A while back ago I mentioned there was a big announcement coming and I am now able to make that announcement. At the moment, there are plans to deliver my petition, Justice for Chunky, with over 600,000 signatures to the Welsh Assembly on 7 November 2017 in preparation to pass an animal abuse register for Wales. The event is scheduled from 12:30 – 13:15 but I am waiting for final confirmation of the time. This great opportunity that being led by our good friend Bethan Jenkins AM.
Whilst it is still early and plans need to be finalised, Brighter Tomorrow wants to encourage people to show up at the Welsh Assembly on 7 November with their pets in support of the petition being delivered. By taking a few minutes to show support it will show support for Bethan Jenkins tireless work on the great piece of legislation and it will show the Welsh assembly there is widespread support for the petition.
Next, it is important to note Wales cannot pass laws that conflict with laws of the United Kingdom. This means the register cannot call for sentences longer than what is currently legislated under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and it will not have any impact on England, Scotland, or Nothern Ireland. Regardless of any consequential limitation, this is a significant first step in bringing the animal abuse register to the whole United Kingdom.
The people of Wales should be proud to have an AM like Bethan Jenkins.
Further updates can be found here and our Facebook page.
We look seeing you in Wales on 7 November 2017.
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Endless Possibilities: The start Maxine Berry’s Journey
We are living in a truly exciting time, in the United Kingdom. Brexit and the upcoming general election provide endless possibilities. The most exciting possibility began about 8 months before the vote to leave the European Union, in November 2016. It is the Animal Abuse Register, Justice for Chunky, petition started by Maxine Berry.
Tennessee Based Register Modified for United Kingdom Standards
Her vision is having a register, similar to the state of Tennessee, whereby family pets are protected and those who abuse animals face longer sentences. The amazing thing about Maxine’s vision, the register not only protects pets but people too. At this point, you may be gobsmacked believing the register will only protect pets? Reality, there is a link between those who abuse animals and the increased likelihood they will harm people. No link is 100% and there are other factors that influence the decision, like longer sentences.
Now, imagine the UK having Maxine’s vision what type of country will we have? This author believes it is a safer country. Whereby animal cruelty, especially against family pets decrease, domestic violence decrease, and where appropriate support is given to help those overcome their violent ways. In essence creating a brighter tomorrow for many people living in the United Kingdom.
Is Anti-Americanism a Roadblock?
Next, if the register will protect people. Then how come the United Kingdom does not have the register? No path to change is simple and because animal cruelty is an emotive issue, there will be roadblocks along the way. When Maxine started her journey, she was realistic and knew it was not going to be easy. Her belief in making pets safe from harm and keeping people safe is her driving motivation. Currently, one roadblock Maxine is facing is the collective feeling inferior to America along with a bit of anti-Americanism. She will not let anti-Americanism or a feeling from other of feeling inferior to America.
UK Papers Can Publish Names and Photographs of Those Convicted of a Crime but the Animal Abuse Register Cannot?
So where does this roadblock originate from? The state of Tennessee since January 2016 implemented an animal abuse register for the whole state and 10 other states are currently legislating some form of animal abuse register. The argument that Maxine Berry is facing lies in the public exposure of those on the register. In the United Kingdom it is easy to search a local paper; find someone convicted of a crime with their photograph published and name published.
Publishing Names Leads to Vigilantism: Fact or Fiction?
Moving on, a part of the roadblock lies in the belief public exposure will lead to vigilantism. So what evidence exists Tennessee model will lead to vigilantism? This author has spent time searching for records indicating vigilantism after implementing the animal abuse register in Tennessee. At the time of writing this article, this author cannot find any reported cases of vigilantism in the state of Tennessee against those on the register.
This brings up the next question what about the UK? This author can find sporadic reports of vigilantism against sex offenders. Nonetheless shortly after the UK introduced the sex offenders; register vigilantism appeared to have decreased. This article seems to suggest the link between the media and fueling vigilantism.
