Odd Animal Laws, Odd Culture

This is a guest post by Kenji Crosland, a writer for TeachStreet.  Teachstreet is a website that provides online and local classes, including classes on law and pet training classes.

In the effort to preserve a certain semblance of order certain laws (don’t steal, don’t kill) have been universal since Hammurabi, although the punishments for disobeying these laws have varied greatly. Laws concerning animal cruelty, however, are unique in that they are not necessarily “required,” to keep the peace.  For a society to establish animal cruelty laws it needs to reach a certain level of moral development.  These laws, just like the humans who created them, however, aren’t perfect, and those imperfections can give us insights into a particular culture.

These days, India and countries in Europe seem to be the most progressive, while others like China are slowly adding laws to the books.  The US is a study in contrasts: while some states are on the progressive side, there are others that are far from it.          Continue reading

Animal Cruelty Now a Felony in Arkansas

As of July 29th, 2009 (last Friday), animal cruelty became a felony in ArkansasAct 33 makes torturing a dog, cat or horse a felony on first offense, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and a $10k fine.  There’s a 5 year sentencing enhancement if any of these acts are committed in front of a child.  That last provision brings up the issue of who lawmakers perceive as the true victims of animal cruelty — the animals who endure the cruelty or the people who witness it (Luis has written compellingly on this very issue).  But I’ll not cavil about this or why the law only extends to dogs, cats and horses.

My president keeps telling me not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  So, while I’m trying not to cry over the state of health care reform, I’ll be happy about the fact that this law has actual teeth and represents a significant step forward for animal protection.

–David Cassuto