New Zea­land shows the way on an­i­mal rights

Sunday Tasmanian - - Book Right Now - abox­hall@in­tern­ode.on.net

NICE work New Zea­land, for set­ting an ex­am­ple to the world with a land­mark an­i­mal wel­fare rul­ing.

The An­i­mal Wel­fare Amend­ment Bill, passed in New Zea­land last month, makes it eas­ier to pros­e­cute peo­ple in an­i­mal cru­elty cases and places bans on an­i­mal test­ing and re­search in that coun­try.

It is the first time this pro­tec­tion has been ex­tended to all an­i­mals, go­ing be­yond pro­tec­tion for chim­panzees, orang-utans and dol­phins.

The Bill means an­i­mal wel­fare laws can be bet­ter en­forced and the sen­tience of an­i­mals be recog­nised — that an­i­mals feel pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive emo­tions in­clud­ing pain and dis­tress. It is an­other step for­ward in hu­mankind’s an­i­mal wel­fare jour­ney to­wards more in­formed at­ti­tudes on the sta­tus of non-hu­man an­i­mals.

Prac­tices that were once com­mon­place for pets and farm stock are no longer ac­cept­able or tol­er­ated.

Recog­nis­ing sen­tience, the ca­pac­ity for feel­ing or per­ceiv­ing, is im­por­tant. Pet own­ers and sci­en­tists have known it for years — an­i­mals have feel­ings.

An­i­mals, like hu­mans, are sen­tient be­ings.

When an­i­mals suf­fer, you can see it in their eyes. For hu­mans to treat an­i­mals as ob­jects or things, as op­posed to liv­ing be­ings, is clearly wrong on every level. By defin­ing the phrase, “phys­i­cal, health and be­havioural needs”, the New Zea­land Bill is of­fer­ing greater pro­tec­tion to many thou­sands of an­i­mals.

In line with in­ter­na­tional prac­tices, the def­i­ni­tion in­cludes free­dom of move­ment for an­i­mals, so as not to re­strict in a way that causes suf­fer­ing or in­jury and pro­vide suf­fi­cient space to dis­play nor­mal pat­terns of be­hav­iour like be­ing able to turn around eas­ily and walk.

The need to de­fine this most ba­sic of things sug­gests we have a way to go when it comes to the treat­ment of an­i­mals — lead on New Zea­land.

For hu­mans to treat an­i­mals as ob­jects or things, as op­posed to liv­ing be­ings, is clearly wrong on every level.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.