Maxine Berry is not just the Managing Director of Brighter Tomorrow Limited (UK)). She is also a tireless campaigner who is fighting to end all forms of abuse and mistreatment. Below is a listing of articles rearding the work of Maxine Berry
Does Stereotypes still exist in 2017? What is a stereotype? Does having a stereotype serve a purpose? Equality Act, Human Rights Act, and other legislation means stereotypes do not exist?
Speaking with people, either on social media or in person, about the animal abuse register I can easily say in 2017 stereotypes still exist. I am writing this article in order to raise an awareness and challenge the ideas held. Furthermore, I believe the below stereotypes are hurting the movement for the animal abuse register. In this article, I am going to explore how stereotypes are hurting the animal abuse register cause and what can be done to fix it?
Definition of Stereotype
Before, speaking about how stereotypes impact the animal abuse register. It is important to define stereotype. At its core, a stereotype is a set of rules we use to interact with our world. It can protect us and give us guidance on how to respond. Nonetheless, using stereotypes can have negative consequences.
History provides many examples of the negative consequences of stereotypes. An extreme example are the Jim Crow laws that defines separate but equal (see, Plessey v Ferguson). Jim Crow laws are laws passed by Southern States during the Reconstruction period in post Civil War America leading to segregation of African Americans. It was not until post-WWII American did the seed of change take root leading to the civil rights marches and Supreme Court decisions like Brown v Topeka Board of Education which eventually led improving civil rights for all.
It goes without saying Jim Crow laws are discrimination. Nonetheless, for discrimination to occur the must be a basis. I believe that basis is having a stereotype. Without challenging stereotypes they can become barrier to progress and ultimately hurt society. Below are four stereotypes people hold about supporters of the animal abuse register.
Four Stereotypes Hurting Animal Abuse Register
1) Activism is Extremism
First thing to remember, those who support the register are animal rights activists. In my opinion there is nothing wrong being an activist. An activist, in my opinion, means someone who has passion about a cause and is willing to speak for it. However, the term activist, in media shows the extreme. Whereby, people taking their support of a cause to the point the individual is willing invoke violence. This leads people to link activism with extremism.
2) All Animal Rights Supporters are Vegans
It is important to realise, there is nothing wrong with being a vegan. Nonetheless, it is not correct to believe all animal abuse register supporters are vegans.
3) Vegans are the Only Ones who can speak about Animal Abuse
A point often overlooked, statistically about 0.8% of the UK population is vegan. This is a very small number that lacks an ability to influence the wider population. So why does this matter? I will tell you. The only time I experience exclusion is when talking about the register with a vegan. Exclusion means, being excluded not because of the experience you can contribute but because you behaviour does not mirror their behaviour. Granted this sounds a lot like playground behaviour but sadly, it is alive in the UK today. It is a barrier attitude whereby either I must become a vegan before my views can be accepted and can advocate for the register. Such a position is discriminatory like the Jim Crow laws. What is the purpose of exclusion? It is not helping to progress the register.
In comparison, from interacting with my supporters, I strongly believe the clear majority are not vegans. If we apply the 0.8% rule to my petition and assume 600,000 signatures. Then it means only 4800 out of 600,000 are vegans or approximately 595,200 are not vegans.
Are Vegans Hurting the Animal Abuse Register Movement?
I struggle to decide what stereotype is more damaging: activism is extremism or vegans are the only one who can speak about animal abuse. In my honest opinion, I believe this stereotype is more damaging. Why? Because it is exclusionary by believing 99.2% of the UK population cannot speak for animal cruelty because they are not vegans. Finally I believe this attitude is damaging because vegans are missing an opportunity to reach out to others to bring about a necessary change. In my opinion it is not social justice but discrimination being masked by an ideology.
4) All Animals Abuse Register Supporters Believe All Animals Are Created Equally
All Animals Must Be Protected from Cruelty
I do not believe animals should go without protection from animal cruelty. Nonetheless it is important to realise, as a society we value animals differently. I believe there are three broad categories: service animals, livestock, and wild. Each has value, worth, and importance. Furthermore, I believe, when we look deep inside of ourselves, I believe, we want to believe we see animals having the same value. However, I believe there is a disconnect between our desire and our actions.
