Warning: Brexit Will Impact The Animal Abuse Register

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Warning: Brexit Will Impact The Animal Abuse Register

Since  David Cameron announced the EU referendum on leaving the EU, the topic of Brexit dominates the media. After the referendum and now with formal talks to leave the EU starting, It is impossible to escape hearing something about Brexit. Any other topic relating to Brexit or any other newsworthy topic does not get the attention it deserves. The focus on Brexit leaves a large vacuum on other important topics like Brexit impact on animal welfare and the potential impact of Brexit on the animal abuse register

In the article, I am going to cover three issues: Why the lack coverage, possible impact on the animal abuse register and what the future can hold for the animal abuse register.

What Impact Will Brexit Have On Animal Welfare

As I understand it, EU regulations regarding animal welfare only cover transporting of animals within the EU. This means farm animals, not domestic or wild and animals used for testing are primarily covered by EU legislation. This means unless the animal is being used to test cosmetics or is a farm animal then most likely EU regulations do not apply.

Brexit Potential Impact

Currently, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the court of last hope that will take appeals from the UK Supreme Court and Europen Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will rule on any matter regarding human rights issues. In a post-Brexit world, there are plans to streamline this by making the UK Supreme Court the final authority.

Post-Brexit Animal Abuse Register

I have extensively written regarding my vision for the animal abuse register and I have written a few position papers on various issues relating to the animal abuse register. For the sake of brevity I will not cover them here and if you want to read them then click on the above links.

When I look at the work various states in the United States have done on the animal abuse register and animal rights laws, especially companion animals, I am dismayed at how far behind the United Kingdom is on this topic. Below are a few examples where the United Kingdom lags:

 

StateStatuteDate AdoptedDescriptionlink
ArizonaC. R. S. A. § 15-11-901Not available Requiring Pet Stores to provide vertrinarian certificate of health at time of sale and allows customer to return pet within 2 weeks if animal is illhttps://www.animallaw.info/statute/az-pet-sales-title-44-trade-and-commerce-chapter-11-regulations-concerning-particular
 Colorado C. R. S. A. § 18-6-800.3  1989Animals (e.g. family pet) included in definition of domestic abusehttps://www.animallaw.info/statute/co-domestic-violence-animals-and-domestic-violence-definition
 Colorado  C. R. S. A. § 35-80-101 – 117  1994 Regulating the sale of animals and ensuring no animal under 8 weeks is sold. Failure to comply can result in criminal charges https://www.animallaw.info/statute/co-pet-shop-article-80-pet-animal-care-and-facilities-act
 Colorado C. R. S. A. § 15-11-901 1994Creation of a trust for animals for the care of animals and their offspring for up to 21 years after the owner dies.https://www.animallaw.info/statute/co-trusts-pets-article-11-intestate-succession-and-wills
 Iowa  IA ST §§ 236.3, 236.4, 236.5  1979 Allows a judge to issue an order against a domestic abuser to stay away from family pethttps://www.animallaw.info/statute/ia-domestic-violence-chapter-236-domestic-abuse 
 Iowa  IA ST § 717B.1 – 717E.3  Not AvailableSimilar law to Tennessee. Iowa provides a definition of animal but includes exclusions for livestock, fish, animals raised for fur, and other exclusions. Finally, law provides various criminal penalties depending on the offence https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ia-cruelty-injury-animals-other-livestock
 Indiana  IN ST 9-21-17-21; 16-32-3-1 – 5; 22-9-6-5; 22-9-5-9.5; 22-9-5-20; 35-31.5-2-295; 35-46-3-11.5; 3-11-9-5  Not AvailableLaw defines service animal and provide for criminal charges for anyone who harms a service animal. In addition, this provides further legal protection for those who use service animals.https://www.animallaw.info/statute/assistance-animal-assistance-animalguide-dog-laws#s35_46_3_11_5
 Lousiana  LSA-R.S 46:1951 – 1959; LA R.S. 21:52; LA R.S. 32:217; LA R.S. 14:39  Not AvailableSimilar to Indiana’s law that defines criminal penalties for injuring a service dog and provides owner of a service dog further legal protectionhttps://www.animallaw.info/statute/la-assistance-animal-assistance-animalguide-dog-laws#s1955
 Lousiana LSA-R.S. 46:2135 1982Law allows issuing of a restraining order for domestic violence to protect animals from abuse.https://www.animallaw.info/statute/la-domestic-violence-chapter-28-protection-family-violence-act

The above table is just a sample of laws states have implemented to further protect animals from cruelty and the sample demonstrates the United Kingdom is lacking. Furthermore, Michigan State University has a marvelous resource on animal laws in the world.

