What Tikkun olam Can Teach Us about Uniting Britain Through the Animal Abuse Register
Brexit and the General Election 2017 Offering Unlimited Possibilities
We are living in an exciting time, in Britain, with Brexit and the upcoming general election. It is chance to take control of our destiny, achieve the impossible, and our only limit is our imagination. Jesse Jackson said,
No one should negotiate their dreams. Dreams must be free to fly high. No government, no legislature, has a right to limit your dreams. You should never agree to surrender your dreams.
My dream is the animal abuse register similar to the Tennessee model becoming a reality or at least some form of the register becomes reality. Nonetheless, I am realists and I know not everyone shares my viewpoint. There are some who believe the Animal Welfare Act 2006 does not need reforming and others who believe longer sentences for those who abuse animals is ludicrous. It is great to dream because it gives us something to reach for for and it gives us hope.
Uniting Britain Through the Animal Abuse Register
When I read the papers or watch the news, I am reminded great divisions in this country exists. Granted the vote on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union split the along remain versus leave. Luckily “time heals all wound,” and the country is slowly forgetting the results. As Britain accepts the results it provides an unique opportunity to heal and unite. Nonetheless there are still some who cannot forget that fateful day on 23 June 2016 and are unwilling move past the election to allow healing to begin. This leads me to ask is there a way to unite this country, even a small way, to unite this country?
Bringing Britain Together by Making Us Safer
I believe there is a way to unite this country and bring it closer together. When I started writing this article, my initial topic was examining the question why are men not a part of the animal rights movement? I have met a few men who are a part of the animal rights movement some have very prominent roles but men make up a small percentage of the movement. By my research, the estimate is somewhere between 20% – 30%. The question intrigues me since I know many men who are dog owners but chose not to advocate for animal rights.
So, I started looking into the question and I began pondering the question. Struggling with question and wondering why I was not able to cohesively write about it. I began realising my focus is wrong. The focus is not why men are not a part of animal rights movement. Instead it should be about how the animal abuse register will help make Britain a better place.
This meant, I had to, once again, return to the vision for the animal abuse register. As I examined the vision, stripping away, layer after layer, of what is the animal abuse register trying to accomplish. I realised, the animal abuse register is not just about protecting animals and it is not just about ensuring animals are homed with the right guardians. It is much more, it about protecting all of us and making a great society even better. It is tikkun olam or simply put, making the world a better place.
What is Tikkun Olam?
Tikkun olam has Jewish roots. In Judaism tikkun olam is about doing acts of kindness to perfect the world or in its most simplest definition, helping others; however, for this blog, I am using the idea of tikkun olam in a broad secular sense. For this blog, I am using tikkun olam, to mean it is everyone duty to make the world a better place. Before I continue, I will ask that you take a moment and reflect, what does it mean to make the world a better place? How can you help others? What can you do to make it better?
For me, it means using the limited time I have and doing something positive. The animal abuse register is a way to do something positive for animals, it is a way of doing something positive people, and doing something positive for society. The animal abuse register, is a way of helping others by protecting them from harm, a way to protect animals from harm, and it is a way to help those who need help.
Tikkun Olam: Perfecting Britain through the Animal Abuse Register
In the next few weeks and next few months we will hear politicians talking about having to improve Britain. Even after the general election 8 June 2017 we will still hear someone talking about improving Britain. Does Britain need improving? When I hear a politician talk about improving Britain it implies the government has failed and the government needs fixing. Fixing is a depressing word because it means the country is not living up to its potential and there is something fundamentally wrong with the country.
In contrast, by using the word tikkun olam, it does not mean Britain is needs fixing. It means Britain is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Tikkun olam in this context means looking at how remarkable Britain is and finding a way to make it even better. Unlike fixing, tikkun olam starts with the good and looks at how to build on it. Tikkun Olam looks at how Britain can be perfected instead of focusing on the negatives and then determining what needs to change in order to “fix,” the problem.
Think for a moment, does Britain need “fixing,” or perfecting? Take a moment and think about these questions. Who wants a world where animal abusers face tougher prison sentences in the United Kingdom? How do we help those with violent behaviour and abuse animals get the help they need? Finally, those in violent relationship how can we protect their pet and help them lead a safe productive life? What does these questions imply? Is Britain “broken?” My answer, Britain is not “broken.” Like everything else it needs some improvement and Tikkun olam is the answer.
Imaging Tikkun Olam and the Animal Abuse Register in Britain
Next, to help put the vision into perspective, think about the story of Chunky the Chihuahua. If you do not know the story, it is easily searchable. Now imagine, if the animal abuse register was in place? Would the teens who nearly killed Chunky done it? Did they get a tough enough sentence? How do you feel knowing someone like them might be working with your children, caring for you or caring for someone you love? What do you believe needs to be done to stop them and to protect society? Will you feel more secure if violent criminals like them were kept form working with children, working with animals, working with the vulnerable, working with the mentally ill, or working with people facing life changes?
Most likely you are feeling more needs to do be done to protect society from people who abuse animals and to ensure all of us feel safer. What will you do the make the world better for Chunky, Chunky’s owner? and Chunky’s abuser?
Now imagine, what if information was available about those who commit such horrendous acts? Whereby communities knew about those who abuse animals and were able to put programs in place to help them and protect the most vulnerable from them? What if these programs could work with the courts and help them change their lives once they were put on the register? Again, now imagine what if the information was made available to the public and to employers? What type of country do you feel the United Kingdom could become with the register?
Animal Abuse Register Should Not Lead to Vigilantism
Some will argue an animal abuse register it will lead to vigilantism. However, current research done by this author, suggest the register will not lead to vigilantism and it can lead to a better Britain for all us.
Making the world is a better place through the animal abuse register is not masculine or feminine. It is not Baby-Boomer, Generation X versus Millennials. Nor is it Brexiteers versus Remain. The issue of the animal abuse register unifies us as a nation because it is something that touches all of us. The register, at its core, addresses a fundamental human value, the ability to think beyond ourselves in order to make life better for someone else.
It is at its core neighbour helping helping neighbour to make a greater sense of security. Security comes in many forms from not worrying about a loved-one in care because the register will prevent the facility from hiring them. Maybe security is a dog breeder knowing they have placed their puppy in a loving home. Security can be making life better for someone is making it easier for someone in an abusive relationship to leave because they can protect their pet. As a society, security comes from knowing someone that has abused an animal is prison and they, through the animal abuse register, no longer have access to animals. Maybe for the animal abuser is knowing that they are able to access help and change their lives for the better.
I realise I will never be Prime Minister or be a a corporate board member of a multi-national corporation whereby I can donate millions to my causes. Nonetheless, I know I can make a difference. Tikkun Olam, though the animal abuse register is my way to help others and to perfect the world.
In conclusion, to answer the question how can the animal abuse register unite this great country? The register is a way for the nation to come together to advocate change that will immediately improve lives and improve lives for future generations. Lives will be improved through making Britain safer by protecting society from those who can do harm and helping those who abuse animals to get the help they need. By doing this, it will lead to a sense of security. Also, it will lead to a sense of accomplishment because we have given a voice to those without a voice by protecting them from harm. It is my hope, regardless of your background, you join me to advocate for changes to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 so we can begin improving lives in Britain and make Britain even better.
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