Ethics and Legal Systems of Animal Welfare Laws
Info: 8131 words (33 pages) Dissertation
Published: 16th Dec 2019
Table of Contents
A Critical Review of Varying Forms of Ethics (Pass 1.1)
The History of Morality (Pass 1.4)
Law and Legal Systems in the United Kingdom (Pass 2.1)
How Is New Legislation Formulated in the United Kingdom? (Pass 2.3)
The Relationship Between EU and UK Legislation (Pass 2.4)
A Review of EU Legislation (Pass 2.5)
In order to further understand the management of animals it is important to have a comprehensive knowledge of the animal welfare laws and the varying forms of ethics surrounding the animal field.
This assignment will discuss and critically review the main ethical forms, give an overview of the history of morality by looking at the diverse views of many philosophers, explain the role of law and legal systems in the United Kingdom, observe how new legislations are formed, discuss the relationship between European Union and United Kingdom legislation, and review the international significance of varying EU legislations.
A Critical Review of Varying Forms of Ethics (Pass 1.1)
Ethics are involved in the day to day life of everyone. They dictate the decisions that people make and help to develop opinions on many subjects. There are many different forms of ethics, however the main types of ethics are; results – based, duty – based, and character – based.
Results – based ethics is also known as Consequentialism. This type of ethics is formed of two principles:
- An act is right or wrong dependent on the results the act produces
- The more ‘good’ consequences that are produced as a result of that act means that the act is better or ‘more right’
This type of ethics gives people the guidance necessary when faced with moral dilemmas on how to chose the option that maximises the ‘good’ consequences or outcomes. This can provide people with an ethical attitude when making life choices. There are different forms of consequentialism dependent on what positive outcome should be maximised: Utilitarianism and Hedonism. Utilitarianism is the act in which decisions are made on the basis that the act produces the most beneficial outcomes for the greatest number of individuals. (Future of Working, n.d.). Hedonism is the view that our actions should be based on maximising pleasure and happiness and minimizing pain. (BLTC, n.d.).
Duty-based ethics, also known as Deontological ethics, focuses on the actions of people rather than the consequences of their actions. People should do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do, and to avoid doing wrong things as they are wrong. This type of ethics is sometimes classified as non-Consequentialist, as an action cannot be justified by showing whether it produced good consequences or not. If an individual decides to adopt deontological ethics throughout their life they will follow moral rules, such as:
- Killing innocent people is wrong
- Stealing is wrong
- Telling lies is wrong
- Keeping promises is right
People who follow this type of ethics will often chose the right act even if it produces more harm, or less benefits, than chosing the wrong act.
Character-based ethics is also known as Virtue ethics. This type of ethics is based on personal character rather than the consequences of the act. If an individual desires to live their live in a righteous manner, they will aim to possess the characteristics and behaviours of a good person. This type of ethics is more focused on life choices rather than just particular actions; it is suggested that if people were to adopt virtue ethics throughout their lives, it will help to build a better society overall rather than using punishments and laws to prevent wrong actions. (BBC, 2014).
The History of Morality (Pass 1.4)
Morality is defined as “a system of behaviour in regards to standards of right or wrong behaviour”. (All About Philosophy, 2018). The word is comprised of several concepts: moral standards, moral responsibility and a moral identity. Morality affects behaviour, concience, and the society in which we live in. Morals were first considered in Grecian times when the Athenians began to trade (Seven Pillars Institute, n.d.), and since then they have developed to take into consideration many issues, such as animal welfare. The following timeline shows the development of ethics throughout history.
Pythagoras (570 – 495 B.C.) – Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician and philosopher; it is said that Pythagoras is “widely regarded as the founder of modern mathematics, musical theory, philosophy and the science of health (hygiene)” (Nietzsche, F. n.d.). One of Pythagoras’ beliefs was that the soul was immortal and after death the souls of humans migrated into other bodies, including animals. This view gave him the opinion that all living things are equal, and so for ethical reasons he lived and advocated the vegetarian lifestyle. As well as being a vegetarian, Pythagoras reprimanded against the practice of animal sacrifice and instead promoted animal justice – according to Nietzsche (n.d.) Pythagoras “corrected and instructed savage animals rather than causing them injury or death”.
