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FootprintsinSand

Dogs are sentient beings

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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-13/canberra-animal-laws-fine-owners-who-dont-exercise-dogs/11106158

 

Canberra set to recognise animals as 'sentient beings' that are able to feel and perceive in Australian first

Updated 17 minutes ago

Pet owners who keep their dogs locked up and do not allow them to exercise for longer than one day could face a fine of up to $4,000 under sweeping changes that enshrine animal feelings into ACT law.

Key points:

  • ACT to recognise animals as "sentient beings"
  • New laws include harsher fines for mistreatment
  • Pig dogging and steel-jaw traps banned

 

Under the bill, confinement is judged on the dog's size, age and physical condition.

And anyone found confining a dog for longer than 24 hours would have to provide two hours of exercise or pay the fine.

Under the proposed laws the ACT would become the first jurisdiction in the country to recognise animals as "sentient beings" — the idea that animals are able to feel and perceive the world.

The concept recognises that "animals have intrinsic value and deserve to be treated with compassion" and "people have a duty to care for the physical and mental welfare of animals".

"The science tells us that animals are sentient," ACT City Services Minister Chris Steel said.

"I know with my dog he gets very excited when we're about to go on a run.

"I think most dog owners, most cat owners know their animals do feel emotion."

The animal welfare amendments, to be introduced into the ACT Legislative Assembly this week, would establish a suite of additional offences, including hitting or kicking an animal, abandonment, and confinement in a car that is likely to cause the animal injury, stress or death.

A person would be allowed to legally break into a car to protect an animal from serious injury or death, if they acted honestly and there were no other reasonable options like calling the police.

Having an animal in a moving vehicle without proper restraint would also be punishable by up to one year in prison or a $16,000 fine or both.

 

The new laws would also create specific offences for failing to provide appropriate food, shelter, water, hygienic living, grooming and medical treatment to an animal.

For example, an owner could be prosecuted if their pet suffered an eye infection due to hair growing into its eyes, was impaired due to unclipped nails or had irritated skin due to fleas.

The bill also doubles penalties for cruelty to an animal to up to two years' imprisonment or a $32,000 fine or both, and increases punishments for aggravated cruelty to three years behind bars or a fine of $48,000 or both.

Fines would also apply for injuring animals and not reporting it — such as a car hitting an animal, including kangaroos.

New protections for guide dogs, assistance animals

For the first time in the ACT, guide dogs and other assistance animals would need to be accredited and listed on a register.

It would become an offence to prevent a person with an assistance animal entering a public place, remove an assistance animal or impose a charge for the animal — with a fine of up to $8,000 for an individual or $40,500 for a business.

And anyone caught pretending that an animal was an assistance animal would face a fine of up to $3,200.

 

Pig dogging — using dogs to hunt wild pigs — would also be banned under the laws.

"Dogs will still be allowed to go out hunting with a person but we're specifically looking at banning practices like pig dogging," Mr Steel said.

Steel-jaw traps, which have metal jaws that close against each other when an animal enters it, have been banned in other Australian states and would also not be permitted in the ACT.

Penalties would also apply for any trapping of animals without a permit.

Animal sentience could have broader implications

The ACT adheres to the national code of practice in culling animals, including in kangaroo culling, which is supported by the RSPCA.

Veterinarian Dr David Rizkalla, from the Gables Veterinary Group, said the recognition of sentience was a good place to start enforcing animal rights.

"It's more about protecting animals from people who can harm them, than giving animals better opportunities," he said.

But he said it was important to clearly define which animals were recognised as sentient.

"It could get in the way of the economy," he said.

"I think it has to be quite clear if you introduce that sort of thing to large animals, like cows.

"Farmers spend money on the animal if it gets them more money, it's a profit thing, it's not a sentimental value, it's an economic value."

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7 minutes ago, FootprintsinSand said:

Fines would also apply for injuring animals and not reporting it — such as a car hitting an animal, including kangaroos.

