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Safeguarding Humanity Via Legal Safeguards For Animals

Safeguarding Humanity Via Legal Safeguards For Animals. Hello everyone. I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Kimberley Moore, Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and author of The Case for the Legal Protection of Animals, Humanity’s Shared Destiny with the Animal Kingdom. She will explore why humanity’s destiny depends on the legal protection of animals and what the law needs to do to protect that shared destiny. In 2022, the United Nations adopted a Resolution affirming that the health and welfare of animals are connected to the health and well-being of humans. The growing recognition of the interconnectedness of humans, animals and the environment is recognised by the World Health Organization, and it is the basis for many of the recent legal reforms around the world.

Safeguarding Humanity Via Legal Safeguards For Animals

A growing body of scientific literature tells us that animals are social and sentient beings who experience the world much like ourselves. Research also tells us that intelligence is abundant in the animal kingdom. A better-informed public has become more aware of how animals suffer and demand better legal protection. These findings alone are compelling grounds for more rigorous legal protection of the animal kingdom, but it turns out that what is suitable for animals is also good for us.

Human activity is driving many of the current global crises, including deforestation, pollution, loss of biodiversity, and climate change. Each of these is the direct result of humanity’s exploitation and destruction of animals and the natural world.

Natural Resources

The plundering of natural resources and the callous destruction of delicate ecosystems and forests have profound consequences for humanity. The exploitation and pollution of the world’s oceans by (among other things) marine plastic pollution and oil spills threaten all ocean life. Military exercises, such as the testing of bombs and the use of underwater sonar, kill billions of sea animals. In contrast, industrial fishing longlines have killed billions more, including many non-target species such as dolphins, whales, and sea turtles, which are written off by the fishing industry as mere “by-catch.”

Food Systems

The world’s animal-based food systems contribute to global hunger and water scarcity by depleting vital resources that could otherwise be used to address food insecurity and ensure equitable access to clean drinking water for more of the world’s population. Animal agriculture also fuels deforestation to make way for grazing land and feed crops for farmed animals, which increases the frequency of destructive weather events, exacerbates food and water shortages, and results in species extinction. Wildlife trafficking, both legal and illegal, is driving the loss of biodiversity and the rise of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19. Our destruction of the natural world also has profound implications for national security, as scarce resources, including food and water, lead to many wars and conflicts.

Ecosystems

These global crises have cascading, detrimental effects on ecosystems and human societies beyond food and water insecurity and economic instability. The global threats we face threaten all life on the planet, yet for the most part, they are unchallenged by legal restraint and, as a result, are accelerating. Outdated laws that fail to protect the planet’s rich biodiversity and natural spaces have catastrophic consequences for humanity, but it doesn’t have to be this way. To protect our shared destinies, we must accept that the rights of humans are inextricably linked to how we treat the natural world. Protecting animals with meaningful and substantive laws and enforcing such laws is critically important to both people and animals.

The extraordinary legal reforms that we have seen in recent decades that aim to provide more excellent legal protection for animals are a recognition that our actions have profound implications for animals, the environment, and humanity. Legal systems increasingly recognise the shared destinies of humans and animals who face the same planetary emergencies, including resource shortages and climate-related threats. Realising that these global threats threaten all life on the planet inspires legal scholars worldwide to change how our laws treat animals. The result of these efforts is the development of a new field of law, animal law. Enacting meaningful laws that recognise that our future is interconnected and interdependent with other species can help protect the planet for future generations.

A Lot To Do

Some people perceive that animals are adequately protected under the law. This is not the case. Some countries have indeed enacted stronger anti-cruelty laws and new laws in an attempt to fight wildlife trafficking and halt species extinctions. Other nations have overhauled their laws to protect animals in response to humanity’s growing understanding of the interconnectedness of our world and the animal kingdom. A growing number of countries are even recognising animals as sentient beings, yet humans continue to inflict indescribable suffering and misery on nearly every species of animal. Animals still suffer for our “entertainment” and endure misery and cruelty in research laboratories, on factory farms, for fashion and in human conflicts. Wildlife, aquatic animals, and companion animals are not immune from exploitation and abuse. Humanity’s treatment of animals is immoral.

Despite this pivotal moment in legal discourse, we are only in the very early stages of the developing body of animal law. While great initial progress has been made, it is abundantly clear that legal reform requires a far more concerted global effort and a comprehensive legal framework to address the complex issues involved in the proper treatment of animals and the recognition of their legal rights.

Developing Robust Legal Frameworks

Protecting animals will require we recognise an animal’s right to live free from exploitation and harm. It will also require a sober reflection on how our actions contribute to their suffering and how our mistreatment of animals jeopardises our shared destinies. Strong laws must also empower local communities if we are to protect both people and animals from, for example, the devastating consequences of wildlife trafficking. Implementing stronger and more coordinated legal measures to protect the natural world will help safeguard vital ecosystems for human communities and animal life. When viewed through the prism of an interconnected world, fundamental human rights are inextricably linked to the rights of animals.

Despite the compelling grounds for legal reform, change has formidable challenges. The convergence of cultural norms and traditions, influential industries and political corruption pose challenges to enacting laws that adequately protect animals. Still, there are grounds for optimism. The past two decades have been a watershed moment for the legal status of animals, and new laws are starting to take hold in many countries. Because humanity’s destiny is undeniably tied to the destiny of the animal kingdom, the question is not “if” but “when” laws will change.

I hope you enjoyed that.

Talk soon.

About The Author

Kimberly Moore is a senior attorney and a Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. She authorises The Case for the Legal Protection of Animals, Humanity’s Shared Destiny with the Animal Kingdom.

The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics is an independent centre pioneering ethical perspectives on animals through academic research, teaching, and publication. The Centre comprises more than 100 academic Fellows worldwide.

Web: www.oxfordanimalethics.com/home
Instagram: @oxfordanimalethics
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@oxfordanimalethics
LinkedIn: Dr Clair Linzey – https://www.linkedin.com/in/clair-linzey-ab012272/

NOTE: The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics is independent and not part of the University.

Working with Strong women, I help empower women not to give up on their goals and find true happiness within themselves. #lifestyle #womenempowerment #selfcare

7 Comments

  • Ebony

    This article is awesome since it shares link between animal welfare and human well-being, It’s a powerful reminder that safeguarding our planet and its diverse inhabitants is not only an act of compassion but a critical step towards humanity’s survival and well-being!

  • Luna S

    It is great to see the ways people are trying to fight back against animal cruelty when it comes to different aspects of life such as beauty companies testing on animals, or animals being abused to perform in the circus, so it is always interesting to read articles like this to see what else is being worked on. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Marysa

    Animal welfare has evolved so much over the years. I remember going to a circus when I was very little, and it was mostly animals. Now, it is usually no animals at all. It is nice to see how animals are being used less for our profit.

  • Kimberley Asante

    Legal safeguards for animals are crucial for safeguarding humanity as well. They promote compassion and respect for all living beings, creating a more ethical and humane society. By advocating for animal rights and implementing laws to protect them, we contribute to a better world for both animals and humans alike.

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