Laws on domestic cat breeds wild cat species and animal rights law enforcement

Savannah cat
Savannah cat – Motzie – lives in Oklahoma
photo copyright Helmi Flick

Intro

This lengthy mouthful of a title, Laws on domestic cat breeds wild cat species and animal rights law enforcement, shows that the intention of this page is to provide something comprehensive. It will take time to achieve that. The links to other pages are therefore growing slowly. This is the start, please note (at 22-10-08). Taking a broad brush approach there are three main headings in relation to cats and the law:

I will be covering these various aspects of the law with regard to as many countries that I can. At the outset I am concentrating mainly on criminal law issues and the protection of wild cat species. It is important to remember that the law is constantly evolving. What is correct today is history tomorrow. This makes accuracy difficult. A good example is the mini surge, late 2009, when 8 cities in California banned the declawing of cats. This is was forced upon local legislators because veterinarians refused to act responsibly in curbing their desire for profit over cats’ welfare.

Laws can change behavior. The laws or lack of them in a country, in relation to cats and animals, reflect very accurately the status quo of the country’s attitude towards the cat, the wild cat and animals generally. It tells us what people think of the domestic cat and wild cats and their place in society and that tells us a bit about the society of that country as a whole. It may be surprising to know that there are laws (albeit few and far between) that relate to specific cat breeds. There are certainly laws that relate to mixed-breed cats and specific wild cat species.

An example is the banning of the importation of the Savannah cat into Australia. See also the legalities of owning a Savannah cat in the USA. However, the umbrella animal rights laws or laws relating to animals will obviously include cats, whether they are purebred pedigree cats or not. The links on specific cases (see below) go mainly to posts on my Blogger site, a sub-domain. Each post concerns an aspect of law in relation to a cat. Where relevant, in the posts, a reference to the requisite legislation is made by way of a link.

In the UK the Crown has waived its copyright for UK legislation. This means that I can reproduce it provided I comply with the conditions, which I have. I have, in general, carried this concept through to reproducing the relevant laws of other countries. An important note in respect of criminal law and the cat is that animal abuse precedes human abuse. A person who abuses and hurts an animal probably needs counseling and/or educating. This makes animal welfare law very important. It deals with the early signs of criminality and can identify it. In some states of America a counseling order can accompany a conviction as a proactive measure.

Apparently, one of the first animal welfare laws to be enacted was in the UK: Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act 1822. It was called the Martin’s Act after the Member of Parliament Richard Martin who was instrumental is the creation of the Act. It may have been the first. The RSCPCA say it was the first ever animal welfare legislation.

Cases – events – claims – compensation – thoughts – ideas……..

Most of these links open in new windows, please note

World

UK

USA

Myanmar – Burma

Canada

Philippines

Australia

India

UK

Initially, I am dealing with criminal law issues. The major criminal legislation is the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the Act) (selected sections are reproduced). This Act has consolidated a lot of earlier legislation. This legislation applies in England and Wales. The equivalent legislation in Scotland is the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. The purpose of this legislation is to both promote the welfare of animals and to punish when there is cruelty towards them. The Act applies to “a vertebrate other than man” and therefore includes domestic and feral cats.

An important part of the Act is section 9 which requires that a person responsible for a cat must ensure that the cat’s needs are met. This sets a standard and the steps that need to be taken to meet this standard (the legal duty of care demanded) are set out in a Code of Practice for the Welfare of Cats prepared by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). This is a very helpful document and the concept behind it is enlightened.

The law is not only about punishing criminals (reactive) but promoting change in our behavior to reduce crime (proactive). See UK Code of Practice for the Welfare of Catsfor lots more on this important aspect of the UK animal welfare legislation. Other UK legislation in relation to animals is listed below. This is a far from comprehensive list. Some of these Acts are pure civil law Acts that apply equally to inanimate objects and cats as the law treats cats as chattels (objects):

  • Protection of Animals Act 1911
  • Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1911-64
  • Animals (Cruel Poisons) Act 1962
  • Protection of Animals (Anesthetics) Act 1965/64
  • Abandonment of Animals Act 1960
  • Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • Animals Act 1971
  • Theft Act 1968
  • Sale of Goods Act 1979
  • Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982
  • Sales Description Act 1968/72
  • Various EEC Directives and Regulations
  • The Hunting Act 2004
  • The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986
  • The Animal Welfare Act 2006 referred to above. This is an important piece of legislation that leads the world.

To follow: civil law issues and wild species protection……………..

Update 30-10-08: Are there laws on cat fouling? The simple answer is No. On the face of it, it might constitute a trespass or a nuisance under the laws of tort if it happened in your garden by the next door neighbors cat, but an action under these heads would fail. There are no laws in relation to cats fouling the footpath.

Update 16-11-08: If you wish keep what is considered to be a dangerous wild animal in the UK, a licence is required. The license is granted on application by the local authority. The application must specify the animal(s), the premises and accompany a fee. The relevant legislation is Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. The Act protects both the animal and the public.

As to wildcats that fall under the ambit of the Act, these are listed in the schedule under carnivores: Felidae, except the species Felis catus (the domestic cat)…The bobcat, caracal, cheetah, jaguar, lion, lynx (see Iberian Lynx), ocelot (see ocelot habitat, Ocelot kitten), puma (cougar), serval, tiger and all other cats (the domestic cat is excepted). The following link goes into this further:

Keeping Wildcat Hybrids in the UK

The law on keeping both wild cats and hybrids is discussed on this page. The relevant law is also published. A visitor describes her experiences of Owning An Amazing Serval In The UK.

Servals are treated as domestic cats by some people in the United States. They are the wild ancestor of the hybrid domestic cat, the Savannah cat. It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with the terms of the Act. Contact your local authority for details.