Another issue this raises, there is a difference between those who commit animal cruelty and those who commit sex offences?
Why Design an Original Register When a Model Already Exists?
Many people fear Maxine is advocating a “naming and shaming” of those convicted of animal cruelty. In response to the misinformation, Maxine explicitly advocates it is not the public naming of individuals that makes the Tennessee model ‘an out-of-the-box solution.’ Instead Maxine continuously states it is the legislation. In particular, it is the longer sentences for those who abuse animals and the definition of animal that makes the Tennessee model that can be easily modified to fit the needs of the UK. If MPs review the cost and benefit analysis done by Maxine’s husband Brian they will see it is more cost effective to focus limiting the definition of animal to companion animals than the wide encompassing definition of animal as provided under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and MPs will see over time the animal abuse register can be self-sustaining.
Tennessee Model Works
All things considered, how come United Kingdom has not implemented an animal abuse register based on the Tennessee model? What is the reason the animal abuse register, based on the Tennessee model, has not become law in the UK? Is it beliefs rooted in British inferiority to America, is it anti-Americanism, or a combination of? Such a question may seem harsh and maybe unfair. Nonetheless the question needs to be asked. It is important to remember, Maxine advocates it is the legislation not the public naming that makes the Tennessee model viable.
Furthermore evidence suggests the register might decrease vigilantism and the evidence suggests there is no link between the two, regardless of the model used. Moreover, the Tennessee model is a working model that has been around since January 2016 and has a history. Finally there is some evidence to suggest a UK animal abuse register (point of sale and employer checks) based on the Tennessee model is cheaper and may be self-sufficient without the need for strict enforcement or violating civil liberties.
Regardless of anti-Americanism and regardless of some feeling inferior to American exceptionalism in the field of animal rights, Maxine Berry will continue to fight for animal rights. She will continue for fight for the Tennessee model because it is the most cost-effective and the easiest to implement. Plus the Tennessee model provides an excellent model for legislation in defining animals and sentencing. It is time for us to unite to protect our pets and protect those who do not have a voice. By implementing an animal abuse register based on the Tennessee model we can make millions of lives better in a very short time.
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What Tikkun olam Can Teach Us about Uniting Britain Through the Animal Abuse Register
Brexit Offers Unlimited Possibilities
We are living in an exciting time, in Britain. Brexit offers the chance to take control of our destiny and achieve the impossible. The 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 making the animal abuse register similar to the Tennessee model law for the entire UK. Nonetheless, I am a pragmatist and realist. who understands not everyone shares my vision. Granted 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. For those who believe in the status quo and believe the route to ending animal cruelty is by making minor adjustments to the law, I believe they are living in denial. Animal Welfare Act is broken and it is in desperate need of repair. The way to fix is by adopting an animal abuse register that provides longer sentences.
I ask you to imagine a Britain with a strong animal abuse register. Whereby animal cruelty is not just a fine with minimal or no jail time. Instead I ask you to imagine a Britain that say “no” to animal cruelty and creates a society whereby animal cruelty is no longer an issue. This is the type of Britain I want to create with the animal abuse register.
Uniting Britain Through the Animal Abuse Register
So how do we create a society where animal cruelty is no longer an issue and unite? 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 country along remain versus leave. Luckily “time heals all wound,” and the country is slowly forgetting the results. Great Britain is beginning the process of leaving the EU and as a country, we are beginning to establish our identity as a nation free of the EU. The future is creating a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. Nonetheless, there is also a great wealth of opportunity.
As Britain leaves the EU it provides an unique opportunity to heal, lead, 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. Luckily, their negative voices are the minority that are going quiet as this unites. This leads me to ask is there a way to unite this country?
Bringing Britain Together by Making Us Safer
I believe there is a way to unite this country. Please allow me a moment to digress, when I started writing this article, my initial topic was examining the question why are men not a part of the animal rights movement? 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 realise, 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 are 5 Things the Animal Abuse Register Will Immediately Provide the UK?