Aristotle (384 – 322 B.C.) – Aristotle’s thoughts spanned many subjects: biology, physics, politics, music, logic, metaphysics and ethics (Animal Ethics, n.d.). His thoughts on animal welfare and rights were differing to that of Pythagoras. He believed that because animals cannot reason, they should be held below humans, and therefore animals can be used without giving them the consideration we would give to humans. (Animal Ethics, n.d.). This view is a common theme in today’s society as many people agree that animals do not have rights as they are not sentient beings.
St Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 74) – Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican monk and developed a philosophy called Thomism. Aquinas attempted to absorb the rational ideas of Aristotle and ancient Greek philosophy into his faith, the Catholic Church (Animal Ethics, n.d.). His views on animals rights meet somewhere in between the views of Pythagoras and Aristotle; Aquinas wrote in Summa Theologica that because animals and plants were made by God for the purpose of man, and that because animals are unable to reason, what a man decides to do with the animal is up to that individual. However, if an individual kills another man’s animal it is considered a sin and therefore will have to deal with the consequences. (Animal Ethics, n.d.).
Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 92) – Michel de Montaigne believed that humans held themselves above animals even though we are all similar. He held this belief because of the resemblance in the way that human animals and other animals live their lives – “He [Montaigne] points out that we eat, reproduce, protect our young, and generally try to survive right along with all the other animals.” (Ethics Beyond Compliance, n.d.). Montaigne also suggests that the belief that animals were created by God for the use of humans poses a threat to humanity; if humans declare themselves superior to animals based on this, humans are just as likely to declare themselves superior to other human beings. (Ethics Beyond Compliance, n.d.).
Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650) – Descartes, a French philosopher and mathematician, held strong views on the status of animals. He believed that animals cannot reason or feel pain; he compared them to mechanical robots (Animal Ethics, n.d.). He believed that humans were superior to animals as we have a conscience, have minds and souls and can educate ourselves, meaning they should only be deserving of compassion. (Animal Ethics, n.d.). This was regrettable for animals as science seemed to adopt Descartes’ views, meaning their welfare was compromised for scientific reasoning as supposedly animals are unfeeling.
Nicholas Fontaine (Estimated similar dates to Rene Descartes) – There is little information on Fontaine, however a statement he made in relation to the attitudes of Descartes and those who adopted his views can be witnessed in many animal rights books. Fontaine stated that he witnessed scientists “administer beating to dogs with perfect in-difference” and “made fun of those who pitied the creatures” (Regan, T. 2001). This suggests that he pitied those animals subject to the cruelness from the scientists; this is an attitude adopted by many people in today’s society, with specific societies such as the RSPCA aiming to end cruelness towards animals.
Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1805) – The views of Kant are very similar to the views of Aristotle. According to Korsgaard (2012) Kant suggested that animals are mere means and ‘instruments’ to be used for human purpose. Kant held these opinions as he believed that animals are not autonomous, but humans are. Autonomy is the freedom that humans hold to be able to pursue our own goals; in order to achieve these goals the individual must have free will, which in turn requires self conciousness and the ability to be guided by reason; therefore Kant believed that animals did not need to be treated equally to humans. (CSUS, n.d.)
Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832) – Before animal rights were even considered, a shift in public attitudes and opinions was necessary – it is thought that Bentham played a vital role in this change. Bentham defined utilitarianism, as his views reflected that if an individual’s actions are ‘right’, the happiness, pleasure and good results will benefit the greatest number of people (Animal Ethics, n.d.). His views towards animals are opposing to the views of other philosophers, such as Kant, as he believed that even though animals are unable to vocalise or reason, they should be considered as they may be able to experience suffering. A famous quote by Bentham in relation to animal rights can commonly be observed throughout the animal rights movement; “The question is not can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But can they suffer?” (Sherry, 2009).