What about declawing cats for the cat owner’s convenience? This is allowed in the USA (except for some cities in California (as at Nov. 2009). But in England, Wales and Scotland it is not lawful to declaw cats for non-therapeutic purposes. Please see Cat Declawing in England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Update 20-3-09: Some civil law stuff: How To Sue on a Cat Contract

If you have bought or sold a cat and it goes wrong, what should you do? The most important stage is the beginning, deciding whether to start proceedings or not or, indeed, negotiating a settlement. If you can’t fix it you may have to sue on the contract. Here are some thoughts on that. This deals with UK and USA proceedings.

What does the law say about cat fouling? There are no laws regarding cats and fouling in the UK (2010). The cat caretaker is not held to be responsible for the consequences of their cat trespassing (Buckle v. Holmes [1926] 2 K.B. 125). It is a criminal offence to put down poison or set snares for a cat1.
Update 6th July 2010: reinforcing the points made earlier. Stealing a cat can put you in prison.

Austria

Austria is in the European Union, which pretty well dictates how its animal welfare law will look. All European Union countries comply (or should do!) with EU directives (EU law). The idea is unification and setting standards. Accordingly, Austrian animal welfare legislation is good. It was probably as good before it joined the EU, in fact.

A couple of things stand out. It is precise and comprehensive. Its penalties are lower than in the UK, which I don’t like, but it specifies the banning of declawing and devocalisation for non-therapeutic purposes (USA please note), which does please me no end. And there are provisions that are excellent such as the need to provide first aid to an animal if we have caused the situation under which first aid is required. Breeders too are under an obligation to do the obvious (not jeopardise the health of the animals), which through their desire to achieve artifical goals is often ignored (see selective cat breeding). It is nice legislation. See lots more commentary and major aspects of the legislation, verbatim: Austria-Federal Act on the Protection of Animals.

USA

The laws of the United States are similar to those of the United Kingdom, unsurprisingly, as they were initially imported from the UK with the first settlers. Of course, each of the states enacts its own laws concerning animal welfare. There is considerable disparity between the 50 states. 45 of the 50 states make animal cruelty a felony, a serious crime. Animal welfare law is criminal law. The similarity to UK animal protection laws can be seen in Californian legislation, for example. The penalty is a maximum fine of $20,000 and/or imprisonment of 1-3 years.In the UK it is a maximum fine of £20,000 and imprisonment not exceeding 51 weeks (see Act). These figures are at Oct. 2008. They will no doubt change in time.

There appears to be a gradual awareness of the need for strong animal welfare legislation in the United States. A number of states recognize the importance of counseling offenders on the basis that animal abuse is a precursor to other criminality. It is probable that mental health issues accompany animal abuse as it is senseless violence against the vulnerable. One major difference between the USA and UK is that there are still some large wild animals including cats in the USA that require protection.

The USA is the place where people like to own wild cats. Adopting a serval in New York state might help. Or keeping a wild cat hybrid in New York is also disallowed. A visitors wants to keep a wildcat hybrid and asks some questions as the law on keeping wildcat hybrids varies from state to state. I know of four states that ban them (April 2011 – things change): Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York. The bans may depend on the cat’s generation from the wild. F5 Savannah cats can be called true domestic cats. In NY state 5 generations from the wild are allowed. There is a general and slight trend towards banning and restrictions in the USA as time passes.

Another very interesting development forced upon the local legislation bodies (city councils) is making law to ban the declawing of cats by veterinarians. This is something that is a long time coming. I have a page on declawing cats and many posts and comments from visitors about this malpractice. Go to a state by state listing of animal welfare legislation in the United States: Cat cruelty laws USA. How To Sue on a Cat Contract deals with breach of contract and civil proceedings and breach of contract in outline. The law governing the welfare of animals involved in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers is the Animal Welfare Act 1966 [link – opens in new window] as amended (most recently in 2007). Rats and mice are not covered under the Animal Welfare Act. The Act demands that alternatives to animals are used if the procedure is painful. For instance, under section 2.33 (Attending veterinarian and adequate veterinary care)..”Each research facility shall have an attending veterinarian who shall provide adequate veterinary care to its animals in compliance….”

Update April 2010:Well, a lot has happened since I last visited this page. I am talking about bans on declawing in California. This is a state of the United States that is not typical of the rest, I am told. I am not sure how true that is. But, for sure, in one respect they are atypical. In 8 cities they have banned declawing.

City When Banned Voting Pop. of City
West Hollywood 2003 5/0 35,000
Santa Monica 27/10/2009 6/1 100,000
San Francisco 3/11/2009 9/2 810,000
Beverly Hills 5/11/2009 5/0 40,000
Los Angeles 6/11/2009 11/0 4 million
Berkeley 10/11/2009 9/0 125,000
Culver City 24/11/2009 5/0 39,000
Burbank 08/12/2009 4/1 100,000

And a bill has been introduced by an Assemblyman, Pedro Nava to prevent landlords in California from stipulating that only declawed cats are allowed in rented property (see the article). This may be the beginning of a state wide law banning declawing in California one day. It will take time. This bill is meant to be the thin edge of a wedge.

Update: I say that the declawing of cats actually breaks the existing criminal law of the USA but no one prosecutes because it is carried out by consent of the owner of the cat. See: Cat declaw breaks the criminal law.

Update July 2010: A post by Elisa: Ohio is Tired of Animal Cruelty.

