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.

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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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What Tikkun olam Can Teach Us about Uniting Britain Through the Animal Abuse Register

justice for chunky logo
Tikkun olam. Endless possibilities photo By John Desjarlais from Pasadena, USA (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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

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

winter sunrise
Winter sunrise UK

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.