THE WHIS­PERER

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Email abox­hall@ big­pond. com

Anne Box­hall

TO­MOR­ROW marks the 190th an­niver­sary of for­mal an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy. On June 16, 1824, Wil­liam Wil­ber­force and like- minded col­leagues formed the So­ci­ety for the Preven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals in Eng­land.

For more than two decades, Wil­ber­force led the strug­gle to abol­ish hu­man slav­ery but his vi­sion for a bet­ter world didn’t end there.

He was a found­ing fi gure of the an­i­mal pro­tec­tion move­ment, cham­pi­oning the cause from the early 1800s.

Wil­ber­force lived his creed and would con­front per­pe­tra­tors of an­i­mal cru­elty when­ever he saw it.

It took Wil­ber­force and his col­leagues 22 years of cam­paign­ing be­fore the English par­lia­ment passed its fi rst leg­is­la­tion to pro­tect an­i­mals – to pre­vent cruel and im­proper treat­ment of cat­tle.

Now, we have Aus­tralia’s Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture Barnaby Joyce keen to re­sume ex­port of live an­i­mals to Iran, de­spite ev­i­dence to sug­gest there is a dis­tinct lack of ad­e­quate en­force­ment to en­sure proper treat­ment and hu­mane slaugh­ter sur­round­ing this prac­tice.

If it were up to some, we would re­main largely clue­less about the cruel suf­fer­ing and in­hu­mane treat­ment these an­i­mals may face. It’s thanks to an­i­mal pro­tec­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions that an­i­mals have a voice at all.

Mean­while, the Euro­pean Union is set­ting up pro­tec­tive mech­a­nisms for live­stock and pets.

A large num­ber of pe­ti­tions from EU cit­i­zens call­ing for bet­ter pro­tec­tion of pets has re­sulted in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment re­solv­ing to cre­ate a le­gal frame­work for the pro­tec­tion of pets and stray an­i­mals.

The frame­work would ap­ply across all 28 EU coun­tries and in­clude rules for the iden­tifi cation and reg­is­tra­tion of an­i­mals, vac­ci­na­tion and ster­il­i­sa­tion pro­grams, pro­hi­bi­tion of un­li­censed ken­nels, mea­sures to pro­mote re­spon­si­ble pet own­er­ship, ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams in schools on an­i­mal wel­fare and se­vere sanc­tions on mem­ber states who fail to com­ply with the rules.

Al­though Wil­ber­force would surely turn in his grave if he knew how slowly the wheels have turned for an­i­mals, ac­tions like the EU res­o­lu­tion in­spire all an­i­mal ad­vo­cates to stay the course.

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