Update August 2011: Cats and Tort (civil wrong). Can a house guest sue a cat “owner” if their cat scratches or bites the guest? It would seem that it depends on two factors (a) the injured person must prove in court that the cat was dangerous, posing a risk to people and (b) that the owners had prior knowledge of the cat’s “harmful propensities” (Clark v. Brings 169 N.W.2d 407 (Mn. 1969)). A cat owner is not responsible for the trespassing of his or her cat (McDonald v. Jodrey 8 Pa. C.C. 142 (Pa. Com. Pl. 1890)). This can lead to retaliatory killing of the cat by the owner of the trespassed property.

Updates: Aug 2014:

India

Well, what can I say? India is more than an emerging nation. It is approaching the status of super power (at 2008). It is a large country with a good level of education and ambition. It is gradually embracing western ideas. But, and this is a big but, in regards to the domestic cat, there is nothing (see below though). It seems that the vast majority (almost universal) of people consider the domestic cat as an animal to be avoided because the cat brings bad luck, is not useful (in terms of a work animal) or there are superstitious connotations. See Cat Lovers in India.

However, Indians have a long and fruitful relationship with work animals. Update 2011: Things are changing it seems. There are now purebred cat breeders and the Persian and Siamese are sold online. There is a shift and expansion in the purebred cat world towards the east. Both Indians and Chinese will like to adopt a quality purebred cat, usually one of the well established breeds. Maneka Gandhi one of the authors of “Animal Laws of India” (published 2006), says that when the people of India are informed of the laws governing animal welfare they embrace them. The problem would seem to be one of education and commitment.

As regards wild animal species Indians show greater interest but are unable to convert interest to effective action. See India Project Tiger and the plight of the Bengal tiger (the Bengal tiger also inhabits Bangladesh (Sunderbans) a different but closely associated and neighboring country – see Bangladesh animal welfare law). However, India has good legislation and the central Act for the protection of animals in India is The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. The Act extends to all India except Kashmir and the State of Jammu. The Act concerns all living creature other than human beings. It includes captive and domestic animals and by implication therefore the domestic cat.

At the very start of the Act at clause 3 it states, “It shall be the duty of every person having the care or charge of any animal to take all reasonable measures to ensure the well-being of such animal and to prevent the infliction upon such animal of unnecessary pain or suffering.” The above Act is supported by the Indian constitution, which states, “It shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the Natural Environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife,and to have compassion for all living creatures.” The Animal Welfare Board of India was set up pursuant to the requirements of the Act. It is a world first apparently.

One of its central roles is to review animal welfare law and suggest improvements. The law is good in India but how effective is it? Are the enforcers, the police, the magistrates etc. fully aware of the law and prepared to enforce it? Without enforcement the law is almost nothing. Most Indians are Hindus and the doctrine of ahimsa means Hindus generally treat animals well. There is an enormous population in most of India’s cities but Kamal Nath and the Urban Ministry have taken steps to make sure all Indian laws are strictly enforced.

Region Hindus Total % Hindus
India 827,578,868 1,028,610,328 99.34%

{the above table at 2008 – (src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version – see Wikipedia® licensing below).

See selected (to be expanded) sections of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960: Cat and animal protection laws in India

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As regards wild animals there is a comprehensive and extensive Act (50 or more pages) dealing with their protection. It is called The Wildlife Protection Act 1972. It has effect in the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Act was introduced as there was at that time (and still is?) a concerning rapid decline of wild animals in India. Some animals had become extinct. Animals are still becoming extinct in India. My area of concern, the wildcats, is one example.

The tiger is known to be heading for extinction in the wild (endangered under IUCN Red List) and, for example, the Clouded Leopard is vulnerable (see IUCN Red List for cats) {these are as at Nov. 2008). The authorities in India struggle to curb poaching. There is some corruption, I suggest, that limits effective administration. The Wildlife Protection Act 1972 covers many areas including hunting and prohibits hunting. Under section 9, “no person shall hunt any wild animal specified in Schedules I, II, III, IV except as provided under section 11 and section 12″. Sections 11 and 12 broadly allow hunting when permitted by the Chief Warden and if in self-defence. These are fairly big loop-holes.

The following wildcats are listed in Schedule I:

Is it fair to kill a tiger in self-defense in India? Is is a reasonable or sensible legal defense to the crime of killing or injuring a tiger? See: Killing a tiger in self-defense in India (new window).

Myanmar – Burma

Why talk about the laws of Myanmar when there are many more important countries to mention in respect of animal and cat welfare? In terms of the survival of endangered wildlife they are big players. I am interested in Burma on two fronts. What their law looks like in respect of animal protection (if any) and their role under CITES. It is interesting and instructive to see what a country with a poor human rights record does in respect of legislation to protect animals.

Myanmar does have animal protection legislation. This is it: The State Law and Order Restoration Council – The Animal Health and Development Law (The State Law and Order Restoration Council Law No. 17/93) – The 12th Waxing Day of Tazaungmon, 1355 M.E. (25th November, 1993). Selected parts of the law can be seen here: Cat and Animal Protection Laws in Myanmar. Myanmar could have incorporated CITES into its own law but hasn’t. It would have made enforcement easier. As at Oct 2008, Myanmar is in breach of its obligations under CITES the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Myanmar is strategically situated in between Bangladesh, the major habitat of the Bengal tiger and China, the major consumer of tiger parts. Bearing in mind the dictatorship in Myanmar and the corruption it is no wonder that tiger parts and the parts of other CITES listed species are openly traded on the streets. There is a clear lack of will to enforce the country’s legal and moral obligations under the convention. It would seem that the only way to enforce the convention is for other ratifying nations to put international pressure on Myanmar. This is not happening it seems to me. Without enforcement CITES doesn’t work. April 2012: Burma is gradually becoming democratized it appears. If this is true and lasting animal welfare will benefit. Selected parts of CITES in relation to cats can be seen here: CITES in relation to cats. Also see IUCN Red List for cats.