Peter Singer (1946 – present) – Singer is one of the most commonly known philosophers in the present day. He was one of the pioneers of the animal rights movement through the publication of his book Animal Liberation. (Vuletic, 2018). Singer’s views on animal rights is that the consideration that human beings receive should be extended to non – human animals too. Singer argues that all beings that are capable of experiencing suffering should receive the same levels of respect; this presents the idea of Speciesism – discrimination of varying species. (Super Summary, n.d.). Animal Liberation also discusses the concept of Utilitiarianism, in that actions that produce the greater good are the only acceptable measures of good or ethical behaviour.
In my opinion, the origin of animal ethics began during the time of Michel Montaigne. I hold this view as Montaigne highlighted the similarities between humans and non – human animals. Before the views of Montaigne were published I feel that there was little understanding of animals, as many of the thoughts held by other philosophers, such as Aristole and St. Thomas Aquinas, were driven by religion; animals were created by God for human purpose. Due to the similarities that humans and animals share, it would be unacceptable to completely disregard non – human animals, and assume they do not have the capability to suffer and feel other emotions purely based on the fact that they cannot speak out. As animals have been used throughout the course of history for purposes such as farming, transport, and sports, it is unrealistic to see a future where animals will ever be regarded at the same level of human beings. I feel that by keeping in mind the views of Montaigne, animal welfare can continue to be improved through the work of organisations such as the RSPCA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
Law and Legal Systems in the United Kingdom (Pass 2.1)
Laws control almost everything and they affect everyone’s day to day lives. A law is a system of rules that regulate the actions of people which are enforced through punishments and penalties. If a law is broken it is called an offence; for someone to be punished for breaking the law the individual must have both guilty knowledge and have commited the guilty act. There are two different kinds of offences that a person can commit; a criminal offence and a civil offence. A criminal offence is punishable by law and is usually considered to be an ‘evil’ act that can threaten or harm public safety. A civil offence is essentially a dispute of private rights between individuals, for example; contracts, property and family law (Slater Gordon Lawyer, 2018). If a person is to be convicted of an offence there are many factors which must be taken into consideration, such as the Age of Criminal Offence. This is the age in which the individual is of age to be punished; in the United Kingdom children under ten years of age cannot be arrested or charged with a crime. If a child under this age does commit a crime, they will be given either a Local Child Curfew or a Child Safety Order (GOV.UK, n.d.).
In regards to animal welfare, laws are essential to protect those without a voice. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 sets out the standards for keeping animals, and those who do not abide by these may be punished – the punishment for animal cruelty has been increased this year from 6 months maximum prison sentence, to up to 5 years in jail (GOV.UK, 2018).
The UK Legal System is comprised of many component parts; these play many varying roles, however they are all essential.
Magistrates Court – All criminal cases start here; animal crimes often remain in this court because of their low penalties. This type of court often deals with the following offences: motoring, criminal damage, common assault that has not caused significant injury, burglary and drug offences. However, these above offences are known as ‘either way’ offences as they can be heard in a magistrates or a crown court. Court hearings in a magistrates court are heard by 2 or 3 magistrates, or a district judge. There is no jury present in this type of court; all decisions are made by the magistrates or the judge. Any serious cases that the magistrates court deal with, such as murder, rape and robbery, are passed to the Crown Court; these are ‘indictable offences’ (GOV. UK, n.d.). A magistrates court can give many different sentences: a 6 month prison sentence (or up to 12 months in total for numerous offences), a fine, a community sentence, such as community service, and a ban; e.g. a driving ban or for keeping animals. There are many varying roles in a Magistrates Court:
- The Magistrates (Justice of the Peace) – These are in charge of the court room. There are usually three maigstrates and they dictate the verdict of the court hearing.
- The Legal Advisor – These take care of all papers required during the trial.
- The Defendant – The accused individual. They do not usually speak during the trial.
- The Defence Lawyer – Their job is to aid the defendant is proving they are innocent by presenting their side of the story. The lawyer is able to ask the witness questions.
- The Usher – Their responsibility is to tell the correct person to enter the courtroom when appropriate.
- The Witness – An individual that may have observed the crime. They usually stand in the witness box and answers any questions.
- The Prosecution Lawyer – Their responsibility is to try and prove that the defendant has broken the law. They present evidence and ask the witness questions about what they witnessed or heard in relation to the crime.
