I am lucky. Over the last 18 months I get the opportunity to meet some amazing people and hear their animal abuse register vision. Occasionally, someone on my Justice for Chunky Facebook site will share the views with me their animal abuse register vision. Furthermore, from speaking with people who support my campaign there seems to be agreement on the need for longer sentences. However almost no one will state what the register should contain or how the register operates. This is fine because the idea is simple but the issues behind having an animal abuse register are complex.
Nonetheless, I like to reach out to others to hear their views because the best animal abuse register will be the one in which there is engagement. The important thing is that you do not need to understand all of the issues. Instead the important point is having an opinion that you want to share. Therefore, I am looking to hear your opinion, your thoughts, and your animal abuse register vision. My question to you if you are given the opportunity to design an animal abuse register:
What will it include?
Length of of sentence
Your definition of animal. What will the register cover (pets, all animals, domesticated, something else)
Will the register be public or private?
Can employers use it for employment checks?
How long will someone be on the register? Can they ever come off of it?
Last question, how will you fund the register? (taxes, fees, fines, use your imagination)
Finally, have fun with the idea. Think about it and use the below form to share you thoughts with me.
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 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.
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.
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:
Keeping us healthy by keeping us active
Working for the police
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.
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.
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.
Visit and Contact US
Further information please visit our Facebook page. Any further questions about the animal abuse register please contact us: