmar, animals are not legally recognized as sentient beings, however, the Animal Health and Development Law of 1993 mentions that animals can suffer.
First, there was the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act that was enacted in 1930 but later repealed by the government. The Animal Health and Development Law that was adopted three years later, provides the basic regulations with regard to protecting animals against suffering, including deliberate and negligent acts or failure to act. Article 25 penalizes any act that causes animals to work in a cruel way, maltreating way, “unnecessarily maiming, wilfully keeping without food and water, neglecting to give proper treatment and care when sick or wounded, or letting to stray in a public place when diseased or wounded.” This Law applies to all domestic animals bred by humans or kept in captivity for certain purposes.
The Law contains the provisions with regard to farm animal health, such as disease prevention and feed quality in terms of ensuring the quality of agricultural products for the market. The anti-cruelty article (Article 25) is applied to farmed animals, however, does not provide any details regarding slaughtering, rearing, transportation, and the limitations on the number of animals to be kept.
Also, the Department for Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Services issued the National Plan 2017-2018 that mentions “training on basic livestock animal husbandry and animal health.” According to the last data, the Department was at the stage of “drafting good husbandry practices for poultry, pigs, and dairy cattle” (prescribed in Activity E2) and Animal Husbandry and Animal Health Law (prescribed in Activity A4).
Each year, Myanmar slaughters approximately 20 land animals per person, which is higher than the global average (9.7). Myanmar is the third country on the list with regard to slaughter after Iran and Malaysia. The highest production is laid on poultry (87.7%), including ducks, geese, guinea fowl, and other birds.
Animals kept in captivity
As was mentioned above, the Animal Health and Development Law applies to all domestic animals that are bred by humans or kept for certain purposes, but this definition is too vague because it is not clear whether this applies to those wild animals who have been captured and kept as pets or for other purposes. Assuming that the Law would apply to these animals, the anti-cruelty provisions and their related offenses can cover wild animals in captivity.