Update: June 2012 – Myanmar is gradually becoming more open and democratic. This should improve animal welfare law over time.

Myanmar map

Red = Myanmar – published under Wikimedia® creative commons license license = Attribution-Share Alike License Rei-artur

Canada

Canada is made up of provinces (10) and territories (3). The provincial governments administer justice. The federal government writes the law. The provincial governments have the authority to “enact quasi criminal offences” (src: Wikipedia®). In practice it would seem that the provinces and territories frequently enact their own animal protections laws which sometimes go further and which when combined with the federal law make up the law. Where there is a operational conflict between the two, federal law takes precedence.

I would suspect that there will need to be a substantial conflict before challenging provincial law. The federal law in respect of cruelty to animals is in the general criminal code (Criminal Code ( R.S., 1985, c. C-46 )) and set out at PART XI : WILLFUL AND FORBIDDEN ACTS IN RESPECT OF CERTAIN PROPERTY – Cruelty to Animals. The relevant sections of the federal code are 445.1 to 447.1. Go to Cat Animal Cruelty Laws Canada – this is a gradually expanding page and includes both federal and provincial laws. The focus is on laws appertaining to cruelty to cats. There have been attempts by concerned people to tighten up and strengthen animal protection laws in Canada. This may have been achieved. However, I believe not. Some provinces and/or territories take a lax view on animal rights, it seems. This may be because of the nature of the country; low population and hunting being fairly commonplace. There is a disparity between the provinces.

Sweden

The two main parties in Sweden at 2008 would seem to be the Swedish Social Democratic Party (the oldest and largest in Sweden) and the Moderate Party. The laws of Sweden are socialist and moderate and very good in respect of animal welfare. I suspect the law is favorable to the vulnerable. Animal welfare law in Sweden is based on the principle that pets and farm animals should be able to behave as naturally as possible by living in an environment that is suited to the animal. There are tight controls on animal testing.

The European Union creates legislation such as regulations and directives that individual member states are obliged to incorporate into their law. This is referred to in the umbrella animal welfare legislation in Sweden, The Animal Welfare Act and The Animal Welfare Ordinance. The Ordinance supplements the Act and is concerned with farm livestock. I don’t know the date of enactment. The Animal Welfare Act incorporates the penal code in respect of animal cruelty. The law in respect of animal welfare in Sweden is very cleanly and clearly drafted. See selected extracts and links to The Animal Welfare Act and the penal code here: Cat Animal Cruelty Laws Sweden.

The European Connection

The European Union cannot be ignored when discussing animal welfare law in relation to individual states. The European Constitution contains a section on animal welfare (Article III-121). This is what it says:

In formulating and implementing the Union’s agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall,since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the requirements of animal welfare, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage.

As I understand it the European constitution is not yet in force. However, this would not be a issue in the founding members or early EU/EEC member states as they have strong legislation in place already. It is some of the new members that need pushing into creating better animal welfare law, such as Romania. Member states have an obligation to formulate laws that bring into effect EEC legislation. Some EEC member states have animal welfare written into their constitutions.

For example, Article 20a of the German constitution, the Basic Law and in Article 11 para. 1 on the Austrian Federal Constitution. Switzerland, although not a member of the EEC has the longest standing references to animal welfare in their constitution. All the more reason to ask why there have been allegations that Switzerland is the center of the fur trade in Europe. See cat fur Switzerland. It is alleged that cat fur is being shipped to China from Switzerland.

The European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals (effective May 1992) is a treaty entered into by member states of the EU and any other country who would wish to be bound by the terms of the treaty. A treaty is a form of contractual obligation between the signatories to ensure compliance with the terms of the treaty. In respect of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals the terms are a framework for promoting the welfare of pet animals and ensuring minimum standards of care over a wide range of issues. The parties to the treaty have an obligation to implement its terms. This will be achieved by the creation of primary and/or secondary legislation.

The UK Animal Welfare Act 2006 would seem to be based in the treaty. Member states can legislate for stricter and more wide ranging terms than as stated in the treaty if they wish. The treaty states the minimum terms. Romania would seem to be in breach of this treaty. What can be done? Not much frankly. An acceptance that the breach will be corrected slowly would seem to be the process. These are the member states to the The European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals as at Nov 2008:

Country Entry into force
Binding
Austria March 1, 2000
Azerbaijan
Belgium July 1, 1992
Bulgaria February 1, 2005
Cyprus July 1, 1994
Czech Republic March 24, 1999
Denmark May 1, 1993
Finland July 1, 1992
France May 1, 2004
Germany May 1, 1992
Greece November 1, 1992
Italy
Lithuania December 1, 2004
Luxembourg May 1, 1992
Netherlands
Norway May 1, 1992
Portugal January 1, 1994
Romania March 1, 2005
Sweden May 1, 1992
Switzerland June 1, 1994
Turkey June 1, 2004
Countries in italics do allow tail docking.

(src of above table: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version – see Wikipedia® licensing below) Update 21st January 2011: The eurocrats (European beaurocrats) decided in 2003 to ban animal testing in the cosmetics business. The ban was scheduled for 2009 and 2013 ( for marketing). Now they want to put the 2013 timetable back. Here is some detail: Animal Testing in Cosmetics.

Romania

Well, sadly I am unable to bring good news as at Oct 2008. Things will no doubt change in time. It’ll take too long, far too long for the feral cats and dogs and wildlife of Romania who are meant to be protected by Romanian animal welfare law but are not because of poor drafting of the law and the lack of enforcement. There are other issues such as a lack of education as to animal welfare at a grass roots level. There would also seem to be corruption at local government level and organized crime. Then there is the EU. Romania joined the EU/EEC in 2007. Some would argue that it happened too soon as there is continuing organized crime in Romania (at 2008).

