Warning: 5 Stereotypes Hurting Animal Abuse Register Movement

dog at train station
maxine and chunky
Maxine Meeting Chunky

Does Stereotypes Still Exist in 2017?

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.

dog roaming
dog roaming free.

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.

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My Supporters

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.

Liverpool Albert Docks Sunrise
Liverpool Albert Docks at sunrise

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:

  • IT software
  • IT hardware
  • People
  • Vehicles
  • Petrol
  • Maintenance of vehicles
  • Website design
  • Website maintenance
  • Training / support
  • Customer Support
  • Enforcement
  • Other expenses

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.

Moving Forward

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.

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The Zen of Understanding the Animal Abuse Register and the Work of Maxine Berry

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The Zen of Understanding the Animal Abuse Register and the Work of Maxine Berry

 

justice for chunky logo
justice for chnnky logo

Overview:

We have just completed the third phase of Justice for Chunky campaign by having the Green Party make the animal abuse register policy Nonetheless Brighter Tomorrow remains committed in having a register that will operate, like sex offender register, it will record individuals convicted of abusing animals and prevent them from owning animals. By having a register, it will keep those convicted from working with animals, owning animals, and prevent them working with vulnerable people.

Why is an animal abuse register necessary?

Mahatma Ghandi said, A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members. As a society we need to protect society’s most vulnerable from abuse. Those who abuse animals are more likely to abuse people. By having an animal abuse register it will identify and prevent those who are likely to do harm from being in contact with the most vulnerable. This will lead to a lower incidences of animal abuse in this country and help lower violent crimes against people.

Before placing an individual on the register will an attempt be made to rehabilitate them?

At Brighter Tomorrow, we believe every legally competent adult is responsible for the choice they make and regardless of their background, they should be held accountable for their actions. It is our belief, as society we should have a zero-tolerance towards any form of animal abuse and do not believe a “second chance” approach is justified. Nonetheless, we believe where appropriate and where the individual’s needs meet the objective of a rehabilitation program, they should receive support to improve their life. This means any rehabilitation is done while the individual is on the register instead of in lieu of the register.

Will this campaign push for tougher sentencing of those who abuse animals?

We believe the laws around animal abuse are too lax, especially the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and encourage our supporters to write their MPs to push for tougher sentences for those who abuse animals. As discussions occur about how the register will operate and how to identify individuals who will be placed on the register, it is possible some laws may need to be changed. However, at this stage, asking for tougher sentences is not a part of our vision for the register.

 

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

How long will it take before the animal abuse registry becomes law?

We are following a process and it is difficult, at this stage, to predict. The more support we get and the more MPs are contacted the swifter this will become law.

Will Chunky still be a part of the campaign?

As we get updates about Chunky we will post them on Facebook and we will never forget Chunky. However, this campaign is bigger than one animal and it is about protecting all animals. So, yes Chunky will be a part of this campaign but he will not be the only focus.

Can I still sign the Justice for Chunky Petition?

Yes, you can sign it by clicking on the link.

Do you have a Facebook Page?

Yes we do, click on the link.

How is your Facebook Page, Justice for Chunky and Brighter Tomorrow are related?

Justice for Chunky page relates to the campaign. We also have a Brighter Tomorrow page on Facebook Brighter Tomorrow is about our fund raising for the campaign and items we sell from time-to-time. They are the same but two separate components

How do I donate?

We are a business, company number 10721118, created to raise money for the animal abuse register and if you click the Donate button at the bottom of the page you can contribute via PayPal.

Liverpool Albert Docks Sunrise
Liverpool Albert Docks at sunrise

Can I have your contact details?

If you represent a media company, please email us by clicking this link. who will help you get in contact with us.

Can you please help me set-up or run my campaign?

We love having support and those who want to help our cause. Likewise, we love to help those to set-up and run their own campaign. Since we have limited time to help we do charge a small fee for our time. Please click this link and let us know more about your needs.

I have a similar campaign, cause, event or charity that wants you support. Will you help us?

Please email us by clicking this link. When contacting us please include, at a minimum, the following information:

  • Your cause
  • Contact Information including website and email address
  • Information about the cause, campaign, event, or charity
  • When it will occur / How long we will be needed
  • How we can help
  • Amount of time required

Once we have the information, we will review it and contact you with any further questions.

How can I support you?

Currently, the best way to help is to write you MP or write to the editor of your local paper advocating an animal abuse register. Other ways include using your twitter account to tweet your support for our campaign and by following us on Facebook. Finally click the donate button at the bottom of this page.

Related Articles:

How Can Updating the Animal Welfare Act 2006 Make Britain Safer?
Tikkun Olam: Making Britain Safer Through the Animal Abuse Register
5 Things the Animal Abuse Register Will Immediately Do for the UK
Why Does Britain Need the Animal Abuse Register
How to Make a Brighter Tomorrow for Your Dog: Supporting the Animal Abuse Register
30 Things You Can Do Right Now to Show Your Support for the Animal Abuse Register
Tennessee Animal Abuse Register Model, Why It is the Right Model for Britain?

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