Being a pet owner opens up your world by increasing your awareness of the world around you and makes you realise you are responsible for the care of another living thing that does not have a voice. It cannot tell you it is sad, it cannot tell you it is in pain, and it cannot care for itself. It relies on you to help it and to feed it. Similarly, being a pet owner makes you aware there are millions of people out there who cannot or live in oppression thereby living in fear of voicing their concerns. In a way, I believe, being a pet owner forces you into another world that forces examination of your feelings and how you can nurture your pet. So, how can you protect your pet and ensure they live in a safe world? The answer, an animal abuse register can easily improve their lives in five different ways.
Giving a Voice to Children, the Vulnerable and the Forgotten:
A purpose of the register is protecting the public from those who can harm them and in particular, protect those who struggle to speak for themselves, for example: children, the elderly, those who are unconscious, those who cannot make decisions for themselves; or those suffering from mental illness. This means as a part of the register, a check will need to be completed before employment can be offered for certain professions or before a professional body can accept an application for professional registration (e.g. teachers, nurses, doctors, psychologists). It will protect those who cannot speak for themselves are protected from those who can do them harm and protect them from those who may prevent them from speaking out.
Identifying Families at Risk:
Animal cruelty tends to be a crime committed by younger people and serve as a gateway to more serious crimes. The animal abuse register fundamental role is helping those in need. How? Whilst the knowledge of being put on a register may dissuade some from participating or committing a violence against an animal. The power of the register lies in identifying those who have been convicted of animal cruelty. It will allow schools, social services, Councils, and other bodies to identify those who may need support, intervention, or help. It will keep them from coming into contact with children, animals, and the vulnerable. By identifying those needing help, through conviction of animal cruelty, it will allow programs to be put in place, protect others from harm, identify those who might benefit form community based programs and keep them from further harming animals.
Making it Easier to Leave Domestic Abuse:
In the United States many states acknowledge the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse, read this great document for further information. For example, Arizona the definition of domestic abuse includes animals. This allows the family pet to be included domestic abuse protection orders and it makes it easier to leave a domestic abuse situation. Furthermore, the recognition by several states in the United States regarding the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse demonstrates the United Kingdom is lagging behind other developed Western countries in this area of legislation.
In answer to the question, how can an animal abuse register stop domestic abuse? The register is the first step in improving the laws for domestic abuse. Many times in a domestic abuse situation, the abuser will either threaten the family pet or abuse the pet in order to gain control by using fear. Having an animal abuse register will make it easier for someone who is experiencing domestic abuse to feel safe if they leave because all of their needs are being addressed. Also, the register will increase the criminal sentence for animal cruelty, thereby protecting the public from the abuser.
Helping police and law enforcement reduce crime:
It will be a tool whereby police can access information regarding those who have been convicted of animal cruelty. Unlike the Police National Computer, it will contain the name, address, and other relevant information of those convicted. It will work alongside other databases to help fight crime. Also, in some cases, it will help to deter people from committing animal cruelty thereby helping protecting animal and the vulnerable from abuse.
It will bring about a positive cultural change in the attitudes about animals and bring about a cultural change about the attitude about violence:
The current law lacks proper funding for enforcement and only provides six months in jail for the most horrific acts of violence. Having a register that includes proper funding for enforcement and tougher sentences sends a message about violence against animals not being tolerated. Also it sends another subtler message, violence is any form is not tolerated. I believe the power to transform UK society lies in the register ability to empower people. It gives information to people to decide about relationships, it provides a layer of protection, and provides a strong deterrent. By having a register, a little more control will be given to us and as a country the register will bring about a positive change.
