Humane Legislation: Changing the Landscape for Animals "Until we extend our circle of compassion, humanity will not find peace." Albert Schweitzer
Humane laws have the potential to improve life for all animals, not just those directly affected by a specific piece of legislation.
When Massachusetts animal lovers formed Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets to stop an inhumane new business model--the pet rental trade--they didn't just save some dogs and cats from being passed around for profit, an hour here, a day there.
The law sends a clear message: Dogs and cats are sentient beings; it is wrong to use and return them as if they were cars or DVDs, a practice that encourages pet abandonment.
One Good Law, Many Benefits Similarly, prohibiting devocalization protects animals from a dangerous elective surgery that gives them no benefit, only lifelong suffering or a terrible, premature death.
But devocalization bans sponsored by Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets--solid laws that protect all dogs and cats in the state or municipality--also put the damper on backyard breeding and overcrowded kennels. The sound of many dogs or cats would shut down a breeding enterprise when neighbors complain, or alert authorities to one that is operating illegally.
And like banning pet renting, prohibiting convenience and cosmetic surgeries serves to deepen the human-animal bond by acknowledging that animals are feeling, thinking beings, not mere property.
Protecting One Species Benefits All Laws protecting protect dogs and cats, with whom humans are most closely bonded, also extend our circle of compassion by enlightening the public that all animals deserve to be safe from inflicted pain and anguish. Humane legislation and education are a gateway to a kinder, more respectful society for animals and humans alike. Sadly, despite all we now know about animals, some people still consider them toys or fashion accessories, hobbies or profit centers, to treat any way they deem fit. That's why humane laws are needed. And it's why certain lobbies fight them.
The good news: You can influence lawmakers for the betterment of animals, and you don't need money, lobbyists or even a formal organization to do it.
What You Do Need to Help Pass Good Laws: Awareness and Action Online petitions do not influence lawmakers. Direct contact does. You must take action if you want to help animals. But you need to do it with eyes wide open.
Never follow even a trusted animal organization blindly. Always read and make sure you understand the legislation you're being asked to support. You can find it on the legislature's website and ask the lawmakers who represent your district to explain it to you.
In Massachusetts, a law sponsored by the MSPCA and several other organizations included a provision that repealed a key animal-protection provision of the 2010 devocalization ban.
Every voice matters. Use yours to advocate for those with none. And use your critical thinking skills too!