Analysis

I believe all animals need to be protected from abuse and cruelty. Nonetheless, I am a realist and realise animals such as dogs play a vital role in our daily lives. A dog, for example, works with the police, the military, as a service dog and a pet. Now when you compare a dog to a pigeon what is more vital for society to function. Granted, both have a vital function in our lives. However, I believe animals that have a role to help us function and to protect us should receive more protection. Brexit will not greatly impact animal welfare laws and I do not believe Brexit will kill the push towards the animal abuse register.  Instead, I believe Brexit does open the opportunity for the United Kingdom to expand on animal welfare. In particular, the United Kingdom can begin exploring defining

When I look at the issue of Brexit I do not believe it will not greatly impact animal welfare laws and I do not believe Brexit will kill the push towards the animal abuse register.  Instead, I believe Brexit does open the opportunity for the United Kingdom to expand on animal welfare. In particular, the United Kingdom can begin exploring defining

In particular, Brexit can allow the United Kingdom can begin exploring defining an animal as it relates to service and defining criminal charges based on crime and definition instead of a “one size fits all” approach. I believe a “one size fits all,” approach makes it more difficult to allocate limited resources and it makes it difficult to put in place deterrents to prevent animal cruelty.  The best approach I believe is defining animal-based on function and base sentencing on function along with the severity of the crime and intent is a better approach. By leaving the EU, the ECHR, and ECJ I believe it will make it easier for the government to expand on animal welfare laws by offering more protection without the of the added expense and the added time (usually in years) of going to the European courts.

I believe the two quickest wins can be including protection for the family pet in domestic violence cases and providing service animals, like seeing eye dogs, further protection. This protection can include harsher sentences for anyone who harms a service animal and strengthening protection under the Equality Act.

So, do I fear Brexit? No. Instead of seeing the possibilities Brexit can provide, especially if this government keeps its promises about leaving ECJ and ECHR. Finally, I see Brexit may make it easier for the animal abuse register to come to fruition and provide the protection all of the desire to protect our pets from cruelty.

 

 

 

Overcoming Roadblocks and Misconceptions: Journey to the Animal Abuse Register Maxine Berry Tireless Fight for Those Without a Voice

maxine and chunky
maxine and chunky
Maxine Meeting Chunky

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?

Maxine Berry Interview
Maxine Berry being interviewed before submitting justice for chunky petition to DEFRA

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.

Finally

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.

Comments / Contact Us

If you have questions about the work Maxine Berry is doing or want more information, please use the below form.

Related Articles:

Justice for Chunky Petition

House of Commons – Environmental, Food, and Rural Affairs, Animal Welfare in England: Domestic Pets

Tennessee Legislation for the Animal Abuse Register

States Legislating Some Form of Animal Abuse Register

Sex Offenders’ Register, Media, and Vigilantism Link?

Tikkun Olam: Uniting Britain Through the Animal Abuse Register

Making Britain Safer by Updating the Animal Welfare Act 2006

5 Things the Animal Abuse Register Will Immediately Provide for the United Kingdom

Political Parties That Support the Animal Abuse Register

Justice for Chunky Facebook Page

FAQs Regarding the Animal Abuse Register

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Why is the Tennessee model the best model for the UK Animal Abuse Register

remembering dogs that serve
dream
we all have a dream and ours is bringing an animal abuse register

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.

Whilst the House of Commons, Committee on Environmental, Food, and Rural Affairs, Animal Welfare in England: domestic pets on page 33 believes in the merits of the register but fears it may lead to vigilantism. This author believes the Public Order Act 1986 and other legislation is can address any issue of vigilantism. Plus if Parliament does feel the need, it can increase civil and criminal penalties for anyone who acts as a vigilante based on information contained in the register.

Correct statutory definition of animal

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.

UK sunrise

Longer Sentencing

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:

  • Alleviating stress
  • Keeping us healthy by keeping us active
  • Protecting us
    • Working for the police
    • Guarding us
    • 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.

Liverpool Albert Docks Sunrise
Liverpool Albert Docks at sunrise

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.

Conclusion

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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