Gandhi said a country is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. The animal abuse register is a way for the United Kingdom to care for its most vulnerable by keeping them from harm. I will admit the animal abuse register is not a panacea. It will not stop every case of domestic abuse and it will not, sadly, stop every incident of animal abuse. Nonetheless it fills a missing gap and it brings the United Kingdom in line with other countries. It offers protection and hope for the most vulnerable. By creating an animal abuse register it can be the firewall that stops someone from abusing and potentially help them to change their course in life. If the register can change one person’s life for the better or protect one-person form abuse the all of the work will be worth it.
Can We Really Trust License Fee to Fully Fund the Animal Abuse Register
Rarely a day goes by without print media writing about another case of animal cruelty. The stories are heart-breaking leaving you feeling upset, helpless, enraged; and wanting to do something. Worst yet, under current sentencing guidelines a pet is considered mere property and there is no concept of guardianship. This means under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the longest sentence can be given is six months in jail. A very short-time for someone who has hurt a member of the family that cannot speak for themself and relies on us for protection.
What can be done to help stop the horrific cruelty to family pets? There must be a solution? Yes, there is proven solution and it very simple. The proven solution is implementing Animal Abuse Register, similar to the state of Tennessee, in the UK is an option. The Tennessee model is proven because it has been around since January 2016 and as this author understands it, there has been no issues.
So why not implement the Tennessee model? There are two reasons: reluctance and funding. Anything new always is met with preposterous objections. In regards to implementing the animal abuse register based on the Tennessee model this author believes objections to the Tennessee model is based more on anti-Americanism, personal agenda, and dumb belief by some the major drawback to the Tennessee model (the public naming of individuals) that may lead to vigilantism. At the time of writing this article, this author is not aware of any widespread cases of vigilantism against those named in Tennessee and without further evidence this author does not accept public naming of individuals will lead to vigilantism. Nonetheless, this author does not believe the strength of the Tennessee model solely lies in the public naming of those convicted of abusing animals but believes the strength of Tennessee model lies legislation. The legislation strength lies in the sentencing and defining of the term animal.
What are the three types of funding models for an animal abuse register?
Implementing a register may sound like a quick solution. However, the issue lies in funding it. Currently, as this author understands it, enforcing the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is costly and there is not enough funding available. This author believes the reason why the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is failing pet owners is because it is all encompassing thereby making enforcement difficult and costly. For a register to work, it must be able to fund itself. Currently there are three possible options: Green Party policy regarding license fee, a point of sale check that can include a check being done by an employer or doing nothing.
Is a very good policy that will quickly generate revenue for the government and depending on the level of voluntary compliance, the amount of revenue generated can be massive. The massive generation can sustain the policy for a while. However, the policy as I understand it, does not include renewal and it does not include a mechanism to ensure someone who is issued a license is regularly checked to ensure they are not on the register. Another issue lies that it is all encompassing, covering all animals thereby running into similar issues regarding enforcement. In order to ensure someone who has a license is not on the register it will mean the license will have to be read, like a chip and pin, to ensure the individual has not been added to the register. Furthermore the license fee policy is silent on how enforcement will be conducted. This issue of license checks and enforcement leaves many questions. In particular the concern the license fee for this author raises is the violation of civil liberties, such as stop and search, to ensure everyone who has a pet has a license or enforcement vans driving through neighbourhoods.
Point of Sale and Employer Checks
Point of Sale and Employer Checks is relative an exciting approach since it is a self-sustaining providing several millions for the government because enforcement will be done at the Council level instead of the national level. This means Councils can charge an additional fee to defray the cost of enforcement for pet shops. Plus this promising model is focuses on the Tennessee model, whereby the Animal Welfare Act is updated to provide longer sentences for those who foolishly attack the family pet.
Cost of doing nothing may appear free but it is not. The cost of doing nothing extracts a high price on families. and society There is a link between those who abuse animals and those who have the potential to hurt others. This author is not saying everyone who abuses an animal will abuse a person. Instead this author is saying there is a link that cannot be ignored that is cost the government millions of pounds each year in prosecutions, police time, jail space; and the harm done to families.