The EU constitution in respect of animal welfare is not yet in force. Yet the EU could do more to push Romania in the right direction. Romania has a lot of catching up to do after a communist dictatorship and it will take time. There is rank cruelty and brutality against animals particularly stray dogs (and I presume cats). The purpose of allowing Romania to join the EU was to bring the country up to the standard of the EU for the benefit of Europe generally. Can someone in authority in Romania please prioritize animal welfare? One last controversial point. Dictatorships (communist or otherwise) are bad for animal welfare. Dictators are self interested alpha males. They are concerned about themselves and not others and that includes animals.

See: Cat Animal Cruelty Laws Romania for the law, comments and more. Romania were not ready to join the European Union (EU) but the politicians were desparate to expand the EU for their own ends. This will cost them dear. Their laws in respect of animal welfare and their enforcement fall short of the criteria for joining the EU. But who cares in the corridors of power in Strasbourg or Brussels?

Croatia

At October 2008, Croatia is not yet a member of the European Union but they applied in 2003. They would hope to join as I understand it in 2009 or 2010.

Update April 2011: Croatia expect to join in 2013-14. They will join because there is an underlying desire to expand the EU. Many people don’t iike the idea, however. The act of applying for EU/EEC membership should assist the animals of Croatia as prospective member states are required to demonstrate that they are able to become fully compliant with the EEC’s copious legislation that it is intended to unify Europe. That means the Croatian law in respect of animal welfare needs to be similar to the law of other established members of the EEC.

In preparation for that state of affairs applicants upgrade their laws. Will Croatia comply? Can they comply? And will the EU be strict about encuring tht Croatia does comply with EU animale welfare laws? Probably not. Croatia is gradually moving in the right direction but would seem to have a way to go. One issue is the need to change the attitudes of the people of Croatia towards animals. It is said that laws can change attitudes over time.

But at present, the attitudes of many Croatians, it seems, are rooted in the past and there is an underlying attitude towards animals that is not beneficial to their welfare (wrong? – comment here please – takes you to a blogger site). With corruption and organized crime widespread in Croatia at 2008, there is little prospect of laws being enforced efficiently. And unregulated hunting will no doubt be permitted well into the future. The corruption and crime is not, it seems, slowing down the process of becoming a member of the EU. On 1st January 2007 the Animal Protection Act 2006 came into force. See the Croatia Animal Protection Act plus some comment.

Philippines

It is not all bad in the Philippines regarding animal welfare. But extreme brutality against companion animals is, it seems, commonplace. Some people in this country like to eat dogs (and I presume cats). They maltreat dogs and cats. It is a business, the rounding up, brutalizing and killing of stray animals. Yet there is legislation at national and local government levels for the protection of animals and a wonderful animal welfare society – PAWS – The Philippine Animal Welfare Society. There is also the Palawan Animal Welfare Association doing good work in dealing with stray dogs humanely.

There are good things happening. But the government drags its feet in implementing the legislation and most importantly enforcing it. This is a familiar problem in countries with a long tradition of treating animals in a less than caring manner. It is a culture thing. Some people in the Philippines see animals to be used unsentimentally as if they have no emotions and feel no pain. They will treat them as inanimate objects.

It would seem that three major things need to happen. People need to be educated away from animal cruelty and the concept that companion animals are food. Companion animals are for companionship. Secondly the people who create the stray (feral) dog and cat problem must be punished and the law enforced generally. Thirdly the brutal killing of feral companion animals must stop and proper and progressive trap, neuter and release programs substituted. Killing does not solve the problem, it perpetuates it. Does the government of the Philippines want to solve the feral cat and dog problem? Or is business involved? See The Animal Welfare Act 1998, some local legislation and lots more comment: Philippines Cat Animal Welfare Protection. If you’d like to comment please go to this page: Cat and Dog Cruelty in the Philippines. Or if you’ve got time please read this section: Your Contribution.

Australia

The Commonwealth of Australia is a federation of states and territories. There are 6 states and 2 major mainland territories. The 6 states are: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. The two major mainland territories are: the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Each state or territory enacts its own animal welfare laws some of which is enlightened (if I am permitted to say that). Australia then is a country with advanced legislation in relation to animal welfare. The Commonwealth of Australia Parliament can override the legislation of the Territories but can only override State legislation under the terms of Section 51 of the Australian Constitution. The administration of animal welfare legislation in each state or territory is managed by the Ministers of Agriculture in each case. Under the terms of the respective Acts, enforcement of the law is in the hands of the state’s RSPCA, police and officers of the Department of Agriculture.

The RSPCA if founded on the British RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). In Australia the states’ respective RSPCAs are federated under RSPCA Australia. Australia is a very large, hot, low population country with a lot of feral cats. There is it seems a consensus in Australia that greater controls need to be put in place to better manage the feral cat and dog population caused by irresponsible ownership. It would seem that the state of Victoria is leading the way having enacted ( for me) enlightened legislation to better manage companion animal ownership. This happened as early as 1994. Accordingly, I have started with the state of Victoria. If you’d like to see selected sections of legislation in relation to animal welfare and protection in Victoria please click here: Victoria Australia Animal Welfare Protection.

For Tasmania, please click here: Tasmania Cat Animal Welfare Protection. Compulsory neutering (desexing) of all companion cats (& dogs) not being part of a registered breeding business is on the agenda, it seems, across Australia. If you’d like to make a comment you can go to this page: Victoria Australia Cat Cruelty or if you have time please read this: Your Contribution.

