THE WHIS­PERER

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall Email mike@ hy­per­ac­tiveg­ames. com

WE know the na­ture of the bond be­tween peo­ple and com­pan­ion an­i­mals has changed. Ev­i­dence sug­gests chil­dren are now more likely to grow up with a pet than both par­ents.

Higher per­cent­ages of pet own­ers con­sider their pets to be fam­ily.

Spend­ing on pet ac­ces­sories in Aus­tralia last year came in at about the $ 800 mil­lion mark, which doesn’t in­clude pet food, ve­teri­nary care, groom­ing, board­ing or train­ing costs.

In dis­as­ter sit­u­a­tions, more and more peo­ple are likely to refuse res­cue as­sis­tance if it means leav­ing their pets be­hind.

As peo­ple grow to value the role an­i­mals play in their lives and spend more money on them, the ques­tion re­mains: Does the law ad­e­quately refl ect the strength of the hu­man­com­pan­ion an­i­mal bond?

A grow­ing num­ber of lawyers are choos­ing to fo­cus on an­i­mal law – those le­gal is­sues which im­pact on an­i­mals – which dif­fers from an­i­mal wel­fare or an­i­mal rights.

An­i­mal wel­fare fo­cuses on the hu­mane treat­ment of an­i­mals and there is gen­er­ally wide­spread sup­port for an­i­mal wel­fare mea­sures.

An­i­mal rights fo­cuses on op­pos­ing the use of an­i­mals by hu­mans, in­clud­ing eat­ing them and ex­per­i­ment­ing on them.

The An­i­mal Law Tool­kit is an ex­cel­lent re­source for those want­ing to dig deeper, avail­able at www. voice­less. org. au

When it comes to com­pan­ion an­i­mals, re­searcher Dr Fiona Borth­wick from the Univer­sity of Wol­lon­gong sug­gests that 40 years ago, leg­is­la­tion fo­cused on reg­is­tra­tion and im­pound­ing pro­ce­dures.

Life was sim­pler then, the main is­sue be­ing stray dogs. Now, the fo­cus has shifted to the so­cial and le­gal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of pet own­ers to the com­mu­nity and the en­vi­ron­ment.

The grow­ing call to reg­u­late the breed­ers of com­pan­ion an­i­mals refl ects the con­cern an­i­mal lawyers and other ad­vo­cates have in en­sur­ing an­i­mal wel­fare re­mains part of the equa­tion.

Na­tional leg­is­la­tion for com­pul­sory and en­force­able breeder stan­dards can’t come soon enough to stop those keep­ing con­stantly preg­nant fe­male an­i­mals in cramped con­di­tions for un­reg­u­lated breed­ing op­er­a­tions.

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