September 26, 2014

Ethics and education

Debbie doing her group presentation in 2007

Two of our classes got together yesterday to finish their Ethics and Animal Welfare projects with a presentation to other students.  They have been working in groups for the last month to research and discuss their chosen area with friends, family, and workplaces.  I am always incredibly impressed with the information they find and the quality of their projects, whether powerpoints, posters, role plays, or even sometimes movies.

The range of topics they explore still fascinates me too. For example, yesterday we learned about Circuses, Rodeos, Tail Docking, Halal Slaughter, Battery chickens, Puppy Mills, Dancing Bears, Dog Fighting, to name just some of them... they look at how they breach the Five Freedoms required when caring for animals in New Zealand.

As a responsible pet owner, you must provide your pet with the Five Freedoms: 
Freedom from hunger or thirst
Every animal must always have access to clean fresh water. You must provide proper and sufficient food for good health and weight.

Freedom from discomfort and inadequate shelter
Shelter must be weather proof, free from drafts, wind, rain and full sun. Dogs must be able to stand up and comfortably be able to turn around in their kennel. In the cold weather, pets need more care and attention. Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, in fact most types of animals, you must make sure it is warm and comfortable.

Freedom from disease and injury
Get prompt vet treatment if your animal is sick or injured. We recommend that your animal is kept up to date with their vaccinations, worming and flea treatments to help prevent them from getting sick. Also keeping their environment clean and free from any hazards can help to stop injuries and disease.

Freedom from distress and pain
Always handle animals in a way that won’t injure or cause unreasonable pain or distress to the animal.

Freedom to display normal behaviour
You are obligated to meet your animal's behavioural needs and provide an environment so they can display normal behaviour. Some good ways of doing this are adequate exercise, toys, scratching posts etc and an opportunity to play. Leaving a dog tied up for long periods is not acceptable.

These freedoms are requirements under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and you may be prosecuted if you fail in your duty as a pet owner to provide them.
The students also consider whether there is a NZ Code of Recommendations governing their use in New Zealand - and in many cases, compare NZ to the situation in other countries.
For example, rodeos have been an area of controversy for many years....

and thanks to the Circus Code or Recommendations, animals in circuses are no longer seen in New Zealand.

We have one of the strongest Animal Welfare Acts in the world.  It does help to stop situations like the Dancing Bears of India.

Sadly, nothing will stop human cruelty.

The Link between Violence to Animals and People 
Historically, violence to animals has been viewed as an issue separate from other forms of violence. However, cruelty to animals, particularly companion animals, is now seen as a part of the landscape of family violence and a risk to human health, safety and welfare with strong links to child maltreatment, domestic violence and elder abuse. “Link” advocates believe that people are at risk when animals are abused, and that animals are at risk when people are abused. Since no forms of family violence should be tolerated, the disciplines involved should collaborate for a more effective, comprehensive approach to
reduce violence. 
A growing and compelling body of research is confirming these links and describing animal abuse as a predictor and indicator crime that often signals serious interpersonal aggression and familial dysfunction.  
People who abuse animals have been found to be significantly more likely to commit violent crimes, domestic violence and other antisocial behaviors. Caseworkers in any one field must be trained to observe for other manifestations of family violence and to report them to appropriate authorities. 
Animal cruelty perpetrated or witnessed by youths is no longer seen as a benign stage of growing up but rather as one of the earliest diagnostic indicators of conduct disorder. A history of animal abuse is one of the four most significant risk factors of someone becoming a domestic violence batterer, and batterers who also abuse animals are more violent and use more types of controlling behaviors against their intimate partners.          
This growing awareness is resulting in a variety of responses addressing The Link. These include: pet foster care and housing programs for domestic violence survivors; inclusion of animals in domestic violence protection-from-abuse court orders; legislation enabling or requiring veterinarians, child protection workers and animal shelter personnel to report suspected abuse; increased criminal penalties and psychological assessment and counselling for animal abuse offenders; training at-risk youth in nonviolent
conflict-resolution competencies through animal-assisted interventions; development of veterinary forensic sciences to facilitate animal cruelty prosecutions; and establishing community and national multidisciplinary coalitions based upon The Link between animal abuse and human violence.

So it was an interesting morning.... hard to watch at times, but the bit that made me cry was watching this movie...

You can read the back ground here:

Choosing free range eggs and chicken..
Free farmed Pork?
What are you doing to reduce cruelty to animals?

1 comment:

  1. A very informative and thought-provoking post Fiona. The one sentence that resonates in my mind though is 'Sadly, nothing will stop human cruelty' and not just to animals!


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