My analysis shows over time, the cost of the Green Party Policy without increasing the license fee, without limiting exemptions, or without further defining what enforcement will include will risk the policy not being self-sufficient. It will mean increasing the license fee, increasing enforcement activities and / or for example, deny productive members of society access to seeing eye dogs because they cannot afford the license fee because their exemption was rehttp://Cost and benefit analysis of the animal abuse register for the United Kingdom as completed by Brian Berry, Co-Founder of the AAR – Animal Abuse Register / Justice for Chunky and Co-Owner Brighter Tomorrow.moved.
Whereas the point of sale with employer check is a self-sustaining approach with the potential to provide a windfall and doing nothing hurts society.
It is therefore, based on the analysis provided, point of sale with employer checks be the way forward to fund an animal abuse register.
What is Brighter Tomorrow? Brighter Tomorrow is an extension of AAR – Animal Abuse Register / Justice for Chunky page on Facebook. Purpose of this site is allow individuals who are not typically on Facebook find us and for those on Facebook it provides information that may not always be easy to find. This site will contain the core information, not all of the news stories and updates you find on the Facebook site. Furthermore this site our supporters the opportunity to interact, ask questions, learn about the animal abuse register campaign; and to further understand our goal.
Next, there is another purpose to this site. Maxine, founder of the Justice for Chunky petition, wants to sell slime, soaps, candles, jewellery; and provide animal abuse register campaign items. Campaign related items will be similar to the Justice for Chunky t-shirts and coffee mugs that have been previously provided. However campaign related items will mean they will come from a third-party supplier. By being able to make these items for you, it will give Maxine of saying thank you for the support and hopefully it will allow you to feel a part of the campaign. Also, it will give you the change to buy something personally made by her and a chance to support the campaign.
Please bear with us, since additions to this will be over time and and it is our hope you will visit us regularly to see our offerings.
Why the Tennessee Model is the best model for an animal abuse register?
The answer is simple. The Tennessee model for the animal abuse register offers an “out-of-box” solution thereby being able save government money by providing a proven structure. Furthermore the success of the Tennessee Model makes it the best model for the UK to use for its register.
Out of Box Solution
Inspiring other states to legislate the register
So what is meant by an out-of-box solution? To begin with, the Tennessee register as been operation since January 2016 and it is inspiring other states to legislate similar type of registers. Other states deciding to follow Tennessee is a testament to the success of the Tennessee model.
Second reason, why this author believe the Tennessee model is the right model, the legislation defines the term animal. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the term animal is very broad. Hypothetically, the term animal as defined by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, section 1(3) – section 1(4), can imply the act could be applied to ants, snails, and in a very extreme case to even bacteria. This author is not saying ants, spiders, and microbes will every be protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Instead this author is saying the Act, as it currently is written, could, with enough political pressure, be applied to cover invertebrates.
Whilst this author does not disagree all animals should be protected from animal cruelty, nonetheless this author believes the Tennessee definition is correct.
Only applying the register to companion animals raises a very important debate, what should the register cover? The problem arise when cost and enforcement are considered. How can you effectively enforce animal protection in a very rural area, especially for livestock? How do you carry out enforcement with a limited budget and a limited staff? What takes priority protecting a badger, a fox, or a dog? Where does the priority lie?
Granted all animals are important; however there is not enough budget or resources to equally enforce the register for all animals. This means something will take priority and others become a lesser priority. Assume for a moment, if the register covered companion animals, livestock, and wild animals kept in captivity. Where do you start? Do you protect the seeing eye dog that allows a blind person the ability to work and become a productive member of society and carry out enforcement of a pet-shop? Alternatively do you look for fox hunting events, check on zoos, check farms to ensure animal welfare is being protected; or check the woods to ensure trapping is not occurring?
The point this author is making, a broad definition makes it harder to enforce especially when all animals are treated the same. Furthermore this author believes animals that require guardianship, companion animals, should receive additional protection through longer sentencing. Reason for this belief, is based on this author’s support for the legislation and belief companion animals improve lives of individual thereby are worthy of additional protection. Finally this author is also trying to demonstrate complexity imposed by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the need for an update.