Not All Animals Are Created Equally
I challenge you. The next time you travel look at your surroundings. On the bus, you may see a seeing eye dog. Likewise, at the airport you may see a dog sniffing for drugs, bombs, or illegal food. Maybe someone has a therapy animal with them or a helper monkey. Likewise, police and military uses dogs too. Even your neighbours will have a dog, cat, parrot; or hamster. You will never see a person walking a badger, pig, or their pet cow in the park. Britain is a nation of pet owners.
Media Does Not Treat Animal Abuse Equally
Media reflects the values a society holds. Next time when reading the paper, look for someone abusing their pet fish or hurting a wild mouse caught in a mouse trap? I am willing to bet, you more likely to find as story about someone hurting a dog or a cat than a pet fish.
Reality of Enforcement: It Costs Money
From my experience I believe there is a disconnect between idealism and practicality. There is a lot of idealism to save everything but there is almost no talk on how do you afford it? To answer this, hink about the larger picture. If someone asks you, “do you want me to protect your dog, a cow, or a badger?” The question may sound ridiculous and your reaction maybe your dog. Think, if you want to protect all three, how will you respond? Protecting an animal from cruelty costs money and it requires people to do it. Where does the time and money come from to pay for:
Maintenance of vehicles
Training / support
How do you pay for it? In an ideal world, all animals are equal and receive equal protection. Under real-world circumstances there are limitations. Meaning, something must be given priority over something else. I believe, the reason for so much attention in the media regarding animal cruelty is the result of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 not differentiating between different types of animals. Instead the penalty for cruelty to a dog is the same for a badger or a cow. Is that fair?
5) All Supporters of the Animal Abuse Register are Progressive
There is a stereotype anyone supporting the register holds a progressive ideology or should subscribe to it. Simply put we are a homogeneous group sharing similar beliefs. From my contact with my supporters I do not believe this is true. Instead I believe, among my supporters the is a yearning for longer sentencing without rehabilitation and a need to protect the family pet from abuse. This goes very much against the idea of rehabilitation or believing the Animal Welfare 2006 is the perfect solution for solving animal cruelty. In my honest opinion, I do not believe those who support the animal abuse register are a homogeneous group. Instead we are a very diverse group with varying political opinions.
Animal Abuse Register is not an Ideology but a Movement
My vision for the animal abuse register is not about advocating for or against a vegan lifestyle. It is not about conservatism, green, or progressive political ideology. Instead it is a movement about protecting animals from cruelty. The movement is about being realistic about enforcement, cost, and societal values. It is our belief, the best way, with limited resources, is accepting society puts different values on animals. Such as statement may shock you but it is reality. Furthermore, it our belief, those animals that improve lives must receive the most protection. Reason being, cruelty to a service type of animal also impacts its family thereby damaging society.
In conclusion, call it what you want: stereotype, bullying, or discrimination. It is all the same. If the register is to happen then all sides need to work together and put aside stereotypical ideology behind them. Only be working together can we make the register happen and protect all of Britain.
How updating the Animal Welfare Act 2006 Make Britain Safer?
Imagine a place where bullying, abuse, and violence disappears? What does it look like? How does it make you feel? Do you feel technology can protect us by knowing if someone has a violent past? Will you feel more secure if the police knew where violent people live and was using that information to make our communities safer? Sound too good to be true? Maybe, but there is a something that can help to make Britain safer and decrease violence in society.
In order to make us safe and to protect us we must be willing to take a risk. Brexit offers the opportunity UK to control and make us safer. So, how can we become safer by reducing abuse and violence? The answer is simple an animal abuse register.
Animal Register: The Basics
How can an animal abuse register reduce abuse and violence in this country? In order to understand how an animal abuse register can make Britain safer it is important to understand the very basics. First, the term animal abuse register creates a lot of questions, such as: what is an animal? Animal Welfare Act 2006 defines animal in section1 but whilst it does a marvelous attempt in defining animal it raises questions about application to invertebrates and how can it be successfully funded to allow enforcement? Maxine Berry through her Justice for Chunky petition calls for a register to protect our pets, companion animals. The state of Tennessee animal abuse register, as defined by Tennessee’s legislation establishing the register, an animal is defined as a companion that is not livestock and not wild. This means only those animals kept as companions, such as dogs or cats, will be covered.