Good luck policing that one  :/   

 

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Two issues which come two mind are:

  • The 'rights' of Declared Dangerous  Dogs: Many jurisdictions require declared dangerous dogs to spend most of their lives confined to a child-proof enclosure in the back yard. They are not even allowed inside their owner's  house unless muzzled.
  • For mentally ill people, the distinction between a psychiatric assistance animal and an 'emotional support' animal. There seems to be a very grey line between the two although only a genuine assistance animal is allowed the access rights under the Disability Discrimination Act. I recently saw a person with a dog that had a jacket labelled 'Emotional Support Dog' in my local supermarket. Shopkeepers, taxi drivers etc are  often confused by the distinction.
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Scratch   
2 hours ago, FootprintsinSand said:

Veterinarian Dr David Rizkalla, from the Gables Veterinary Group, said the recognition of sentience was a good place to start enforcing animal rights.

"It's more about protecting animals from people who can harm them, than giving animals better opportunities," he said.

But he said it was important to clearly define which animals were recognised as sentient.

"It could get in the way of the economy," he said.

This is what jumps off the page at me.  All animals are sentient beings. And animal welfare absolutely should get in the way of the economy if it’s right for the animals! 

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Snook   
4 hours ago, Scratch said:

This is what jumps off the page at me.  All animals are sentient beings. And animal welfare absolutely should get in the way of the economy if it’s right for the animals! 

Absolutely! 

 

It's about time that people were forced to realise that shutting a dog in a back yard or house 24/7 isn't okay and that they need more than basic food, water and shelter. I also agree that economic interests should not trump animal welfare. It's not okay to be inhumane, cruel or neglectful to some animals, just because it makes money for people. 

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tdierikx   
7 hours ago, FootprintsinSand said:

But he said it was important to clearly define which animals were recognised as sentient.

"It could get in the way of the economy," he said.

"I think it has to be quite clear if you introduce that sort of thing to large animals, like cows.

Ummm... the 3 calves and numerous lambs/sheep, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, pigs, chickens, ducks, horses, donkeys, and alpaca I work with certainly all have their own distinct personalities... that would classify as sentient, wouldn't it?

 

Just because we humans may farm animals in large numbers for our own ends, doesn't mean each animal is not actually an individual or have feelings... and god forbid... have personalities.

 

Personally, I feel that happy, healthy animals are going to be the most productive, so it follows that increased levels of welfare are beneficial to both the animals involved... and the bottom line... yes?

 

... as long as the vegans aren't having too much say in any laws that may be being put forward.. *sigh*

 

T.

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Snook   
10 minutes ago, tdierikx said:

Ummm... the 3 calves and numerous lambs/sheep, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, pigs, chickens, ducks, horses, donkeys, and alpaca I work with certainly all have their own distinct personalities... that would classify as sentient, wouldn't it?

 

Just because we humans may farm animals in large numbers for our own ends, doesn't mean each animal is not actually an individual or have feelings... and god forbid... have personalities.

 

Personally, I feel that happy, healthy animals are going to be the most productive, so it follows that increased levels of welfare are beneficial to both the animals involved... and the bottom line... yes?

 

... as long as the vegans aren't having too much say in any laws that may be being put forward.. *sigh*

 

T.

Yes, it's terrible that some people don't think sentient beings should be slaughtered for food. Damn those vegans. By the way, I'm not vegan but the majority are not the people you see on TV breaking in to farms or storming in to restaurants. The majority find that behaviour unhelpful and harmful to the message of treating all animals with kindness and compassion. 

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asal   

"The ACT adheres to the national code of practice in culling animals, including in kangaroo culling, which is supported by the RSPCA.

Veterinarian Dr David Rizkalla, from the Gables Veterinary Group, said the recognition of sentience was a good place to start enforcing animal rights.

"It's more about protecting animals from people who can harm them, than giving animals better opportunities," he said.

But he said it was important to clearly define which animals were recognised as sentient.

"It could get in the way of the economy," he said.

"I think it has to be quite clear if you introduce that sort of thing to large animals, like cows.

"Farmers spend money on the animal if it gets them more money, it's a profit thing, it's not a sentimental value, it's an economic value."

 

 

Is this meant to say that its only going to be recognised as "sentient" if it isn't for example a roo going to be "culled" or a cow sold or slaughtered"?

 

as for

"Farmers spend money on the animal if it gets them more money, it's a profit thing, it's not a sentimental value, it's an economic value."

 

is this man  for real?  does he realise how many farmers spend a fortune looking after an animal during sickness or drought, paying costs way beyond what  can ever be made back by selling it?  

