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Animal Welfare and Cultural Issues

Malaysia - Animal Welfare and Cultural Issues

Malaysia has strict policies on animal welfare with a governing body and a department for the welfare of animals.

Cultural Attitude to Animals

Malaysia has a welcoming and protective nature towards animals. Dogs and cats are the most common domestic animals, and in particular, Malaysians are fond of cats. Cats, providing they are in a travelling box are welcome on public transport and in taxis throughout major cities. Vets are routinely checked and prevention of diseases is widely practiced in Malaysia under the Animal Act of 1953. Responsible pet ownership is encouraged and there are a number of restrictions in place on dogs which are considered dangerous in other countries.

Micro-chipping of animals is not law (there are certain conditions attached to restricted breeds of dogs); however, it is encouraged and is for your pet’s safety. There is a stray cat problem in Malaysia and to tackle this nuisance and prevent the spread of any disease, it is recommended that cats and dogs have regular veterinary checks and are treated accordingly. Vaccinations are in place and health records of your pet are required to be kept.

There are restrictions in place in apartment blocks and complexes on dogs and many do not allow dogs if you’re renting from a landlord. This is a standard policy in most modern apartment blocks. It is wise to check with your landlord or letting agent before arranging the import of your animal.

Cats and dogs are not encouraged into public restaurants or bars and this is down to health and safety standards in the provision of food to the public as opposed to being anti-animal.

Images of pigs on mainstream television were banned from public viewing for a short while. The movie “Babe” was banned from sale in Malaysia. These images and the movie are now allowed. This was in the early 2000s and due to the country’s high Muslim population.

Dogs must be confined to a residential property and in public places dogs must be on a lead at all times. Dogs are not allowed on public transport and taxi companies reserve to the right to not accept dogs into their vehicles. Some companies will allow a small dog in a travelling secure cage and it is important you check with a company prior to booking their service. Some states do restrict the number of dogs one household can have at any given time and a local veterinary surgeon will be able to advise on those restrictions.

Animal Welfare

Stray cats and dogs are cared for as much as they possibly can be by various organisations. There are guidelines in place for the public such as not feeding stray animals. Those who take in a stray are encouraged as soon as possible to have the animal checked out by a vet and have the necessary vaccinations in order for the animal to be domesticated. It is not encouraged, however, to take in restricted breeds of dogs.

The Society for Protection of Animals has a number of homes for animals and offers a rehousing service, veterinary services and a wide range of other services in their work in protecting animals. The society works closely with the DVS on the suffering of animals and the protection of animals. They have authority to act in the event of suspicion of the ill treatment of animals. They provide information and classes to schools and other educational institutions within Malaysian on how to care for and protect animals. They also offer a neutering and spaying service. All stray animals who are adopted by the society are spayed or neutered on entry. They hold active fund-raising campaigns and membership can be arranged online.


Animal lovers can get actively involved with the society and you can, living arrangements permitted, adopt or foster an animal from the society. Checks on your home will be made before being allowed to adopt or foster an animal and regular checks are made at first to ensure the animal is being cared for properly. You can make a donation online to the society and can receive a newsletter via email.

Cruelty to animals in Malaysia is taken seriously and can often result in a prison sentence if proven and a lifetime ban on keeping animals can be imposed.

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