Animals have been roaming this planet, long before mankind took over and showed authoritarian power. And for centuries, we have co-existed together, helping each other survive on this planet. However, the innocent living beings lack the ability to voice their concerns, so it is our responsibility to ensure that they receive the love, care and respect, that every living being deserves. For decades, many organizations have been voicing their concerns to bring changes to our laws to help and protect these four-legged friends. Here, we are listing some awesome laws enforced by jurisdictions, states and countries to protect the rights of animals.
1. California bans pet stores from selling dogs, cats, rabbits or any other animal, unless they came from a shelter.
As of January 1, 2019, California became the first state to ban retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits. Under this strict law, stores can now only sell such animals that come from a rescue organization. California also became the first and the only state to implement such strict new rules on pet stores. According to a spokesperson for the SD Humane Society, “It takes the emphasis off the profit of animals and puts the emphasis back on caring for and getting these cats and dogs a good home”. (source)
2. There are reverse zoos around the world where the people are kept in cages, while animals roam freely.
Zoos and wildlife parks around the world, such as the Orana Wildlife Park, have decided to turn the tables and put tourists in cages to view the wild animals. The park, which is located in Christchurch, New Zealand, aims to reduce stress on animals and allows them to live a normal life, just as they would in their natural habitat. Up to 20 visitors are placed in the back of a fully caged bus and then driven into the lion enclosure at feeding time. The keepers feed the lions from within the cage and the curious animals can be seen crawling, climbing and standing on the mesh cage, giving visitors a chance to watch them feed in their habitat.
According to ABC News, the human cage departs once daily at 2:30 p.m and tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis for the first 20 buyers. The cost is NZ30 (about $23 USD) and tickets can be pre-paid and reserved in advance. (source)
3. The FBI now considers animal abuse a Class A felony.
The year 2016 was a big win for animal rights activists and animals together since the FBI added animal cruelty to its list of Class A felonies. The agency is now monitoring them as it does other serious crimes and the data about such crimes is being entered into the National Incident-Based Reporting System or NIBRS, the public database the FBI uses to keep a record of national crimes.
This not only helps to stop animal abuse but also can help to identify people who might commit violent acts, according to the Christian Science Monitor. According to studies conducted on human psychology, nearly 70% of violent criminals began by abusing animals, so keeping such a record can help identify and track down people who are high-risk. (source)
4. In 2005, Costa Rica took the bold step to stop aquariums from keeping dolphins and whales in captivity.
Dolphins and whales are highly social animals. There are many reported cases where dolphins and whales have come to the aid of human beings. For instance, in 2004, a New Zealand man and his 15-year-old daughter were out swimming when they were surrounded by great whites. To their amazement, a pod of dolphins immediately surrounded them, acting as a barrier between them and the great whites, and swam along with them until they reached the shore.
In order to protect these animals and to stop them from being used in shows as subjects of entertainment, Costa Rica took the bold step of banning anyone from keeping them in captivity. The country also placed a ban on swimming with them. This law also applies to scientists or researchers who conduct studies on these animals. (source 1, 2)
5. Great Britain is getting ready to ban the use of electric collars for pets.
Electric collars are extremely popular around the world. The device is used mainly to train pets to keep them within a certain radius. If they wander even an inch further off the set limit, the device sends up to 6,000 volts of electricity or is capable of spraying noxious chemicals to control the animal’s behavior. While it’s important to have a well behaved pet, they should be trained in a calm and loving manner. Great Britain as well as Wales and Scotland are taking necessary steps to put an end towards such devices being used.
According to Dr. Rachel Casey, director of canine behavior and research at the Dogs Trust; “Scientific research has demonstrated that electronic devices which deliver an aversive stimulus have a negative impact on dog welfare, so this ban will have a major positive impact for dogs in the UK”. (source)
6. In Italy, people are fined if they abandon their pets. In serious cases where their actions caused harm to the animal, the person can be subjected to a fine of up to €10,000 and one year behind bars.
It is estimated that every year in Italy, an estimated 300,000 dogs and cats are abandoned in the streets or parks. The causes range from the ban on bringing animals to hotels, restaurants and other public places, to the high costs of paying for someone to look after the pets while the owners are away. As the numbers were steadily rising, the government decided to step in and place a strict law. According to Article 727 of the Penal Code: “Anyone who abandon pets or they have acquired habits of captivity is punished with ‘ imprisonment for up to one year or with the’ fine from 1,000 to 10,000 euro. The same punishment will be given to anyone who owns animals in conditions incompatible with their nature, and productive of misfortune “. (source)
7. San Francisco became the largest U.S. city to ban the sale of fur.
In late 2018, San Francisco supervisors voted unanimously to ban the sale of fur, to become the largest U.S. city to approve the prohibition. The ban took effect on January 1, 2019, and the law applies to apparel and accessories featuring real fur, including coats, key chains and gloves. While animal advocates around the world are applauding the decision, USA Today reports that around 50 clothing and accessory retailers downtown will be affected by the legislation. (source)
8. Europe and California prohibits beauty products from being tested on animals.
In 2013, the European Union voted to prohibit cosmetics manufacturers from testing their products on animals such as rabbits. In 2019, California joined the prohibition and became the first state in the US to limit tests from being carried out on animals. The state legislature passed a bill that makes the sale of animal-tested cosmetics illegal within the state after 2020. California is known for its animal rights activism. In 2000, the state outlawed animal testing when appropriate alternatives were available, and in 2014, it passed the Cruelty Free Cosmetics Resolution, which urged Congress to prohibit animal testing for cosmetics. (source)
9. India frees elephants from zoos and circuses and they will no longer be allowed to keep elephants for entertainment purposes.
In 2009, the Indian government took stern action against zoos and circuses, preventing them from keeping elephants in captivity. The directive sent by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) says zoos and circuses are “not the best places for the large animals” which “require a large area to move about freely”. Instead of being kept in captivity and used for entertainment purposes, the elephants were forced to be handed over to sanctuaries and national parks where they have a wide area to move freely. However, the law does not affect thousands of elephants that are kept captive in temples all across India. (source)
10. In Lithuania, there’s a Tinder app for dogs called GetPet. The app allows shelters to find new adoptees from nearby towns.
Inspired by the app, Tinder, animal lovers in Lithuania have created a mobile application called GetPet, that allows you to swipe right, if the pooch you see melts your heart. The app was launched in January of 2019 and is basically like Tinder, but for dogs. Users of the app can see profiles of furry four-legged creatures as well as the information about the pup such as age, breed and so on. Swiping right matches you with the pup, while swiping left brings another dog’s profile. According to reports, the app has been extremely successful since it promotes adoption from local shelters. (source)