“Now where did I put my animal cruelty laws….” Selling live animals as keychains

Margaret Maigret

An earlier post about fur farming in China reminded me of the heinous animal offenses that people will overlook to possess something as silly as a rabbit’s foot keychain. I remember reading the post and thinking, Wow—could there possibly be a more constant reminder of animal cruelty than a rabbit’s foot keychain?”

Well, you can now buy live animals to attach to your keys so as to help you not be so forgetful in the mornings. That’s right, for the U.S. equivalent of $1.50 (plus a visit to the streets of Beijing), you can purchase a small fish or turtle to carry with you throughout your day, hang from the steering wheel as you drive your car, keep in your purse while you are at work, and throw on the counter after a long day at the office. How else to respond to criticisms that killing animals for useless trinkets is too harsh? Manufacturers in China have now outsourced their cruelty to consumers.  Continue reading

Romeo’s Law

Gillian Lyons

In response to public outcry of a videotaped beating of a Labrador Retriever, Romeo- on April 16, 2008 Kentucky passed S.B. 58 (dubbed Romeo’s law) which amended § 525.135 to state that the “torture of a dog or cat is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class D felony for each subsequent offense if the dog or cat suffers physical injury as a result of the torture, and a Class D felony if the dog or cat suffers serious physical injury or death as a result of the torture.”

According to the ALDF website- attorneys have prosecuted the first successful case under this law- resulting in a felony conviction of a man who stabbed two cats to death.  The article regarding the case can be found here.

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Why do anti-cruelty laws protect companion animals more than non-companion animals?

Most jurisdictions punish animal cruelty more severely if the creature harmed is a “companion animal”. Is it justified to afford more legal protection to companion animals than to non-companion animals? Some would argue that it is not. If what makes non human animals worthy of legal protection is that they are capable of feeling pain, distinguishing between companion and non companion animals for legal purposes appears to be unwarranted. The line should be drawn, the argument would go, between sentient and non-sentient animals rather than between companion and companion animals. Therefore, unjustifiably inflicting pain on a sentient animal should be punished in the same manner regardless of whether the creature harmed is a companion or non companion animal.

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