Brief History of MNAWF
The idea was ignited in early 1970's by a young veterinarian, Dr. Sivagurunathan's passion for better quality lifestyle for animals and their owners, fuelled by continuous educational efforts, and endorsed by the Department of Veterinary Services Malaysia. The Foundation became a formal entity 20 years later on 15th November 1997, with the mission ‘To promote a caring Malaysian society through creating awareness with a balanced approach to animal welfare for the well being of animal and mankind.’ This mission is supported by the tag line: LOVE ALL LIFE. Animal Welfare in the Early Days Awareness on animal welfare in veterinary care had been evolving after independence in the 50’s, but remained low. Then, people owned pets (dogs and cats) mainly for security and for pest control. But in the 70’s a young veterinarian, Dr. Sivagurunathan envisioned the need for veterinarians to play a greater role to promote and raise awareness on animal welfare throughout the country. His belief: “In an urban setting with the increasing trend in pet ownership, we need to address two big issues i.e. responsible pet ownership, and, greater public awareness on domesticated companions.” He lived by his passion in providing high standards of veterinary health care at his practice and with every pet owner he met.
Recognizing the Value of Human-Animal Bond in the 1980's
A decade on, the awareness of the veterinary profession and services was raised even further by Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Ahmad Mustaffa Babjee, a former Director General of the Department of Veterinary Services who said: ‘The important issue in man’s exploitation of animals is that they should not neglect the animals’ welfare. Man may use animals for various purposes as long as he treats them well and cares for their well being. Pets kept at home should receive proper grooming, diet and immediate veterinary attention when they fall ill.' His statement propelled the responsibility of veterinary professionals to establish closer interaction between man and animal not only for the well being of animals, but also to enhance man’s quality of life. He went on to successfully organise numerous animal welfare campaigns. In 1996, twenty years after first putting his ideals into practice, Dr. Sivagurunathan who had risen to become the President of the Veterinary Association of Malaysia (VAM), continued with the former Director General’s initiatives to coordinate and support of animal welfare community projects to promote animal welfare across the nation.
Birth Place of the MNAWF
As various animals were being adopted or domesticated to live with people and communities as part of companionship, services, therapy and rehabilitation, there were concerns on how to care for these animals to ensure the animals welfare was looked into. For example, proper education was needed to promote responsible dog ownership when there was bad publicity of dog attacks in public. There was a need to create awareness in training pets and people in supporting the disabled in providing therapy and companionship. To met the need for education, on 15th November 1997, a protem committee was formed to register the Foundation as 'Yayasan Kebajikan Haiwan Kebangsaan Malaysia' (Malaysian National Animal Welfare Foundation). This was followed on 5th December 1997 by Government recognition via an official announcement by the Malaysian National Animal Welfare Council as well as the Malaysian National Animal Welfare Foundation. And so began our journey and mission to touch the lives of people and their animal friends, to live in harmony and enjoy the symbiotic need for love and companionship. Come join us and be part of the mission to Love All Life.
"The important issue in man's exploitation of animals is that they should not neglect the animal's welfare. Man may use animals for various purposes as long as he treats them well and cares for their well-being.... Pets kept at home should receive proper grooming, diet, and immediate veterinary attention when they fall ill. The future will see greater concern for the welfare of animals besides the recognition of the role animals can play in the social well-being of man." (Abstract from the "History, Development and Prospects of the Animal Industry and Veterinary Services in Malaysia"edited by Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Ahmad Mustaffa Babjee, former Director-General of the Department of Veterinary Services.) The final statement as addressed in the above abstract by Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Ahmad Mustaffa Babjee has now evolved into what the Foundation hopes to enhance and promote.
Realising the urgent need for public participation, he organised an animal week in 1985 and again in 1988. He felt that it was the responsibility of the profession to establish close interaction between man and animal not only for the well being of animals but to enhance man's quality of life.Timingly in 1996, the Veterinary Association of Malaysia (VAM) took up the responsibility to raise funds in support of animal welfare and undertake community projects under its President, Dr. Sivagurunathan. A "Community & Cats" pilot pet adoption programme for Cheshire Home was jointly organised by the Association with the Department of Veterinary Services, Majlis Kebajikan Masyarakat, Feline Society of Malaysia and Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. USA.