This raises the next question; how will the register operate? A more detailed explanation can be found here. The register will only include those who have either been convicted of qualifying charge or pleads guilty to a qualifying charge. As a part of sentencing the individual will be placed on the register, by the courts, for a qualifying period based on the severity of the charge and if they have been previously charged for another qualifying offence. Once placed on the register, it will then become the responsibility of the convicted to provide up to date and accurate information. Failure to comply can result in serving further jail time. While on the register the individual will be barred from owning or caring for a pet. Also, it is proposed while on the register the individual will not be allowed to work with the vulnerable, the old, or the young.
As for who can access the information? Brighter Tomorrow, owned in part by Maxine Berry, envision the information being held on a database and when required the information is searched with an indication if the person is on the register. Only those who have a right to the information (sellers and employers) and pays a fee can access it. Nonetheless, Brighter Tomorrow is open to the idea of a public register, like Tennessee, but the government needs to make money to fund it. By limiting access and paying a fee makes the register self-funding. Plus it protects the information held on it. Otherwise it will be no better than the current Animal Welfare Act 2006.
At this stage I hope you are still with me and not sleeping. If you are get a cup of coffee or a hot milky tea. Glad you are back and want to learn more. I realise the above is not the most interesting or exciting; however, it provides important information on the framework and how the register will operate. For those of you who are familiar with the Police National Computer (PNC), maybe asking, why the register if we already have this? There are two fundamental reasons. First the PNC is not accessible to the public. Second the PNC is about holding crime information such as vehicle information and it is meant to solve crimes. Whereas the registry is about providing an additional tool that contains information about the individual, the crime, and sentence. The registry will provide an additional tool and provide accessible information to the public.
Why Change the Animal Welfare Act 2006?
After discussing the foundation of how the register will operate, I am sure the big looming question is why change the Animal Welfare Act 2006? First reason, from what I understand, there is a lack of funding for enforcement. As stated earlier the Animal Welfare Act 2006 covers all animals and can cover invertebrates too. Thereby making it difficult to set priorities, difficult to enforce, and limits funding for enforcement. This means does enforcement focuses on protecting pets, badgers, horses, or pigeons? Where are enforcement officers sent? Who is charged under the Act? It leaves a lot of questions that need to be answer and because of broad focus very difficult to enforce.
Another reason for the register, it provides vital information about those convicted of animal abuse that anyone can access. It also provides a funding mechanism when more information is needed from employers and the general public. Depending on the funding model selected it is possible the register can be self-funding.
Third reason for updating the Animal Welfare Act, regards how animals are treated in the Act. In America, for example, there is a growing trend to change the reference from pet owners to pet guardians. This semantic change may seem minor but it is very powerful. A failure of the Animal Welfare Act is animals are treated like property (e.g. X-Box, home computer, stove, etc.) and the shift to guardian means unable to manage own affairs. Changing from owner to guardian allows a necessary change in the law. It allows for tougher sentencing because harm to animal means harm to something that cannot care for itself and not simple property damage.
Next reason for changing Animal Welfare Act 2006 is sentencing is too lax. Maximum sentence is six months and most do not even see jail. The diminishes the serious nature of animal cruelty and make it seem like a “slap on the wrist.”
DEFRA has been asked to review our vision and has not acted upon it. Stories like Chunky happen on a daily basis and highlights how the Animal Welfare Act 2006 fails our most vulnerable. The registry provides a way forward and offers a route to bring UK in line with other countries that value animals.
The immediate focus is getting the registry along with the appropriate funding for enforcement, changes to sentencing, and change to Animal Welfare Act 2006 to bring about effective change. This is a long and at a point where public support is crucial. I ask our supporters to attend the MPs surgery, write their MP, email their MP, Facebook message them, tweet them, and to do the same for DEFRA.
I am convinced the registry can make a positive and long-lasting change in the UK. The change will mean better lives for everyone. For us to have a better life, with less violence and abuse, comes a very little cost and with minimal disruption. All we need now is continued support from the public and support of our government.
Finally I believe the Animal Welfare Act 2006 has merit and should be retained. Nonetheless, I believe by reforming the Act and focusing on companion animals it can lead to more prosecutions and have a lasting impact on crime reduction.
