Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Ethics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 53223

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
School of Animal and Veterinary Science, Faculty of Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
Interests: animal law; animal welfare; metascience; pain assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This issue entitled “Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights, and Responsibilities” is devoted to papers relating to animals with a particular focus on the progression of thinking or law relating to animals’ status, and our consideration of their interests. The issue will also consider papers focusing on methods of driving the reform process for example those that describe animal advocacy work.

There is a growing recognition of the impact of human–animal relationships and our industries using animals. Many researchers and animal advocates, whether through a welfarist or abolitionist approach, are striving to increase society’s consideration of animals on a global scale. These considerations may be apparent through advancing philosophical thinking around animals, campaigning for law reform or disseminating awareness of issues to drive consumer pressure on industries.

In this issue, I invite authors to submit original or review manuscripts which may consider legal reforms around animal status, the history of animal legal reform, philosophical analysis of our relationships with animals, societal attitudes toward animal status, and practical considerations for animal advocates. I particularly encourage papers embracing a transdisciplinary approach which is likely to accelerate understanding and reform.

Dr. Alexandra Whittaker
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • animal legal reform
  • animal ethics
  • philosophy of animal use
  • societal viewpoints
  • animal advocacy

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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23 pages, 381 KiB  
Article
How Well Does Australian Animal Welfare Policy Reflect Scientific Evidence: A Case Study Approach Based on Lamb Marking
by Charlotte H. Johnston, Vicki L. Richardson and Alexandra L. Whittaker
Animals 2023, 13(8), 1358; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13081358 - 15 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1912
Abstract
The development and substance of animal welfare policy is subject to a range of social, cultural, economic, and scientific influences that commonly vary within and between countries. Discrepancies in policy can create confusion and mistrust among stakeholders and consumers and limit the ability [...] Read more.
The development and substance of animal welfare policy is subject to a range of social, cultural, economic, and scientific influences that commonly vary within and between countries. Discrepancies in policy can create confusion and mistrust among stakeholders and consumers and limit the ability to create a uniform minimum level of requirements to safeguard animal welfare, as well as create a level ‘playing field’ for farmers when trading with other jurisdictions. The livestock sector is receiving growing scrutiny globally for real and perceived violations of animal welfare, for example, the practice of mulesing in Australia. This article explores animal welfare legislation within Australia and how it reflects the scientific evidence surrounding routine husbandry practices in sheep, including tail docking, castration, and mulesing. While there is some variation between state and territory legislation, the most notable concern is the lack of enforceable recommendations surrounding the evidence-based use of analgesia and anaesthesia for painful husbandry procedures. The age at which these procedures are recommended to be performed is relatively consistent across Australian jurisdictions, but there is a marked difference compared to international legislation. The global context of animal welfare legislation, public perception, and producer perception of these procedures are also discussed, highlighting the difficulty of creating robust animal welfare legislation that promotes a good standard of welfare that is respected worldwide whilst being practical in an Australian setting given our unique geography and climatic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
16 pages, 290 KiB  
Article
Two Worlds in One: What ‘Counts’ as Animal Advocacy for Veterinarians Working in UK Animal Research?
by Renelle McGlacken, Alistair Anderson and Pru Hobson-West
Animals 2023, 13(5), 776; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13050776 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2043
Abstract
The concept of advocacy is of increasing importance to the veterinary profession internationally. However, there are concerns around the ambiguity and complexity of acting as an advocate in practice. This paper explores what ‘animal advocacy’ involves for veterinarians working in the domain of [...] Read more.
The concept of advocacy is of increasing importance to the veterinary profession internationally. However, there are concerns around the ambiguity and complexity of acting as an advocate in practice. This paper explores what ‘animal advocacy’ involves for veterinarians working in the domain of animal research, where they are responsible for advising on health and welfare. In focusing on the identity of veterinarians working in an arena of particular contestation, this paper provides empirical insights into how veterinarians themselves perform their role as an ‘animal advocate’. Analysing interview data with 33 UK ‘Named Veterinary Surgeons’, this paper therefore examines what ‘counts’ as animal advocacy for veterinarians, considering the way their role as animal advocate is performed. Focusing on the themes of ‘mitigating suffering’, ‘speaking for’, and ‘driving change’ as three central ways in which veterinarians working in animal research facilities act as animal advocates, we draw out some of the complexities for veterinarians working in areas where animal care and harm coexist. Finally, we conclude by calling for further empirical exploration of animal advocacy in other veterinary domains and for more critical attention to the wider social systems which produce the need for such advocacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
16 pages, 959 KiB  
Article
Traditional Conceptions of the Legal Person and Nonhuman Animals
by Macarena Montes Franceschini
Animals 2022, 12(19), 2590; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192590 - 28 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3791
Abstract
Since Roman law, the category of the legal person has been the most relevant legal category, allowing humans and entities to act within the law and enter into legal relations. The legal system does not consider nonhuman animals as legal persons but as [...] Read more.
