Monday, May 12, 2008

ISAR and Animal Rights in Europe

Supporters of International Society for Animal Rights know that in recent years we have extended our humane education activities to many places outside the United States by "exporting" thousands of copies of our Reports and each August encouraging and assisting observance of our International Homeless Animals Day and candlelight vigils.

ISAR has looked beyond our shores because the awakening animal protection movements around the world are going to need all the help they can get, particularly in countries with no tradition of humane treatment of animals.

There is encouraging news:

  • Three years ago, Great Britain barred hunting with dogs--although they are still allowed to follow the scent of foxes, but just not kill them.
  • In Beijing where, as in the rest of China, people eat dog meat, restaurants have had a moratoriam imposed on the practice--although after the Olympics they will doubtless revert to this barbaric practice.
  • Israel has barred the production of foie gras, as have some localities in Britain, and California has prohibited it--although the law is not effective until the year 2012.
  • In Scotland, live animals may not be given as prizes, nor sold to children under the age of 16--although it is easy to see how the law will be circumvented.
  • Hungary, Austria, Singapore, and Croatia have barred wild animals from circus acts--although the law apparently does not apply to domestic animals.
  • Italy no longer allows animals to be used on television if they would be caused stressed or be forced to act against their nature--although the law's loopholes are evident.
  • Bullfighting in Spain is under attack, with doping tests now conducted to ascertain if the doomed animals' useless attempts to defend themselves has been compromised and television no longer broadcasting the obscene spectacle--although without doping and TV broadcasts the fights continue.
  • Four months from now a law goes into effect in Switzerland requiring dog owners to pay for and complete a two-part course focusing on the nature and needs of their animals--although holding wild animal in captivity goes on.
  • Some medical schools in Russia have stopped what has been characterized as "the harmful use of animals"--although others have not, and experimentation has not been abolished.

ISAR is encouraged by these early steps toward animal protection because they stem from the growing awareness that took hold in the United States about a generation ago: that animals do have certain rights, and that it is arrogant and wrong for humans to abuse them.

Even though the current European laws leave a lot to be desired, they are a beginning--and ISAR intends to assist their proponents in strengthening and enlarging them.

We hope that our supporters realize, as we do, that animal protection seeds are sprouting all over the world--and that they need to be nurtured. With your help ISAR will keep working hard to do just that.