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Animal lovers support proposal to legally recognize animals’ feelings

Male rhino Eco from the National Zoo & Aquarium

Animal carers have shown support for how the ACT may become the first Australian jurisdiction to legally recognize animals’ feelings.

The proposal seeks the consideration of the physical and emotional wellbeing of animals in animal protection laws.

This Australian first has drawn the attention of many, especially those who work in close proximity to animals or those with a general love for them.

The suggested legislation, in addition to preexisting laws, could further criminalize animal cruelty, establish stronger procedures of enforcement, prosecution, and penalization, and decrease the issue of commercial or domestic abuse.

Volunteer at the Alaskan Malamute Rehoming Aid Association (AMRAA) Heidi Carmona shows support of how this proposal could stop unfit individuals from getting or keeping animals; although, the laws in place could be improved with this additional consideration.

“I know that there are laws protecting animals, but unfortunately animals are treated badly or neglected prior to action being taken. There should definitely be a blacklist of people who can’t own or shouldn’t own animals due to past bad treatment of them” Carmona says.

Senior Keeper at Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium Annii Downing also backs the suggested legislation as one who encounters various animals on a daily basis. Downing recounts first-hand experience of observing various species and their grieving periods after losing a partner, which is one of many examples of animal emotion.

“They all feel. They all have the ability to grieve and be sad, and that’s becoming more and more proven I think.”

“It’s good that the ACT finally recognizes it, because most zoos have recognized it for a long time” Downing says.

Review of the proposed legislation continues, but now it moves forward with the unity and support from animal lovers and professional caretakers.

Foster dog Buddy from AMRAA

Audio feature: The ACT may become the first Australian jurisdiction to legally recognize animals’ feelings in welfare laws. Animal carers show their support in hopes this change will finally give a voice to furry, scaled, or feathered friends. Taylor Warren has the story.

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