Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Animal Welfare Act

The new Animal Welfare Act is coming into force in England as of Friday. Basically, owners of animals are now legally required to ensure their basic welfare. It's amazing to think that up until now there was no obligation in law to care for one's pets, but congratulations to the government for doing the right thing.

The government now needs to take steps to heavily reform or ban battery farming (and to work with the EU to ensure there is a consistent policy on this so cheap battery-farmed eggs from other EU countries can't flood our markets), and make sure regulations on circuses and zoos are putting the welfare of the animal before the entertainment of the crowds.

At the other end of the spectrum, more needs to be done by the government to protect scientists involved in animal research. What they are doing is legal and very closely regulated. There is reform needed within this field (notably the ending of cosmetic testing), but the government takes any foul play by researchers very seriously as some ex-employees of Huntingdon Life Sciences found out. Abuse of animals is wrong, but so too is abuse of the families of scientists involved in this field by extremists.

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