Since Roman law, the category of the legal person has been the most relevant legal category, allowing humans and entities to act within the law and enter into legal relations. The legal system does not consider nonhuman animals as legal persons but as property or as sentient beings regulated by the rules of property. Throughout history, there have been different concepts of the legal person, and some are still relevant today. This article examines four traditional concepts of legal personhood, arguing that nonhuman animals can be considered persons according to each concept. The article reaches three main conclusions. First, the legal person is not the same as the human. Second, the debate between the equivalence and the subset views poses a dilemma between a revolution or the reform of animals’ legal status. Third, an ecumenical defense of animal legal personhood may benefit animals as it supports animal persons according to any of the traditional concepts of legal personhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
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23 pages, 1859 KiB  
Article
Understanding Subordinate Animal Welfare Legislation in Australia: Assembling the Regulations and Codes of Practice
by Rochelle Morton and Alexandra L. Whittaker
Animals 2022, 12(18), 2437; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12182437 - 15 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4310
Abstract
The state-based approach to regulating animal welfare in Australia is thought to create national dis-uniformity in that each state and territory legislates and operates inconsistently. The animal welfare legal framework in each of the eight Australian jurisdictions is made up of a primary [...] Read more.
The state-based approach to regulating animal welfare in Australia is thought to create national dis-uniformity in that each state and territory legislates and operates inconsistently. The animal welfare legal framework in each of the eight Australian jurisdictions is made up of a primary statute and subordinate legislation, where subordinate animal welfare legislation, in the forms of regulations and codes of practices, are lower-ranking laws that are given power under the jurisdiction’s specific animal welfare statute. Since a review of animal welfare statutes identified broad patterns between the jurisdictions, this study is intended to be complementary by collating the subordinate legislation to provide a more comprehensive understanding of animal welfare laws in Australia. Using targeted search strategies stemming from the eight enabling animal welfare statutes, this study identified 201 pieces of subordinate legislation in force between 28 March 2022 and 5 April 2022. The scope of subordinate legislation is depicted through the following utility categories of animals: companion, production, wild/exotic, entertainment. Whilst subordinate legislation differed between the jurisdictions, it was common for similar welfare concerns or topic areas to be protected in higher-order legislation (statutes or regulations). Additionally, many jurisdictions were found to have similar shortcomings, all which likely could be managed through a mechanism of national data collection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
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10 pages, 637 KiB  
Article
Is Pet Health Insurance Able to Improve Veterinary Care? Why Pet Health Insurance for Dogs and Cats Has Limits: An Ethical Consideration on Pet Health Insurance
by Michelle Becker, Holger Volk and Peter Kunzmann
Animals 2022, 12(13), 1728; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131728 - 4 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4232
Abstract
Background: Owners often feel the cost of veterinary care is too high, as there remains a limited understanding of the cost of health care in human and veterinary medicine alike. Pet health insurance is often seen as a universal solution. However, especially for [...] Read more.
Background: Owners often feel the cost of veterinary care is too high, as there remains a limited understanding of the cost of health care in human and veterinary medicine alike. Pet health insurance is often seen as a universal solution. However, especially for patient owners with few financial resources, both the bill at the vet and the monthly premium for pet health insurance can become a challenge. Hypothesis: Pet health insurance can prevent or ease many price discussions at the vet, but it does not offer a solution for patient owners with little financial means. Methods: In order to verify for which patient owners pet health insurance can be a solution, four theoretical groups were formed depending on the patient owner’s willingness to pay and his/her dispensable funds based on a theoretical model. Results: Dispensable funds are a factor that cannot be influenced by the veterinary surgeon. However, low dispensable funds as a result of an insufficient willingness to save (whether due to a lack of financial education or a lack of will) can be solved by pet health insurance. Willingness to pay, on the other hand, can be influenced by empathetic communication from the veterinary surgeon and thus also from pet health insurance. Nevertheless, situations remain where pet health insurance is not a solution either, because owners can neither afford the veterinary costs nor a premium for a pet health insurance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
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Review

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32 pages, 541 KiB  
Review
Controversial Topics in Animal Welfare in Latin America: A Focus on the Legislation Surrounding the Human-Companion Animal Relationship and Animals Used for Recreational Practices
by Daniel Mota-Rojas, Ana Strappini, Alexandra L. Whittaker, Marcelo Ghezzi, Cristiane Gonçalves Titto, Néstor Calderón-Maldonado, Patricia Mora-Medina, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva, Jocelyn Gómez-Prado, Ismael Hernández-Ávalos, Nancy José-Pérez, Alejandro Casas-Alvarado and Agustín Orihuela
Animals 2023, 13(9), 1463; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13091463 - 25 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3305
Abstract
Animal welfare is a societally relevant issue that is globally attracting increased attention. This is in addition to the importance placed on welfare for the animals themselves. However, the content and application of laws protecting animals’ welfare vary across countries. In Latin America, [...] Read more.
