This post is adapted from an assignment I wrote in my first semester. It is a commentary piece which accompanies my Puppy Factory Crack Down feature piece.
This article discusses Animal Welfare legislation in Victoria and the ways in which I feel it still needs to be improved.
New Legislation Still Needed
The recent announcement by the Andrews Labor Government that they will be fast tracking new legislation to crack down on animal abuse – specifically puppy factories – has been much celebrated. Although these laws are a step in the right direction there are still significant changes which need to be made. Even though more protection is now available for our furry friends, animal abuse is still rampant in our society.
Take, for example, the grey hound racing industry. Dogs in this industry are pushed to their limits every day for the entirety of their lives then once they can’t race anymore they are simply disposed of. This usually entails the shooting of the dog much like when a puppy factory dog can no longer have profitable litters.
A racing grey hound will never know the love that a pet dog will know, they will never be treated as part of the family or allowed to cuddle up in bed with mum and dad or the kids, they are purely a commodity, a money making machine and they have a very clear use-by date.
Live baiting is also an issue with trainers still conducting the horrible practice even though it is illegal in Australia. This practice extends the cruelty of the industry to also include small animals, such as rabbits, piglets and possums as they are being used as training bait.
Then there is dog fighting, which, although illegal, is still popular with certain members of society. The “sport” (a term which is used loosely) has somehow managed to fly so far under the radar that criminals who partake in it feel comfortable enough to steal family pets to be used either as fighters or bait dogs.
The Humane Society of the United States describes the practice as a “sadistic contest” stating “dogs used in these events often die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or infection hours or even days after the fight”. This is clearly a violation of animal protection laws although the individuals who organise and take part in dog fighting syndicates are not bothered by the danger the dogs are put in. Offenders are also often caught betting on matches and having the dogs fight to the death.
And the horrible treatment of animals does not end with the sports industry with many companies still conducting their testing on animals despite the proof that these practices are inhumane. Animals Australia quotes Professor Charles R. Magel as stating “Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals and the answer is: ‘Because animals are like us.’ Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are not like us.’ Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.” The contradiction, however, seems to be perfectly ok in the eyes of large corporations with everything from cosmetics to hair dye to toothpaste being tested on animals.
It has also been proven that many psychopaths and sociopaths tortured and killed animals before progressing to people. Although this does not definitively mean that every individual who takes part in animal cruelty will then go on to be a murderer it is disturbing enough that even those who are not particularly worried about animal welfare should be bothered by the high rate of animal offences.
In America animal cruelty will soon be a Group A Felony making the charge as serious as homicide, arson and assault. This is the kind of legislation Australia needs to instate if we want to properly protect our furry friends.
Yes, the new legislation is great and we definitely need it, but there’s a lot more that needs to go with it before our animal friends will be safe.