Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina hopes but is not convinced petting cubs in zoos will be banned, once an impact assessment is released by the Animal Rights Department .
In 2020, the government proposed a ban on petting big cats in zoos in a white paper, but backed out of it 24 hours later following outrage from zookeeper and known Labor adherent Anton Cutajar. Zoo regulations have so far remained the same despite the White Paper proposals.
Bezzina confirmed her support for the ban, but says there are strong forces at play against her.
“The change in the bill that has happened overnight indicates that powerful forces are at play in this regard. What is certain is that if it does not pass this time, I will not stop not fight me until he does (or die trying)” Bezzina remarked
Last November in parliament, animal rights minister Anton Refalo confirmed that an impact assessment on changes to zoo regulations in Malta was underway and was due in a few weeks.
Bezzina confirmed in her 2021 year-end report she was contacted by the impact assessment firm in December, but noted that she was unaware of progress.
Questions addressed to the Ministry of Animal Rights have so far remained unanswered.