Animal welfare has become an increasingly familiar notion in today’s world.
Though shocking acts of animal cruelty do still occur – sometimes on a large scale – it would be fair to say that our society is far more enlightened and aware of such behaviour than previous generations.
Though some might consider the plight of animals a secondary concern, there is surely no reason for the extended suffering of the creatures with which we share planet Earth, particularly at the hands of humans.
Celebrities – perhaps most notably Ricky Gervais – have done much to raise awareness of animal cruelty and its perpetrators, though clearly there is still much to be done to protect animals that are relatively hapless in the hands of their human owners.
It would seem that the United States has taken steps to improve the ways in which animal abusers are monitored, after reports emerged that an ever increasing number of states and counties are introducing an official registry on animal abusers.
The Independent reports that the register works in a similar manner to the sex offenders’ register, storing details of the perpetrators in a bid to protect the welfare of animals in the United States.
The register allows pet stories and animal shelters to check that potential owners do not have a documented history of animal abuse, while also providing a method by which potential “pet-sitters” can be checked for a similarly chequered past.
It would seem that the implications of the register go beyond animal cruelty as well, as The Independent reports that “studies have shown people who are cruel to animals are more likely to enact violent crime against people.”
The state of Tennessee became the first to implement the register in January 2016, following in the footsteps of a handful of smaller regions in New York state – including New York City.
With Tampa joining the list of counties who employ the register in September; Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas and Washington are all currently considering similar propositions.
As Kevin Beckner, the commissioner of Hillsborough County in Florida remarked when the law was passed in the city of Tampa; “This registry not only protects animals, but it can identify – and maybe even prevent – violence against humans, too”.
It is believed that not all registers will have details available for public consumption, although those in Tennessee will be able to view the personal information of those in the state who have been convicted of animal cruelty, including their names and addresses, as well as the details of their crime.
In the United Kingdom, a petition for the government to consider enacting a similar directive attracted thousands of signatures, though was ended early when the general election was called.
Many will be heartened to hear of the several US states and counties that are enacting – or considering – the register, and it would seem that any method attempting to guard the future safety of animals is a positive step in the onward march.