China

Well this is going to be a very short discussion on the law. As far as I am aware there are no general animal welfare laws in China, the country with the highest population in the world. This sad fact plus it seems a culture that disrespects animals means an ocean of animal cruelty from bear bile farms to cat and dog meat. In fact the Chinese people in general, “don’t have clear or complete understanding of how to protect animals or the significance of the issue.” (He Zhengming who was vice secretary-general of the China Experimental Animals Society as at 2004). He Zhengming also says, “China has few existing laws and regulations concerning animal protection. It lacks a specific, complete, comprehensive law dealing with this area.”2

Update 30th Sept. 2010: There may be some sort of animal welfare law in China since 2005: Regulations on the Management of Experimental Animals (RMEA) may have a section on animal welfare but it is concerned only with animal expermentation and transportation etc.. This came about because in May of 2004 legislation on animal welfare was drafted by the Beijing Municipal Legal Affairs Office. This was shelved. In lieu a section seems to have been added to the RMEA. This short addition to existing regulations was the first animal welfare legislation in China. It is brief and probably poorly enforced.

I would like a Chinese person to tell me and other visitors (politely please) why some Chinese people are so cruel to animals (and I stress the word “some” – acts of animal cruelty do not, as far as I know take place throughout China). And lets get one thing straight this is not an attack on China. There are people in other countries who are cruel to animals including the UK but at least there is legislation in these countries. A lady (Pam) has made a submission to the forum page on this website. See it here if you like: China Animal Welfare DOWNING STREET PETITION. It is very distressing I warn you. You’ll need a strong stomach. But please click on this link and sign the online petition.

On 17th July 2007 a Member Parliament in the UK (Mr Norman Baker) made a short request to the government in the House of Commons that they make representations to China on the issue of animal welfare and bile bears in particular. The government said that they were concerned about animal welfare issues and bile bear farming. More needs to be done and more quickly. I would expect the Chinese government to ban this website but if not, could someone from China explain what is going on? One possibility behind the lack of respect for animals is the Chinese ethical and philosophical system as created and taught by Confucius.

Confucianism does not provide guidance on our relationship with animals. To Confucius animals were secondary to humans. According to Henry C.K. Liu writing on this website: http://mailman.lbo-talk.org “….human beings would be no better than animals which Confucius regarded with contempt. Love of animals, a Buddhist notion, is an alien concept to Confucians, who proudly display their species prejudice.” (I have quoted this verbatim for accuracy). Confucianism is an integral part it seems of Chinese culture. Is Taoism any better in terms of promoting a humane relationship with animals? You think this is wrong? Please say so on the Pictures of cats forum page. I stick my neck out and discuss China Cat Animal Welfare Protection, looking at the possible reasons behind, what we in the West, consider animal abuse in China.

There is one theory that I have concerning Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in his book, On the Origin of Species. Click on the link to read about it. China did consider animal welfare legislation in 2005 when there was an outbreak of bird flu. But the law if it was enacted, was designed to protect people not poultry. Finally how good is China’s performance as a contracting party to CITES? See China is CITES contracting party for a flavor.

Japan

The legislation protecting animals has a nice underlying spirit and purpose about it, which indicates that people who are truly concerned about animal welfare were involved in the drafting of the legislation. I hope that that was the case. I have not seen the actual legislation but the link below looks at the history of animal welfare legislation in Japan and a summary of the legislation: Act on Welfare and Management of Animals. See Japan Cat Animal Welfare Protection

I have not seen or found reports on the efficacy of the enforcement of the Act. Enforcement is critical and often sadly overlooked. I hope in Japan that enforcement is good. The downside is that the Japanese don’t demonstrate animal welfare in respect of whales (breach of embargo on whaling though scam of “research” and overfishing of tuna). Astonishingly the rest of world accept it. April 2012: Trap-Neuter-Release has only recently got of the ground in Japan. This is indicative of a highly developed country that is behind on animal welfare.

Portugal

Well, for a member if the European Union it would seem that Portugal is sadly lagging behind in creating comprehensive, modern and enforced animal welfare legislation. We perhaps expect this from some eastern European countries (but why should we?) but not from Portugal. Animal welfare law in Portugal is weak, incomplete and unenforced. You couldn’t get it much worse. The EU is also to blame for failing to enforce the creation of good animal welfare law on its member states. The EU is cumbersome, bureaucratic, expensive administratively and sloppy. See: Portugal Cat Animal Welfare Protection

Bangladesh

They’ve got animal welfare law going back to 1920, so yes that’s good but the Brits did the work! It was during the British Raj. Still this country although suffering from a heavy dose of corruption does well on the animal welfare front but I doubt the law is enforced, the penalties are light and the legislation needs updating. See more: Bangladesh Cat Animal Welfare Protection

Pakistan

Pakistan I cannot find any semblance of legislation relating to animal protection either domestic or wild (but see update below). There is certainly no provincial level legislation in the Punjab, the most populated and prosperous province of Pakistan. The government website is not working well (Nov.2008, this may change) and careful searches produced no legislation on animal welfare. The Ministry of Agriculture website lists “animal protection” as a sub-heading but this does not, it seems to me, to relate to animal protection as it is commonly known. Conclusion: there are no cat, animal protection or welfare laws in Pakistan at federal or provincial level. And if I am wrong I will be pleased….see below.

Update 17th Nov.2008: I have discovered The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1890. At this time Pakistan was British India (the British Raj). The Act will therefore have been drafted by the British. I don’t know if this Act is still in force or has been repealed. Section 3(e) creates an offence of abandonment and section 5 says that any person who kills an animal in an unnecessarily cruel manner shall be punished with a fine that may extend to 200 rupees and/or imprisonment of 6 months maximum. Is this the current legislation for the protection of animals in Pakistan? If so it is very sad for animals in Pakistan as it needs updating desperately. This is quite a short Act and outdated but the penalties are similar to the Indian animal protection laws which are much more modern.