Animal welfare is a societally relevant issue that is globally attracting increased attention. This is in addition to the importance placed on welfare for the animals themselves. However, the content and application of laws protecting animals’ welfare vary across countries. In Latin America, there are a range of common practices or activities involving certain animal species, many of which are legal, that can impair an animal’s quality of life. These include the performance of aesthetic surgical procedures; bull-, cock-, and dog fighting; and the existence of circuses that exhibit animals. The extent and impact of these practices being dependent on the socioeconomic, cultural, territorial, and regulatory landscape of each country. Particularly, Ibero-American regions face welfare challenges that might be influenced by traditions and relevant legal gaps. The objective of this article is to review controversial practices carried out in companion and entertainment animals in Latin America, with a focus on legal aspects, as well as the current efforts being made to address and incorporate global welfare standards into domestic and wild animal practice and regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
12 pages, 683 KiB  
Review
Euthanasia and Pain in Canine Patients with Terminal and Chronic-Degenerative Diseases: Ethical and Legal Aspects
by Daniel Mota-Rojas, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva, Julio Martínez-Burnes, Alejandro Casas-Alvarado and Ismael Hernández-Ávalos
Animals 2023, 13(7), 1265; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13071265 - 6 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4430
Abstract
Euthanasia is commonly performed in veterinary medicine to humanely induce the death of an animal when its quality of life is affected by pain or chronic degenerative diseases. The choice of euthanasia is a bilateral decision that represents a challenge for both the [...] Read more.
Euthanasia is commonly performed in veterinary medicine to humanely induce the death of an animal when its quality of life is affected by pain or chronic degenerative diseases. The choice of euthanasia is a bilateral decision that represents a challenge for both the veterinarian and the owner of the animal due to the close emotional human–animal bond. Currently, there is legislation that can orient veterinarians concerning euthanasia and the causes that would justify this resolution. However, it is still controversial, and deciding it as the last available resort requires considering it from a medical, legal, and moral perspective. Therefore, this review aims to explore the ethical and legal implications of euthanasia in canine patients. It will analyze the reason that can justify euthanasia in animals with pain or terminal and chronic degenerative diseases, highlighting the importance of effective communication, ethical knowledge, and consideration of euthanasia as a multimodal resolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
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15 pages, 1738 KiB  
Review
The 12 Rs Framework as a Comprehensive, Unifying Construct for Principles Guiding Animal Research Ethics
by Christiaan B. Brink and David I. Lewis
Animals 2023, 13(7), 1128; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13071128 - 23 Mar 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 6326
Abstract
Animal research ethics and animal welfare in science have become progressively tightly regulated, and ethical integrity and scientific quality, as well as social responsiveness and responsibility have become key requirements for research to be approved, funded, published, and accepted. The multitude of factors [...] Read more.
Animal research ethics and animal welfare in science have become progressively tightly regulated, and ethical integrity and scientific quality, as well as social responsiveness and responsibility have become key requirements for research to be approved, funded, published, and accepted. The multitude of factors to contemplate has in some instances not only become complex, requiring a team approach, but often perceived as confusing and overwhelming. To facilitate a process of simplistic yet comprehensive conceptualization, we developed the 12 Rs Framework to act as a mind map to guide scientists, oversight structures, and other stakeholders through the myriad of ethical considerations. It unfolds into three domains of twelve encompassing ethical principles, values, and other considerations, including the animal welfare, social values, and scientific integrity domains, whilst also recognizing the diversity of local context, legal requirements, values, and cultures around the globe. In the end, it can be seen as a unifying ethical framework to foster and promote animal research ethics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
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10 pages, 285 KiB  
Review
Global and Brazilian Scenario of Guidelines and Legislation on Welfare in Pig Farming
by Isabella Cristina de Castro Lippi, Fabiana Ribeiro Caldara, Ibiara Correia de Lima Almeida Paz and Agnês Markiy Odakura
Animals 2022, 12(19), 2615; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192615 - 29 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1607
Abstract
The evolution of scientific knowledge regarding animal sentience, together with the growing concerns of consumers regarding current production models, has brought with it the responsibility of reviewing many practices carried out in industrial swine farming, with the purpose of improving the life quality [...] Read more.