 

if it was solely "economic value" EVERYTHING would be sold when a drought strikes.....     economic sense is sell and wait for the drought to break... 

 

otherwise why havent the dairy farmers, being paid less than the cost of feeding their cattle tried for so long to keep their herds going....it sure was not for the income.

 

there was over 3,600 dairy farmers before the onset of this last drought and of course the $1 a ltre milk.  now there are some 600 left, the rest bankrupt.

 

stupid people, they liked their cattle and tried to find ways to keep them, even when they had no income to feed themselves, let alone the cattle in the end.

 

 

 

Edited by asal

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asal   
5 hours ago, tdierikx said:

Ummm... the 3 calves and numerous lambs/sheep, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, pigs, chickens, ducks, horses, donkeys, and alpaca I work with certainly all have their own distinct personalities... that would classify as sentient, wouldn't it?

 

Just because we humans may farm animals in large numbers for our own ends, doesn't mean each animal is not actually an individual or have feelings... and god forbid... have personalities.

 

Personally, I feel that happy, healthy animals are going to be the most productive, so it follows that increased levels of welfare are beneficial to both the animals involved... and the bottom line... yes?

 

... as long as the vegans aren't having too much say in any laws that may be being put forward.. *sigh*

 

T.

forget any hope of that.

 

the AR lot are sitting beside the pollies stroking their egos, while dictating word for word what they need to write to have the ar lot promise to vote for them .

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tdierikx   
11 hours ago, Snook said:

Yes, it's terrible that some people don't think sentient beings should be slaughtered for food. Damn those vegans. By the way, I'm not vegan but the majority are not the people you see on TV breaking in to farms or storming in to restaurants. The majority find that behaviour unhelpful and harmful to the message of treating all animals with kindness and compassion. 

Unfortunately the majority of the world's population eat meat or animal products of some kind. There are humane ways to prepare same for consumption, and this should be the norm IMHO.

 

There have been studies showing that plants react to unpleasant stimuli also... where do we draw the line?

 

T.

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14 hours ago, Snook said:

Yes, it's terrible that some people don't think sentient beings should be slaughtered for food. Damn those vegans. By the way, I'm not vegan but the majority are not the people you see on TV breaking in to farms or storming in to restaurants. The majority find that behaviour unhelpful and harmful to the message of treating all animals with kindness and compassion. 

Yes. The reality is animals have been killed and eaten by humans for many, many centuries and not much will change that. As a vegan who had to convert back for health reasons my main hope is that animals are killed quickly, correctly and in as least a stressful way as possible. My other hope is that human demand and consumption drops to a healthier more sustainable level as this will have a positive impact on the environment (due to mass farming practices to meet demand now) and without mass farming practices perhaps animals for meat will be raised in a more humane fashion. They may not have long lives but they don't also need to have shitty short ones.  I think the thought that hurts my heart most is all the waste, particularly with fast food - we are killing animals in record numbers and we are equally wasting just as much - half eaten burgers in bins, restaurants and supermarkets throwing out visually less than perfect food. If we are going to kill can we at least value it and respect how good we have it now? I also think there is a place for people with varied eating choices. It shouldn't be a competition (both within the eating groups or against). Mindful eating is probably something in all our best interests for our health, the care of farmed animals and our environment. We are very lucky to have an abundance of food regardless of it's type and origins.

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Snook   
4 hours ago, tdierikx said:

Unfortunately the majority of the world's population eat meat or animal products of some kind. There are humane ways to prepare same for consumption, and this should be the norm IMHO.

 

There have been studies showing that plants react to unpleasant stimuli also... where do we draw the line?

 

T.

At present, most animals used for food consumption meet their end in fear and terror at the slaughterhouse, after being transported like tinned sardines on trucks, regardless of weather. There's nothing humane about any of that and to be honest, I'm not sure that there is a humane way to kill an animal who doesn't want to die. A bolt to the head or being thrown alive in to meat grinder certainly aren't humane. 

 

Plants react to unpleasant stimuli but they do not have brains, central nervous systems, or sentience. That seems like a good place to draw the line. 

