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There Is SOME Good News

August 1, 2010
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Anticruelty laws date back to a 1635 Irish statute prohibiting pulling horses by their tails and pulling wool off of sheep (rather than shearing it). But, until the 1970’s, with few exceptions, you could legally do whatever you wanted to an animal. After all, “they are just animals and they don’t feel pain”. Peter Singer, a Princeton professor of bioethics, whose 1975 book Animal Liberation is often credited with giving birth to the modern movement.

California has enacted strick rules as to how chickens are caged and treated. Thirteen states now have laws that limit the chaining or tethering of dogs outside, such as to a metal pole or a tree. Several more states are considering such laws, which impose restrictions like requiring that chains be of a minimum length.

California has also proposed the creation of an Animal Abuser Registry, but it may not be enacted due to lack of funds available.

The Farm Bureau of Ohio agreed to work toward a list of tough new animal-rights laws – including phasing out a particularly harsh kind of crate for pregnant sows and banning the strangulation of pigs and cows.

Animal-law courses are now taught at many of the nation’s leading law schools. Bob Barker has given $1 million gifts to the University of Virginia Law School, Columbia Law School and Duke Law School, among others, to endow animal-law programs.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of animal welfare groups and concerned citizens throughout the country, animal cruelty now carries a felony sentence in 46 states plus the District of Columbia. Idaho, the Dakotas and Mississippi still haven’t come around.

Zurich Switzerland has passed its own law giving animals legal representation. Spain’s parliament passed a resolution urging that chimpanzees, gorillas and other primates have the right not to be used in medical experiments or circuses.

the United States House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly 416 – 3 to approve H.R. 5566, legislation that would ban the sale and distribution of videos depicting animal cruelty. This is in response to the US Supreme Court’s recent decision in a “crush video” case, and seeks to narrow the definition of these videos so their distribution will be prohibited.

Requiring that animals, including animals that produce or become food, be treated decently while they are alive ennobles not only the animals… but us as well.

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