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.