The evolution of scientific knowledge regarding animal sentience, together with the growing concerns of consumers regarding current production models, has brought with it the responsibility of reviewing many practices carried out in industrial swine farming, with the purpose of improving the life quality of animals throughout the entire production cycle. In this sense, many initiatives have been taken by European Union, OIE and other countries to abolish questionable practices from an animal welfare point of view, being signed through legislation or normative instructions, which guide governments and companies on the best practices to be adopted. Among the main changes that have taken place in swine farming are the ban or reduction in the use of cages for sows, restrictions on the age at weaning, ban on painful procedures such as surgical castration, tail and teeth clipping, as routine procedures or without the use of anesthesia/analgesia. In addition, these acts also prescribe practices that must be adopted in order to respect the natural behavior of animals, such as the use of environmental enrichment. This review aims to address the main advances made over the last few years in the protection of swine, as well as Brazilian initiatives in this regard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
22 pages, 4319 KiB  
Review
The Welfare of Fighting Dogs: Wounds, Neurobiology of Pain, Legal Aspects and the Potential Role of the Veterinary Profession
by Daniel Mota-Rojas, Chiara Mariti, Míriam Marcet-Rius, Karina Lezama-García, Angelo Gazzano, Ismael Hernández-Ávalos, Patricia Mora-Medina, Adriana Domínguez-Oliva and Alexandra L. Whittaker
Animals 2022, 12(17), 2257; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12172257 - 31 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4203
Abstract
Throughout history it has been common to practice activities which significantly impact on animal welfare. Animal fighting, including dogfighting, is a prime example where animals often require veterinary care, either to treat wounds and fractures or to manage pain associated with tissue and [...] Read more.
Throughout history it has been common to practice activities which significantly impact on animal welfare. Animal fighting, including dogfighting, is a prime example where animals often require veterinary care, either to treat wounds and fractures or to manage pain associated with tissue and where death may even result. Amongst the detrimental health effects arising are the sensory alterations that these injuries cause, which not only include acute or chronic pain but can also trigger a greater sensitivity to other harmful (hyperalgesia) or even innocuous stimuli (allodynia). These neurobiological aspects are often ignored and the erroneous assumption made that the breeds engaged in organized fighting have a high pain threshold or, at least, they present reduced or delayed responses to painful stimuli. However, it is now widely recognized that the damage these dogs suffer is not only physical but psychological, emotional, and sensory. Due to the impact fighting has on canine welfare, it is necessary to propose solution strategies, especially educational ones, i.e., educating people and training veterinarians, the latter potentially playing a key role in alerting people to all dog welfare issues. Therefore, the aim of this review is to describe the risk factors associated with dogfighting generally (dog temperament, age, sex, nutrition, testosterone levels, environment, isolation conditions, socialization, education, or training). A neurobiological approach to this topic is taken to discuss the impact on dog pain and emotion. Finally, a general discussion of the format of guidelines and laws that seek to sanction them is presented. The role that veterinarians can play in advancing dog welfare, rehabilitating dogs, and educating the public is also considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
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13 pages, 630 KiB  
Review
Bestiality Law in the United States: Evolving Legislation with Scientific Limitations
by Brian James Holoyda
Animals 2022, 12(12), 1525; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12121525 - 12 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 14624
Abstract
Societies have proscribed bestiality, or sex between humans and nonhuman animals, since the earliest recorded legal codes. In the early American colonies, religious prohibitions against bestiality provided the grounds for punishing those who engaged in such acts. In the 1800′s, Henry Bergh imported [...] Read more.
Societies have proscribed bestiality, or sex between humans and nonhuman animals, since the earliest recorded legal codes. In the early American colonies, religious prohibitions against bestiality provided the grounds for punishing those who engaged in such acts. In the 1800′s, Henry Bergh imported the animal welfare approach to the United States, which modernized the legislative treatment of animals in the country. Until recently, however, many laws in the U.S. have been outdated and vague and have utilized moralistic terminology. Since the 1960′s, a growing body of literature has developed suggesting that individuals who harm animals may also interpersonally offend. This concept, known as the Link, has served as a major motivation for advocates to promote new legislation criminalizing bestiality, to modernize old state statutes, and to expand penalties for individuals convicted of having sex with animals. Unfortunately, data supporting the Link between bestiality and interpersonal violence are limited and of questionable generalizability to the broad public. The Link’s weaknesses can assist in guiding further research. This article summarizes the history of bestiality law, the current state of bestiality legislation in the United States, the body of Link-related literature on bestiality and interpersonal violence and other problematic sexual behaviors, and the empirical weaknesses and needs revealed by this legislation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
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