Is legislation the quick fix that we are looking for?

Last week I went to a meeting that Animal Liberation Queensland held where the guest speaker was a representative from the Oscar’s Law campaign in Queensland.

Whilst the talk was interesting to say the least, it did highlight for me a number of areas where the single issue campaigns tend to fall down.

By her own admission, the presenter did mention that she had only recently become aware of the plight of other non-human animals even though she had been involved with the “Oscar’s Law” campaign for some time. Though she didn’t mention whether she has now adopted a vegan lifestlye since becomming aware of this.

She also recalled a story where a by-laws officer for one of the councils had contacted her regarding the deplorable conditions that a ‘breeder’ is keeping his ‘stock’ in. This by-laws officer is powerless to do anything to remove these non-human animals from the conditions that they are kept in, and by the sounds of it, if it is in Queensland, the RSPCA is unwilling to intervene either.

To me, this should be enough to convince anyone that legislation doesn’t work. You can have whatever laws, code of practice, standards and procedures you want, if they aren’t being enforced, they they aren’t worth the paper that they are printed on. Also remembering that legislation is the only ‘item’ that is enforcable.

Then over the weekend I came across a new article from Victoria where a Victorian Magistrate effectivly gave a puppy farm operator a slap on the wrist. This is despite the operator pleading guilty to 9 animal cruelty charges. No conviction was recorded nor were there costs awarded against the individual. This is despite the fact that Victoria is the place where the whole “Oscar’s Law” campaign began, and the government has vowed to crack down on puppy farms. It remains to be seen whether the RSPCA will put pressure on the DPP to appeal the sentence. You can read the article here

I believe that those who seek welfare reforms for non-human animals should look at other legislation that carries much harsher penalties and use that legislation to shut these places down. This is something that those at the meeting last week hadn’t thought of, and I am sure that they aren’t the only ones.

Remeber Al Capone wasn’t caught an imprisoned for his underworld activities, he was arrested and imprisoned for income tax evasion.

All this having been said, I still believe that vegan education and the promotion of it is the most effective item that we have at our disposal.