 

 

1 hour ago, Little Gifts said:

Yes. The reality is animals have been killed and eaten by humans for many, many centuries and not much will change that. As a vegan who had to convert back for health reasons my main hope is that animals are killed quickly, correctly and in as least a stressful way as possible. My other hope is that human demand and consumption drops to a healthier more sustainable level as this will have a positive impact on the environment (due to mass farming practices to meet demand now) and without mass farming practices perhaps animals for meat will be raised in a more humane fashion. They may not have long lives but they don't also need to have shitty short ones.  I think the thought that hurts my heart most is all the waste, particularly with fast food - we are killing animals in record numbers and we are equally wasting just as much - half eaten burgers in bins, restaurants and supermarkets throwing out visually less than perfect food. If we are going to kill can we at least value it and respect how good we have it now? I also think there is a place for people with varied eating choices. It shouldn't be a competition (both within the eating groups or against). Mindful eating is probably something in all our best interests for our health, the care of farmed animals and our environment. We are very lucky to have an abundance of food regardless of it's type and origins.

The consumption of meat and dairy on a per capita basis, particularly in the developed world, is extraordinary and incredibly excessive. Our population growth and demand for unlimited cheap food has been terrible for animals and the planet as a whole. It's extremely hard to get my head around just how many animals are subjected to dreadful lives and then slaughtered en masse these days.

 

My turning point was a few years ago when I was sitting in 40C heat in the little unairconditioned car I had at the time, with all the windows down and struggling to stop myself from vomiting because it was so hot in my car. A few vehicles ahead of me was truck loaded to the brim with sheep, with nowhere near the air flow I had in my car and animals who were able to poke their heads out, looking to be in serious distress. How is that humane? Or legal? Animals shouldn't have to suffer like that for our convenience and desire for food that has so little value, that we throw away exorbitant amounts every year. 

 

If everyone was, as you said, mindful about their consumption, and reduced it significantly, it would have a much, much bigger impact on the welfare of animals than a small percentage cutting meat and other animal products out completely. 

 

 

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asal   

sadly the fact that farmers are seen as a population to be fleeced until bankruptcy in the quest for "cheap food" for the city dwellers means the family farm where animals were kept and bred by people who actually like them, be it meat or milk they are going to the wall in thousands because they cannot make enough to feed themselves anymore, Let alone their animals, the drought just speeded it up. before the drought there was some 3,600 dairy farmers, now there are some 600... big business is moving in and creating factory farms and that is not good for the animals.. all the photos of the dairy cruelty to the calves and the cattle are factory, employee farms, to them, they are just a job. there is no history, no third or fourth or fifth generation of the both the people looking after them or the animals descended from the original herd bred there for generations. Descended from Rose, Tonia, Lennie, Snowy..... the family pets that never see a meatworks, that live out their lives at home... the side no one talks about, because you might look silly.

 

once that link is lost they are just numbers, tags and microchip numbers.

 

cannot have cheap meat and milk and a family run farm, they cant survive and they are not

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tdierikx   
5 hours ago, asal said:

sadly the fact that farmers are seen as a population to be fleeced until bankruptcy in the quest for "cheap food" for the city dwellers means the family farm where animals were kept and bred by people who actually like them, be it meat or milk they are going to the wall in thousands because they cannot make enough to feed themselves anymore, Let alone their animals, the drought just speeded it up. before the drought there was some 3,600 dairy farmers, now there are some 600... big business is moving in and creating factory farms and that is not good for the animals.. all the photos of the dairy cruelty to the calves and the cattle are factory, employee farms, to them, they are just a job. there is no history, no third or fourth or fifth generation of the both the people looking after them or the animals descended from the original herd bred there for generations. Descended from Rose, Tonia, Lennie, Snowy..... the family pets that never see a meatworks, that live out their lives at home... the side no one talks about, because you might look silly.

 

once that link is lost they are just numbers, tags and microchip numbers.

 

cannot have cheap meat and milk and a family run farm, they cant survive and they are not

I agree... factory farming isn't the answer...

 

T.

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Lhok   

Plants are incredible, some can even tell other plants about their experiences. Not to mention they can and have warned animals of incoming danger like earthquakes, scientists have been trying to figure it out so that they can get a similar early warning/detection system in place.  I remember reading a book called bats sing mice giggle, which had an experiment in it (a couple in fact) about how they got a person to rip the leaves off a plant and then leave the room. Then more people entered but it wasn't until the leaf ripper came into the room that the plant got stressed and then that plant sent out stressor signals to the other plants in the room and they got stressed as well. The leaf ripper left the room and the plants started to de stress.

