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:
|Arizona||C. R. S. A. § 15-11-901||Not 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 ill||https://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||1989||Animals (e.g. family pet) included in definition of domestic abuse||https://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||1994||Creation 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 pet||https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ia-domestic-violence-chapter-236-domestic-abuse|
|Iowa||IA ST § 717B.1 – 717E.3||Not Available||Similar 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 Available||Law 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 Available||Similar to Indiana’s law that defines criminal penalties for injuring a service dog and provides owner of a service dog further legal protection||https://www.animallaw.info/statute/la-assistance-animal-assistance-animalguide-dog-laws#s1955|
|Lousiana||LSA-R.S. 46:2135||1982||Law 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.
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.