There is also The West Pakistan Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rules 1961 but I do not have the text of this document. These rules were made pursuant to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1890 so this old Act was in force in 1961. This tells me that is probably still in force at 2008. This is a follow up page: The Persecuted Animals in Pakistan.

Mexico

It is not good in Mexico for animals despite good legislation. Implementation is the problem area in Mexico and there are number of reasons why that is the case, which you can read about here if you’d like: Cat animal welfare protection in Mexico

Malta

Malta has a long connection with Britain and became a member of the EU in 2004. Decent animal welfare law would have been a condition for EU membership. Malta has nicely drafted animal welfare law (Animal Welfare Act 2002 – the Act). Animals are protected from cruelty: Part IV Caring of Animals (2) Animals shall not be caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or distress and no animal shall be abandoned. (3) Any person who keeps any animal or who agrees to look after an animal shall be responsible for its health and welfare.

However, decent law needs decent enforcement and enforcement needs commitment and commitment needs a certain type of culture or mindset, which, it seems, is lacking in Malta (update: see below). This, then is a similar state of affairs to that of Turkey or Rhodes both close neighbors (The yearly cull of cats in Greece). Hunting seems to be prevalent and migrating birds are shot. The Act does not protect wild animals. It is said that feral cats are poisoned instead of humanely being trapped neutered and released. This mirrors the Greek island of Rhodes also. The punishment for animal cruelty, a maximum of €46,000 euros and 1 year in prison (Part XIV, 45(1)) is inline with the UK but if there is a lack of enforcement what point is there? Maltese dog with nose cut off

Examples of animal cruelty that apparently went unpunished are:

  • a dog who had its nose cut off (see photo)
  • three dogs hung in the open from a metal beam (see photo)

In conclusion, this is a state where animal welfare is in its infancy. It is underdeveloped and unrefined. Its legislation is a token to appease the European Union but Malta lacks the necessary genuine mentality to truly care for its animals. That is not to say that there are not many wonderful individuals who do care in Malta, one of which is Martha Kane of Kitty Appeal a feral cat rescue organization that PoC donates to.

See the Malta Animal Welfare Act 2002. This is the entire Act verbatim.
Update 7th Oct 2010: I decided to visit Malta to check things out. I met up with Martha Kane and her partner, Richard. Richard informs me that things are changing with respect to the welfare of animals on the island.

Animal welfare, a government run department, on Malta team up with the police to prosecute animal cruelty. The government has recently opened a new animal hospital/sanctuary. And Martha is educating the children!

There remains one obvious weakness; the penalties are too low. And some magistrates fail to penalise offenders properly.

Sources:

  • www.mrra.gov.mt
  • It’s Their Destiny

New Zealand

As expected New Zealand has very comprehensive animal welfare legislation. There is a long history of good animal welfare legislation in New Zealand. As at 1999, the Animals Protection Act 1960 had been in force for some 40 years. As times had changed and in order to make amendments to include better legislation governing the export of animals from New Zealand (a major part to the economy) the government introduced the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (Act) which also updated the animal welfare law generally to reflect “.. changing practice, advances in scientific knowledge and shifts in societal values”3.

The purpose of Part 1 of the Act is to ensure that people who own animals “take all reasonable steps…to ensure that [they] attend properly to the welfare of those animals.” A person who has charge of an animal is obliged to “to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the physical, health, and behavioural needs of the animals are met” (section 10). The terms are wide and they need guidance. Section 4 defines how to interpret, “Physical, health and behavioural needs” in Part 1. This is one of the core elements of the legislation. In short New Zealand has animal welfare legislation that is the equal of any other of the top nations on animal welfare. The next question is, “how well is it enforced?”.

There is no information on that as far as I can tell, but I would expect the same standards as found in countries such as the USA and the UK. The Act covers all aspects of animal welfare, is wide ranging and the penalties for breach of section 10 (referred to above) are a maximum of 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding $50,000. This is inline with the UK. Update 14th August 2011: They declaw cats in New Zealand when they think they have to.

Turkey

At 2010: The story here is one of decent animal welfare legislation but a lack of will to enforce it underpinned by a culture that seems not to be ready to treat animals in a way that is civilized. The Turkish government has a history of being influenced by the military. This is not conducive to good animal welfare. There would also seem to be a culture that does not respect animals. That is not to say that there are not many individuals in Turkey who respect animals and who fight for their welfare and protection. It is the authorities who lack will, direction and the proper moral code. See the verbatim legislation. See a page on Animal Welfare Law in Turkey – this expands on the above overview.

Notes – to be expanded

It worth making the point that a lot of law is common law. Common law is law that has evolved over time through the decisions of judges on a case by case basis in creating precedent. Case law refines Statutes. And some common law is the originator of the law. A classic example is the law of negligence in the UK. Of course contract law is very much based on common law. When a contract is drawn up on the sale of a cat for example any dispute will be resolved by reference to the express terms as clarified by common law and the terms implied by statute. This is only one example. There is a basic tenet that underpins a lot of the law in relation to domestic cats. This is that they are in the eyes of the law no different to an inanimate object that one might buy in a shop. In old fashioned language domestic cats are regarded as “chattels”.

This dictates the level of damages in a breach of contract claim. If one buys a cat from a cat breeder and subsequently a right to claim compensation for breach of contract arises, the connection that has been built up between human and cat is not in the equation when damages are calculated. It is a cold calculation of financial loss flowing from the breach of contract. This concept of a cat being an object is carried forward to areas such as criminal damage.

