The sensible, intelligent, enlightened citizens of the developed world want harsher punishments for animal abusers. The judiciary and politicians are lagging behind the sentiments of the citizens that they serve.
Judges must have the courage to punish convicted animal abusers to the maximum to deter others. At present animal abuse is simply not taken seriously enough. And I am referring to the so called developed world. In undeveloped countries you’d be lucky to see enforced animal welfare law. In general the world remains terribly backward with respect to animal welfare.
In countries where there are animal welfare laws the proscribed punishments are considered inadequate by many people. We don’t have surveys which tell us the current attitudes of the citizens of North America and Australia but judging by social media discussions the mood is that there is a need for change. A change which toughens up the sentencing of animal abusers.
To recap: the first problem is that the law does not allow judges to punish animal abusers severely enough. Note: in the USA three-quarters of the states are strenghtening animal protection laws. However, it is too little, too late.
Following on from that, in general, judges and magistrates do not punish animal abusers to the maximum that the law allows. There is still this archaic attitude that violence against animals is a minor crime. This reflects the historical attitude of humans that they are superior to animals and animals exist to serve them.
This, now outdated, attitude is by and large held by too many politicians, the law makers, which is why the crimimal law concerning animal abuse is also outdated.
There is a third problem: enforcement. The weak moral attitude towards animal abuse by the authorities is also seen in law enforcement. The police tend to deprioritise animal abuse. These crimes are shunted to the back of the queue. They are dealt with poorly sometimes.
The internet is awash with petitions and demands for harsher punishments for animal abusers. The public are voicing their concerns. In Australia the RSPCA started a petition urging magistrates to hand out harsher penalties for Canberrans convicted of animal abuse as a result of a pitifully inadequate fine of $500 handed to a dog owner who neglected his maggot-infested dog (I won’t show the picture).
Animal abuse is getting worse in the UK. Concerned citizens are tired of reading stories of dog and cat abuse in which the criminal is slapped on the wrist. Some of the abuse is of the worst kind. The abusers really have to be dangerous people. They are cruel people who can move on to hurting other people. The FBI in America recognise this.
One recent high profile example of animal abuse concerned an American veterinarian, Kristen Lindsey. She killed a cat with a bow and arrow. She was proud of it. Her act was not even considered a crime. She has not lost her license to practice veterinary medicine.
Animal protection laws across the UK, America and Australia to name three geographical areas need to be strengthened. The authorities who enforce the law must then enforce it with commitment and not shy away from handing down stiff punishments in order to deter other potential abusers.
The human race needs to look at itself in the mirror, wake up and accept that we are not superior to animals and that in order to be truly civilised we need to treat animals as we would treat other humans.