Thank you for reading and I hope you will support the cause.
As we are all aware, 8 June 2017 is the general election in the United Kingdom, which left the UK with a minority led Conservative government. For the Conservative government to be able govern they have entered into a Confidence and Supply agreement with the DUP. The DUP is, from our understanding, supporters of the animal abuse register in Northern Ireland.
So what is the the Animal Abuse Register? In its most simplest terms, it is an opportunity to stop animal cruelty by providing longer sentences and it is an opportunity to stop animal cruelty by tracking those who abuse animal through the register. It is a way of making animal cruelty more costly and riskier for those who chose to abuse animals. Form another perspective, it is a way of protecting society by removing those from society who abuse animals and ensuring they are not able to work with those who are the least likely to report abuse. It is a way of saying no to bullying and abuse.
Attached to this link is a brief guide about the animal abuse register. It briefly explains what the register is and briefly explains why it is needed. Other articles on this site provides a more detailed discussion and links to more in-depth information, including cost / benefit analysis about the register and political parties supporting the register. It is a great time to get our voices heard regarding the need for the animal abuse register and it is a great time to make the political parties aware of the need for one.
Why is supporting animal abuse register important? It is not uncommon in today’s media to read about animal cruelty especially to dogs or cats. Animals, in today’s society are seen as mere property, disposable like a bar of chocolate or last year’s cocktail dress. Such treatment by the law makes them mere objects, not worthy of protection through guardianship Under the current Animal Welfare Act 2006 maximum sentencing for animal cruelty is six months. How fair is that?
Before answering think for a moment. Your dog or cat is a member of your family. They are there do greet you, they do not share you secrets, and comforts you in your time of need. If someone would hurt or kill that trusted member of your family, should they get a longer sentence?
Now think about the six month sentence under the Animal Welfare Act? Knowing sentencing for animal cruelty does not exceed six months, how does that make you feel? How does reading a story about animal cruelty make you feel? I am willing to guess, hurt, angry, confused; and may even emotionally numb. Thinking about the injustice leaves us feeling wanting to help but if we continue
Animal Cruelty Reminds Us of Bulling and Feeling Vulnerable
In many ways stories about animal abuse, animal cruelty, reminds us of a time being bullied or it brings up feelings of when we felt helpless. In many ways it reminds us of a time when were vulnerable or helpless; a story about animal abuse reminds us about a time when we did not have a voice.
Giving a Voice to an Animal in Need
What can one lone person do to have a voice and to give their voice to an animal in need? There is one thing each one of us can do and it is supporting animal abuse register. Supporting animal abuse register will do two things. First it will put the names of those who are convicted of animal cruelty on a register. By being placed on the register it will mean pet shops and breeders will have to do a search before a pet can be sold. Those who appear on the register will not be allowed to purchase and those who are trying to obtain a pet for someone who is on the register can face prosecution under the Fraud Act 2006. Since the person will be on the register it will mean any employment check will need to include a check against the animal abuse register and if on the register then it will be up to the employer to make the decision. Last point, having the register will mean reporting can be done and it can be used for identifying families at risk.
Second, the register will lead to modification of the Animal Welfare 2006 to include tougher sentencing. There are some who feel tougher sentencing creates a warehouse where people learn to become better criminals. Society needs to be protected, especially from those who abuse animals. There is a link between animal abuse the more serious crimes. This does not mean everyone who abuses an animal will bully or commit violent crimes against another human. Nonetheless, the link does establish the need to protect society. Furthermore tougher sentences acts as a deterrent and for some, a longer sentence means the prison can provide them the support they require. Also it can mean if the offender is a juvenile then the family can be identified, monitored, and provided the support they need.
Vision for Register
Next, what does an animal abuse register look like? The attached document (click link), provides a description of the register, how it will operate, and a cost / benefit analysis. As we are getting this site up, more information can be found on our Facebook site. To answer the question, how to make a brighter tomorrow for you dog? Answer is simple support the animal abuse register to help end animal cruelty and make Britain a safe place.
What You Can Do Today
Finally what can you do? You can make a donation by clicking the donate button on this site, continue visiting this or visit our Facebook page.