Friday 30 July 2021

America needs an animal sentience law

I recently wrote about the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which is a proposed animal welfare law going through UK's Parliament at the moment. It will enshrine in law the principle that animals are sentient. What this means is that the fact that animals have feelings and feel pain will be recognised in law and it will ensure that people, their policies and activities must not clash with the basic principle that animals are sentient creatures.

American needs animal sentience legislation
American needs animal sentience legislation. Image: Pixabay.

It is like a bedrock, a common standard, a thread that should run through all laws and activities in a country. When any new law or existing law clashes with this basic principle of animal sentience then it should be reviewed by a committee set up under the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act, as it will become when it is enacted.

It is a beautiful piece of animal welfare legislation (provided it is well drafted) because it automatically protects animals at a fundamental level. Of course, many people will object to it. However, the people who object should not be listened to because they are the ones who are abusing animals or who are indifferent to animal abuse. It is already far too late to stop animal abuse and exploitation. Humankind can do much better.

It is time that humankind stopped exploiting animals for their own benefit. I don't feel that we have the right to do it. And the world is moving in that direction. The world is catching up with my thoughts on this. Of course, the world is developing at different speeds which is a great barrier to harmony on the planet but the UK and America can lead on animal welfare.

This piece of UK legislation authorises a body of people, a committee, to investigate activities and policies which rub up against this sentience legislation. But the committee will not be able to make any orders or legal demands. They can simply advise and suggest. That is a weakness but it is probably a compromise. There will be many objectors, as mentioned, particularly the conservative elite or the rich Republicans in America (their equivalent).

They are the people who like to go sport hunting or trophy hunting. They are the ones who take enjoyment in killing animals. Fishing is a problem too. People think fish are inanimate objects but they feel pain. This has been proved in a study. One day fishing will be banned I suspect but it will be a long way off. This sentience law would impact angling for pleasure in my opinion

It would also dramatically and fatally impact the declawing of cats in America, which is perhaps the major reason why I love this proposed act of Parliament. If America had something similar going through their federal legislation it would spell the end of declawing, there is no doubt about it. Declawing is unsustainable in a moral society which genuinely regards cats as sentient beings.

This legislation will change attitudes to animals. Laws can do that. They infiltrate the minds of the citizens of the country to the point where they gradually absorb the law as a societal norm and accept it. This is one of the great benefits of well written legislation. At that point, when the principles of the sort of law are fully integrated into society, enforcement will be far less important and the standards of animal welfare would have been raised substantially.

In the UK, the sort of people who are objecting to it are those who are engaged in countryside pursuits such as shooting birds and foxhunters, even though foxhunting is banned but it still takes place under the radar. The farmers might object but provided a law is well written farmers shouldn't because it should not impact them unless they are abusing livestock.

The only people who would complain are those who are unjustifiably harming animals. There is never a justification for abusing animals and thereby if a farmer did abuse them, they should feel the full force of the law against them. An aspect of farming which may be impacted is the provision of halal meat. This is arguably a cruel process because the throats of animals are slit without being stunned. UK veterinarians wanted this to be banned or they wanted some restrictions placed on it. An animal sentience act such as the one mentioned would impact the production of halal meat in my view.

This law has the power to infiltrate all aspects of humankind's relationship with animals. It would take time for people to adjust because there is plenty of animal abuse even in the UK. But adjust they will and the animals will at least have an umbrella law protection.

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