Having proven effective, a similar one was conducted for Rumah Amal Cahaya Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (RACTAR). The same year, VAM under its next president, Dato' Dr. Anwar Hassan, began fund raising activities, the first one being launch of the calendar "Choosing a Puppy To Suit Your Lifestyle" officiated by the Director General of the Department of Veterinary Services, Dato' Dr. Hadi bin Hashim, on 16 December 1996. More cat adoption programmes followed; one with the KL Society for the Deaf and another with Rumah Ozanam. Two public seminars aimed at educating the community on responsible pet ownership were also held and these are now being conducted on an ongoing basis in several States in the country.
The protem committee registered the Foundation as 'Yayasan Kebajikan Haiwan Kebangsaan Malaysia (Malaysian National Animal Welfare Foundation)' on 27 April 1998 with its address at Wisma Medivet, No. 8, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur and drew up its mission statement, tag line, and aims and objectives. On 5 December 1997, the Minister of Agriculture, Y.B. Datuk Amar Dr. Sulaiman Bin Haji Daud, announced the formation of the Malaysian National Animal Welfare Council and Malaysian National Animal Welfare Foundation at the 25th Anniversary of Animal Medical Centre Sdn Bhd. At this event the book "Pets Have Feelings Too" authored by Dr. Sivagurunathan, was launched with proceeds from sales of the book donated by him to the Animal Welfare Fund of the Veterinary Association of Malaysia.
The first Annual General Meeting of MNAWF was held on 24th October 1998 at the Royal Selangor Club where a permanent executive committee was elected with Dato' Dr. Mohd Nordin b. Mohd. Nor, who is also Director General of the Department of Veterinary Services, as Chairman.
We are most gratified by the overwhelming response from members of the public on the establishment of the Malaysian National Animal Welfare Foundation (MNAWF).
It goes to show that many Malaysians from every walk of life are very sensitive to the welfare and the well being of our animal friends. Animals do play a role in our lives in many ways, either directly or indirectly.
Many of us have pet animals, and to some they are close to our hearts as members of our families. Some people have working animals, like guard dogs, riding horses, drought animals and carrier mules. Most of us are also dependent on animals for the food we consume or the apparel we wear every day.
All animals kept under our care and supervision are fully dependent on us for their food, shelter and well being. Ownership carries with it the great responsibility of ensuring that the animals are comfortable and free from undue stress and cruelty. Irrespective of the actual purpose the animals are kept for, we do not have the right or privilege to mishandle or mistreat them.
There is legal protection for all animals in our country. Authorities concerned on the well being of the animals will take the necessary action and legal process on those who do not comply with this protection.Although this legal protection may stop offenders from repeating such abuses, a change in the attitudes of the public is deemed necessary.
The MNAWF in its march to develop a truly animal loving society, cannot ignore its responsibilities to other living creatures in captivity or roaming free that share our environment.
We need to ensure that the development of our culture goes beyond the compassion we feel for our fellow citizens, to all other animals and plants on planet earth. This feeling of compassion needs to be instilled in all young people.
Every school going child and citizen must be aware of the need for caring and protecting the animals they keep. Many of us as pet owners, know very well that the love we give to the animals is an investment, with returns coming back to us in manifold from them.
Any society cannot be considered developed if it condones abuse and cruelty to the animals. The plight and the sight of abandoned and stray animals in our streets are not features amenable to the developed society that we envisage.
We all have a role to play in building our nation.Let us contribute by becoming a member and participate through this Foundation. It is the hope of the Malaysian National Animal Welfare Foundation to make Malaysians a truly loving and caring society.
- Love All Life -
Dato' Dr. Mohd Nordin Mohd Nor (Chairman)
Dr. Sivagurunathan (Founder & Deputy Chairman)
The logo of the Foundation is a very stylised depiction of a human being whose arms are raised so as to hold or embrace, symbolically, the animal world, which is represented by two creatures, one which could be a bird or fish and the other a land animal.
This logo concept is at the same time very "corporate", and also very dynamic and representative of love, caring, compassion and responsibility.
The colour of the logo is in Pantone blue. Blue conveys coolness and calmness. It is an ecological colour (sky & water). Finally blue is the colour of hope.
Below the logo are the words "Love All Life" in a grey rectangle. Underlining that is the name of the Foundation in Bahasa Malaysia and English in black letters.