Animal welfare around the world


By AGENCY

Anti-speciesism movements are gaining ground in various countries. — AFP

On Aug 26, marked the World Day for the End of Speciesism. This is the idea that human beings are superior to animals, to the detriment of their well-being. However, this paradigm has been challenged in recent years throughout the world, as evidenced by several laws aimed at granting more rights to animals.

“Let’s put an end to speciesism.” That’s the message behind this international day and movement which aims to abolish the hierarchy between species and to advocate anti-speciesism. In other words, to combat the alleged superiority of humans over animals. A hierarchy that shows up in daily practices, from the meat we eat to the clothes we wear, as well as through tourist activities or shows designed to entertain us.

Anti-speciesism was theorised in the 1970s by American philosopher Peter Singer. At the time, he began to question the relationship of domination that humans have with animals, denounced by a minority for centuries, but never taken seriously by enough people in the West until now. In 1975, Singer published the book Animal Liberation which became a worldwide best-seller. The book is considered as the foundation of the principles of anti-speciesism.

For Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), anti-speciesism is about recognising “that all sentient beings deserve to be treated with respect and compassion” and “when we start to view other species as fellow living beings and individuals, we won’t want to exploit them for their skin, fur, down, or wool”.

In Europe, particularly France, shocking videos from animal rights association L214 denouncing the extreme suffering inflicted on animals in factory farms have contributed greatly to raising public awareness of the animal cause.

According to a survey of 26,000 consumers in several European countries conducted in 2020 by the supermarket chain Veganz (based in Berlin), the number of vegans has doubled in the space of two years, from 1.3 million to 2.6 million, while 30% of those surveyed said they were reducing their meat consumption. Worldwide, the proportion of vegetarians is estimated to be between 5% and 8%.

Glue traps and circus animals

This awakening of consciousness regarding conditions of animals is also reflected in bills aimed at granting them more rights throughout the world, with specific areas of action depending on the country. One of the most emblematic measures is undoubtedly the ban on wild animals in travelling circuses.

In 2021, the presence of tigers, lions, giraffes or elephants was banned in travelling circuses in more than 20 European countries.Late to the game compared to its neighbours (Belgium introduced this measure in 2013), France will also gradually implement this ban, as part of a law voted in in 2021 to fight against animal abuse; the law contains several measures, including the prohibition of breeding or introducing new captive orcas and dolphins in marine attractions, the end of sales of dogs and cats in pet shops and the cessation of mink farming.

Britain has also recently embarked on a comprehensive plan to address animal abuse. In May this year, Environment Minister George Eustice announced legislation to recognise animals as sentient beings. The law includes other measures aimed at strengthening animal protection such as stopping the production and import of foie gras, restricting hunting that uses glue, and banning the purchase of “hunting trophies” made of wild animals (ivory, snake skins, rhinoceros horns, etc).

Animals and mass tourism

Exploitation of animals in practices that promote mass tourism is also a problem. This is the reason why some countries are taking measures to reduce animal abuse, like South Africa, which announced last May its intention to ban the breeding of lions in captivity.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is working on a vast plan dedicated to the protection of its elephants. One of the measures is to limit the number of people on the backs of the mammals during rides (no more than four per elephant), as well as to ban the exploitation of these animals in films (except for government productions subject to strict veterinary control).

This South-East Asian country also plans to issue a biometric identity card for captive elephants, as well as prohibit riding an elephant if you have drunk alcohol! – AFP Relaxnews

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