If someone in an act of criminality kills our cat it is considered “criminal damage” and the person could (but rarely if ever is) be prosecuted in the UK under the Animals Act 1971. The criminal concerned would be prosecuted in the same way if he had deliberately damaged our car, for example. Conversely, in the UK, if a person acts irresponsibly and allows his cat to cause damage to property or injury to persons they could be held responsible under the Animals Act 1971. In the UK responsibility of “ownership” of cats is also governed by Planning and Environmental law. Cats occupy houses as being incidental to the occupation of the house by humans.

If the number of cats in a household is too high this may signal the need to apply for a change of use of the house under planning legislation. The is also the thorny issue of nuisance. An action for nuisance can be brought under the common law tort of nuisance or under local authority law in the UK. A large number of cats poorly cared for could constitute a legal nuisance to neighbors (see cat hoarding) This rather outdated approach that cats are objects is reflected in the recent large and nationwide pet food recall in America. Compensation for the deaths of the many thousands of cats and dogs was calculated on economic loss only, namely for such items as veterinarian’s bills and loss of work time (see cat poison updates). From a legislator’s standpoint, in the USA cats have no value beyond their replacement value. From the standpoint of millions of people who keep cats this is patently wrong.

The true value is often immeasurable and far more than the financial value (price if bought). I believe that a fixed level of compensation needs to be formulated to pay respect to the pain and suffering caused by the loss of relationship between domestic cat and human. The intention, over time, is to find live examples of criminal law, the tort of negligence, the tort of trespass, contract and more; to see how these overlap and to clarify if needed. There is a lot of international law in respect of wild species and their protection. The big issues here are not whether there is law but how to enforce it and get commitment to complying with it. There is also a Universal Declaration of Animal Rights but is it worth more than a hill of beans? Are there valid arguments against animal rights?

Spectrum – modified photo (as allowed) by ecstaticist

A kind person made a contribution on the Blogger site that is attached to this site. He thanked me for making a post about animal cruelty in the Philippines and correctly said more voices need to be heard in support of the animals so cruelly and mindlessly abused. I’d like to hear from people, particularly those who have first hand experience of animal and particularly cat cruelty. You may be a person who has committed animal cruelty. Tell us why. You might be like me, someone who finds cat and animal cruelty simply horrible. Some images of animal cruelty never leave the mind. The photographs of the feral dogs rounded up in the Philippines will haunt my mind forever. Their dislocated forelimbs, the confused and lost expressions on their faces (see It’s Their Destinywebsite but contribute here first please). Let us hear your voice against cat and animal cruelty. You can do it here.

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2. http://losangeles.china-consulate.org
3. Manager, MAF Information Bureau, PO Box 2526, Wellington


Comments

Laws on domestic cat breeds wild cat species and animal rights law enforcement — 13 Comments

  1. Pingback: California Leads In Cat Welfare in USA | Pictures of Cats

  2. Hi Michael,

    Interesting to read about the variations in animal laws in different countries. While all countries have a very long ways to go in creating new animal laws and improving existing laws, it’s clear that some countries do very little to protect the animals.

    India animal laws is possibly the most interesting study since they have such a strong tradition of respecting life in it’s many forms. The West is having a negative impact on them in this regard. More and more fast food restaurants such as McDonalds (where they serve hamburgers) are showing up. Hollywood is a negative influence. The desire to be more like the West is eroding traditional ethics.

    You made a critical point when you said that the laws reflect the attitudes of a society. They also reflect our general indifference toward non-human animals. We forget that we’re just another animal on the third rock from the sun. With our superior reasoning capability shouldn’t we be animal guardians rather than opportunists? I see animals as little brothers that should be protected.

    The police and the military protect the humans. Who protects the animals?

    I’ve got a question for you: The meat part of the food industry is in such high demand that the meat industry has an enormous amount of power to protect it’s current and future profits. How does a small and relatively weak organization or a single person introduce an animal rights bill to become a law when the opposition seems impenetrable? I’ve always wondered that.

    Interesting read, thanx,

    =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

    • Well big business with politicians run the world. Big business does not generally care about animals in an way. Never mind ‘animal rights’. That is why the world’s resources are being used up and wild cat habitat destroyed. Animals are vulnerable to the top predator: humans.

  3. Pingback: Should Those Convicted Of Animal Cruelty Be Banned From Owning Pets? | Pictures of Cats

  4. Pingback: Cat population as a percentage of human population | Pictures of Cats

  5. Pingback: Romanian Animal Welfare Sucks. Discuss | Pictures of Cats

  6. I think what you said made a bunch of sense. But, consider this, suppose
    you typed a catchier title? I ain’t suggesting your content
    isn’t solid, but what if you added a post title that grabbed people’s attention?

    I mean Laws on domestic cat breeds wild cat species and animal rights law enforcement | Pictures of Cats is kinda boring.
    You might peek at Yahoo’s home page and see how they create article headlines
    to grab people to click. You might add a video or a picture or two to grab people interested about everything’ve written.

    Just my opinion, it might make your posts a little livelier.

    • The title was an attempt years ago to improve search engine optimisation. It did not work but it cannot be changed now. Also the subject matter is somewhat boring anyway!

  7. First off I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question
    that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how
    you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I have had trouble clearing my mind in getting my thoughts
    out there. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems
    like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just
    trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Appreciate it!

    • Hi Carlo, There there is no easy way or trick to preparing for an article. The better you know your subject the easier it is of course. At the moment I am dictating my articles using software called Dragon Dictate. I find it easier to write through dictation because when you type that can be a distraction to thinking or it can hold up one’s thought processes. Perhaps above all, the key is to know your subject well and then it’s just a matter of practice. The better you know the subject the more everything falls into place almost immediately and after that it is simply a matter of ensuring that the facts are correct or one states an opinion and you make that clear.

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