Animal Rights – The “unspoken” side of law.


By: Scott Hall     
      Somewhere in the world an animal is being abused in some way, right now.  How do I know this? I have seen it on the advertisements on television, in the postings on social media outlets such as Face Book and have heard it in the radio advertisements over local broadcasting stations.  Why animals receive abuse is subject to debate, but the fact remains it happens.  Is it because we go too far in our discipline of stopping bad acceptable behavior or maybe something inside our mind makes us rationalize we are top of the food chain and it’s “Just an stupid animal”.  Animals of all types do talk to each other, and interpret sounds; noises and environments just not in our traditional languages and the Criminology and Justice systems around the globe have helped to create laws that protect the interests of these creatures.  
     The Animal Legal Defense Fund (www.aldf.org) has an article within the web site that shows an example of animal cruelty within the confines of a shelter and that one citizen spoke out for those who could not speak.  These shelters are designed to protect animals by applying a certain level of care to them and stay within guidelines set by operating such a facility.  Laws governing animals can be applied to institutions as well as citizens in this example and shows abuse knows no boundaries.  This does not mean we should stop supporting these types of facilities, it does mean that without checks and balances, criminal deviance can occur.  This perspective on animal rights is not just central to the United States or Canada’s side of the world.
     The Animal Protection Act (Swedish Code of Statutes, SFS 1988:534) came into view in 1988 and specifically applies what is and should be socially acceptable behaviors when it comes to animals.  Section 2 states, “Animals shall be treated well and protected from unnecessary suffering and disease.”  Most responsible pet owners take their pets to the vet to get their shots updated, receive checkups and deal with any issues the pet may have so this section is very logical in its application as are several other sections within this text.  Section 4 states “(1) Animal that are bred and kept for the production of food, wool, skins or furs shall be kept and handled in a good environment for animals and in such a way as to promote their health and natural behavior.  (2) The Government or, upon authorization by the Government, the National Board of Agriculture may issue further directions concerning the treatment of such animal.”  No abnormal treatment, no abnormal environments and a structured interest by the government for the citizens of that nation.
     International animal protection interests are not new in fact they go back to the 17th century.  Thomas Wentworth(1593-1641) in 1635 passed an act that prohibited cruel acts of wool removal and plowing by the “tayle” (www.animalrightshistory.org) apparently upon learning that some of the persons assigned to sheer the wool were literally pulling the wool off of the sheep, Wentworth passed this parliamentary Act in Ireland. This Era could be considered a Renaissance of sorts, as several other items in the protection of animals came into light such as, bear baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting and cruelty to horses and a variety of others that Ireland’s parliament saw as unjust.  The principles behind protection of animals, is, in no way inheritently new in today’s world in this example as we all have our own views on some of those same items.  We have all heard stories of dog and cock fighting, and have opinions on what is acceptable with training of show horses.  Bears, deer, and all sorts of animals in our woods have certain protections as well from poachers and harmful cruel killings.
     Once we study a bit more in-depth into why so many citizens work hard to protect the rights of those whom cannot speak, we can easily see why we should speak up for them.  PETA (www.peta.org) may not be too far off in their approach to equal treatment of animals, the problem is most of us associate red paint on fur coats with that organization.  This may be a radical approach, but it did get people researching and debating and talking about what their objectives are, the animals. As citizens of this world, we must apply common sense, fair judgment, and careful thought to not forget even though animals may not speak our native tongues, they do need our voices to speak for them. 

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