Third point as to why the Tennessee model is a good out of the box solution, it provides for longer sentences. Is rehabilitation a better solution than increasing sentencing? This author believes, those who might benefit from rehabilitation need to be correctly identified and correctly matched to the correct rehabilitation program. Requiring everyone convicted of animal cruelty to go through a rehabilitation program, according to Civitis report on rehabilitation by Iain Murray, see for example sections 3 – 4, a generic program will not work for everyone. This author believes, we all make choices and we assess our choice on a variety of factors such as: risk, like, urgency, priority, and how it will improve our situation. In order to dissuade some from committing animal cruelty and dissuade others from re-offending, this author believes longer sentences is necessary.
Returning to the previous discussion in the preceding section, this author mentions the definition of animal and discusses the issues with the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Tennessee model provides longer sentences for those who abuse companion animals. Companion animals are animals that are kept as our companions like dogs and cats. Whilst this author fully understands, appreciates, and does not necessarily disagrees that all animals should be treated equal. This author believes companion animals improve our lives by:
Keeping us healthy by keeping us active
Working for the police
Working at ports to smell out illegal drugs, bombs, or illegal imports (e.g. foods)
Helping us be productive members of society (e.g. seeing eye dog)
Being a part of our family
At least for this author, the starting point must be companion animals because companion animals are the group of animals in most need of guardianship and protection.
Fourth reason, the Tennessee model provides a model for the animal abuse register. Under the Tennessee model the register is public; showing the photograph of the person along with identifiable information and the person remains on the register for the period of time stated on the register.
Will the Animal Abuse Register Lead to Vigilantism?
Tennessee model has raised concerns in the United Kingdom, such a public record will lead to vigilantism. It is worth noting, it is easy to search online in the UK, find a local paper, and the local paper publishes the photograph along with the name of the individual convicted (see – this example). As previously stated in this article, from my research I cannot find any indication vigilantism has occurred against those on the Tennessee register. Since the UK animal abuse register will mirror the sex offenders register, there is no media reports this author can find no stories of physical attacks against those on the sex offenders register. Nonetheless, there is one story about individual over 7 years ago, in 2010 posting photos of pedophiles on Facebook and a few media investigations into various aspects of the sex offender register.
In regards to the individual who posted photos of pedophiles on Facebook, the question must be asked if the register was public similar to the Tennessee model would they have posted the photos? In this author’s opinion the posting of photos on Facebook, is at best using a very liberal definition of vigilantism, a very harmless form of vigilantism. Harmless in this context means, based on the article there were no terrorist threats, the physical violence, no threats of physical violence, no group took action; and based on the article, it does not appear the police were called. Based on the article, this author argues the action is more likely fits the definition of defamation that can be easily managed by Facebook suspending the account. Since the incident in 2010 did not require police to use their powers under the Public Order Act 2006, Misuse of Computers Act 1996, Offences Against the Persons Act 1861; or similar legislation, it can be argued a register will not lead to vigilantism.
UK Animal Abuse Register
Without spending a lot of time writing about my proposal for the animal abuse register in the UK, I am attaching it that can accessed from this link. This vision also includes a section on cost and benefit analysis of the different funding models.
The Tennessee model is quickly gaining a lot of fanfare by inspiring others to implement their own animal abuse register. Sadly, the United Kingdom is lagging behind other developed nations in protecting animals and implementing an animal abuse register. Whilst the Tennessee animal abuse register model may have a few undesirable aspects, nonetheless it provides a strong working solution for the United Kingdom that can be easily adapted to meet the UK needs. I strong believe the register must be adaptable and provide a deterrence against animal abuse. However for those who commit the offense then they should face the consequences of their decision and should they decide to repeat their crime then I believe a long sentence is warranted.
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