Susan Magallanes Espinosa from MBY Pet Rescue and Sanctuary delivers a talk on Animal Welfare Awareness at MINT College on February 27.

Susan Magallanes Espinosa from MBY Pet Rescue and Sanctuary delivers a talk on Animal Welfare Awareness at MINT College on February 27.

On February 27 at the MINT Café, MBY Pet Rescue and Sanctuary’s operations manager, Susan Magallanes Espinosa delivered a talk that addressed animal cruelty and welfare.

“In my home, I have around 50 dogs and 40 cats,” said Espinosa in a speech delivered in a mix of English and Filipino. She shared her profound love for animals, and her experience as an animal rescuer, “I think I became a rescuer when I was a still a teenager. I persuaded my father to rescue the dogs of a neighbor who used the dogs purely for security—to look after the chickens. Rain or shine, they were tied to a corner. I could not stand seeing them like that.” She explains that it was this early memory of helping dogs that inspired her to be an animal advocate for most of her life, “I have dedicated my life to this cause so much that I opened my home as a foster home for abused animals.”

Aside from her experiences, Espinosa shared common cases that can be classified as animal cruelty, “Keeping them in cages that do not allow them to freely move around is cruel; using animals as guards for homes is not the right way to treat them; buying or adopting animals that you are not capable of caring for is also cruelty.”

Cecille Kiamzon, one of the MINT instructors who organized the event, agrees with Espinosa and says that “It’s abuse through ignorance and indifference.” Despite these problems that are prevalent in the Philippines, Espinosa remains hopeful, “Change can be made if we truly make an effort to make people aware that animals should be treated humanely, that adopting is better than shopping, and many more.”

“You’re all very talented young students. You can use your skills to help a cause like ours progress. By simply designing a shirt for fundraisers or a poster for awareness campaigns, you are already helping these helpless creatures,” said Espinosa. Moreover, she encouraged the students to help animal shelters and organizations by donating food, adopting, or by simply visiting animal sanctuaries to spend time with the animals. “At MBY, we have too many dogs and cats to take care of. We welcome visitors who would gladly lend a helping hand to bathe the animals, or simply play with them,” shares Espinosa.

“In the general scheme of things, what we can do may just be a drop in the bucket,” said Kiamzon. She also announced that she will be initiating the formation of an animal advocate organization at MINT College along with Juno Parungao, another MINT instructor, and Teks Pabuayon, the college’s creative director. “It may be very challenging, but we will work hard on making a difference to these animals’ lives,” says Kiamzon.