Plants also don't want to be eaten either in most cases, its why they have evolved natural pesticides and poisons and things like thorns.

--Lhok

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asal   

The saddest thing I saw was a video on utube, an antelope had been grabbed on the back by a golden eagle. The eagle then proceeded to eat the back muscles of the severely stressed out antelope, why it didn't throw itself down and roll on the eagle...  it was obvious the eagle had done this before.

 

Yet we hear all the time how much the human race is cruel. 

 

the distress of that antelope was terrible, whether it will recover from the damage or survive for how long after until infection sets in is anyone's guess

 

 

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I originally intended this thread to be about dogs as this is a dog forum. I notice that on a Canberra facebook page posters are mainly concerned about having to walk dogs every second day and wondering how it will be policed.  I personally welcomed the concern about dogs being kept on chains or otherwise confined which I think is so cruel but it is not illegal so long as they are provided with water and shelter. I have a neighbour who keeps their dog this way and it distresses me. Not an immediate neighbour thankfully but the immediate neighbour says she can't bear to hear the chain clinking as the dog moves during the day.

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Snook   
8 minutes ago, FootprintsinSand said:

I originally intended this thread to be about dogs as this is a dog forum. I notice that on a Canberra facebook page posters are mainly concerned about having to walk dogs every second day and wondering how it will be policed.  I personally welcomed the concern about dogs being kept on chains or otherwise confined which I think is so cruel but it is not illegal so long as they are provided with water and shelter. I have a neighbour who keeps their dog this way and it distresses me. Not an immediate neighbour thankfully but the immediate neighbour says she can't bear to hear the chain clinking as the dog moves during the day.

It breaks my heart that so many dogs are neglected and there's nothing that can be done if the basic legal requirenents of food, water and shelter are being met. The dogs who live in the place that backs on to mine aren't chained but they're outside 24/7 and in the years and years I've lived here, I've never heard the owners interact with them when they're outside, beyond yelling at them or chucking them a bone. I'm not aware of them ever leaving the yard either. I realise that doesn't mean they don't and maybe they're getting walked at 5am or something, but I highly doubt it. I hope that even if the proposed laws can't be policed well, they at least kick some owners up the arse and make them realise they're not doing enough for their dogs. 

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ish   
11 hours ago, Snook said:

, I'm not sure that there is a humane way to kill an animal who doesn't want to die. 

I heard one of the animal lib representatives use this phrase on telly and it’s really stuck with me (because it’s such bullshit, not because it’s deep & thought provoking)

In the past 6 months I’ve had my 2 very old dogs put to sleep. Did they want to die? I’d say no, though I didn’t ask them. Once, I put a dog to sleep for behavioural reasons, she definitely didn’t want to die - she was young and healthy. Is there ever an animal who wants to die? 

We, the humans, get to make the call and get to make it humane for their best interests. My animals definitely passed away humanely, despite any protests about it anyone not involved in their situation could imagine they had. 

 

I wonder if you’ll  remember those words to yourself when it comes time for you to say goodbye to your pets?

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tdierikx   

I'll concede that euthanaisia of a sick or injured animal is more humane than the slaughter practices of animals for human consumption. However, we can't inject food animals with toxic substances if we are going to consume the meat...

 

Humans are intrinsically designed to require certain nutrients for our own health and survival... and a good portion of those nutrients come from animal products, be it meat or otherwise (eggs, for example). A strict vegan diet cannot possibly provide the levels of nutrients that we need long term to survive and thrive.

 

As has been suggested, we need to find that in-between solution to the issue of how we provide ourselves with food (from animal sources)... and be mindful of waste when consuming same.

 

As for being forced to walk your dogs at least every second day, I have a dog that stresses terribly when out and about... she gets plenty of exercise being played with in my yard, and would much prefer to lounge on the couch or sleep in her crate than go for a walk. I'd be very ticked off if I was forced to stress her out every second day "for her own good"... *sigh*

 

If we are going to recognise sentience in our pets, then we need to go that extra step and recognise that each is also an individual, and thus blanket rules for their care simply can't work. And policing such rules is going to be a nightmare for those tasked with it... they can't cope with the current rule enforcement as it is...

 

T.

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