Animal Welfare and Protection – The Latest News

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It’s been a hair over 200 years since the United Kingdom’s “Martin’s Act” act for the protection of animals was passed. This was the first enacted legislation that proferred a semblance of protection for a small selection of livestock from the infliction of cruelty and “unnecessary suffering.” Has the harried world, post-pandemic and on the brink of global recession, kept up in advancing animal welfare and protection?
Quo Vadis, World?
There has never been a more critical time in history to put eyes on the global state of animal welfare and protection. Demand and consumption are ever-increasing with a total global meat production of 360 million tons (in carcass weight equivalent). Pet owners have expanded out the traditional dog-cat-bird-bunny. 50% of the USA pet industry is considered exotic, a $76.8 billion industry. As it is, rescuers are beleaguered, and shelters are full. Global infrastructure and manufacturing have encroached on natural habitats. These are but a few problems that comprise this issue.
Considering the magnitude of the scope that we all need to look out for in the bigger picture, let us look at the most recent developments worldwide towards animal welfare and protection. It is significant to note that there are 4 proponents key to this cause – legislation, social activism, “producers,” and the consumer. Here’s a quick look at the latest on what’s countries have been up to on different fronts in the world on advocating for cruelty-free treatment of animals.
Legislation Lags and Leaps
Livestock and Poultry
In the USA, the 2023 Farm Bill is being followed closely by many concerned groups and stakeholders. It is a once-in-five-years chance for reforms for sustainable farming and growing farm animals. Many sectors from academics to religious groups, farmers and advocacy groups are pushing to veer away from mass factory farming or industrial livestock to a more balanced agricultural system.
Taking the cudgels of animal welfare is the Brazilian government. Being the world’s biggest beef exporter and ranking second after the United States as the largest beef producer, Brazil has enacted a special committee effective January 2023, through its Ministry of Environment, to focus on the implementation of its biodiversity, forests, and animal law. Already the country is one of the few which has animal protection written into its constitution with a 3-tier accountability system for lawbreakers.
Since 2021, the European Union Parliament has pushed for the free-range raising of farm animals. Dubbed the “End of the Cage Age,” the law promulgated by the EU Commission aims to release farmed and caged animals throughout Europe by 2027. The ongoing efforts have yielded above 80% cage-free farming figures in countries like Germany, Sweden, Austria, and the Netherlands.
You can read more of this article in our July/August 2023 issue

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