Why is it proving so hard to tackle industrial-scale animal cruelty, despite public revulsion?
What do all these types of animal cruelty in the UK have in common?
- The badger cull
- Feeble sentences for animal cruelty crimes
- Animal circuses, zoos & aquariums
- Hunting, shooting & raptor persecution
- ‘Exotic’ pets & puppy mills
- Animal experiments
- Shocking abuse in abattoirs
- Factory farming
- The fur trade
- The illegal trade in animal parts
The list goes on and on…..
The simple answer is that they flourish because the UK Government systematically dismisses animal welfare as an unwelcome hindrance to the powerful industries that harm animals. This goes beyond any specific politicians or parties – it is a deep-rooted situation that severely limits how much the animal protection movement can achieve.
Until now, animal organisations have largely overlooked this absolutely vital area of systemic government indifference to animals. Instead, they have focussed on tactics such as encouraging the public to change their behaviour, campaigning for industry to modify its treatment of animals or trying to lobby an indifferent government against specific forms of cruelty. These approaches do have a role and occasionally achieve impact on the margins. But real and lasting improvements require deeper reform at the heart of government to secure their protection in law, so that animals are not left vulnerable to the whims of market forces and individual choice.
It is essential that animal advocates develop their approach to start seriously tackling this underlying cause of animal abuse, otherwise the plight of animals will not be alleviated – as we can see right now in the list above. Lots of time, energy and money is being expended for frustratingly little progress.