- The Public Gallery – This is open to the public; they can sit quietly and listen during the trials.
(Leicestershire Police, n.d.)
Crown Court – The Crown Court is responsible for dealing with any serious crimes; it can give varying sentences; community sentences and prison sentences (including life sentences). The Crown Court is made up of several varying bodies, similar to those present in a Magistrates Court. However there is a Judge, a Jury, a note taker and a clerk present:
- The Judge – Has the responsibility to ensure all witnesses have the opportunity to tell the court their dictation of the situation. The judge will ensure each individual brought to the stand clearly understands the questions they have been asked.
- The Clerk – Sits at the front of the court to take care of all paperwork required during each trial.
- The Jury – Is made up of twelve regular people who have no information about the trial before it commences. They are responsible for listening to all witnesses and to come to an agreement about whether the defendant is guilty. .
- The Note Taker – These type out everything that is said throughout the trial.
(Leicestershire Police, n.d.)
County Court – The County Court deals with civil matters. The types of issues this type of court deals with can vary, such as: businesses trying to retrieve money they are owed, individuals aiming to receive compensation, and landowners seeking orders to prevent people tresspassing on their property. The majority of County Court cases are assigned with a circuit judge and a district judge. A circuit judge hears cases that are worth high amounts of money but are not complex matters. A district judge is responsible for keeping the case running smoothly, as well as dealing with repossessions and assessing damages (Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, n.d.).
High Court – This is the third highest court in the United Kingdom. This type of court deals with non – criminal, civil cases. This court is based in London at the Royal Courts of Justice, however there are district registries throughout England and Wales (In Brief, n.d.). Cases within a High Court are usually heard by one single judge; however, specific types of hearings (criminal appeals and judicial reviews) are assigned to a Divisional Court where there are two or more judges present. A jury will occassionally be present in the High Court, however only when the case involves defamation, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and fraud (In Brief, n.d.).
Court of Appeal – The highest court within the Senior Courts of England and Wales (Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, n.d.). The Court of Appeal is divided into two divisions; criminal and civil. The criminal division hears appeals from proceedings within the Crown Court, such as; convictions in the Crown Court, sentences given by the Crown Court, and confiscation orders imposed by the Crown Court. The Court of Appeal may also deal with decisions made by ‘service courts’ (GOV.UK, n.d.). The civil division hears appeals from the High Court of Justice, County Courts, and the Family Court.
Supreme Court – This is the final court of appeal; it plays a higly important role in the development of UK law. The Supreme Court is an appeal court, therefore it cannot consider a case unless a relevant order has been made lower in the court hierarchy. The role of the Supreme Court goes as follows:
- It is the final court of appeal for all UK civil cases, as well as criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- The Supreme Court hears appeals on tenable points of law of general importance.
- Focuses on cases of the greatest public and constitutional importance.
- Maintains the role of the highest court in the UK.
(The Supreme Court, 2018).
How Is New Legislation Formulated in the United Kingdom? (Pass 2.3)
In order for a new law to be formed, there are several processes that a Bill must go through beforehand. Below is an annotated diagram to show the step by step process for a Bill to become a Law.
1. First Reading – The short title of the Bill is read, and is followed by an order for the Bill to be printed.
2. Second Reading – This is where the MPs have the opportunity to debate about the main propositions of the Bill. When the debate is concluded, the Commons decide whether the Bill should proceed to the next step through a vote. It is possible for this stage to go ahead without a debate, as long as the members of Parliament agree with the Bill’s progress.
3. Committee Stage – This is the stage where a detailed examination of the Bill takes place; if any amendments to the Bill should be made, it is during this stage. If the Bill starts in the Commons, the committee can take advice from experts within the field that the Bill is based on; interest groups out of Parliament can also provide advice during this stage. Public Bill Committees have a minimum of 16 members, and a maximum of approximately 50. The majority of the members within this committee mirror the political parties’ strengths in the Commons; meaning there is usually a government majority.
R. Report Stage – This is the stage where MPs are given the opportunity to make amendments to the Bill, which has been made by the committee. All MPs are able to suggest alterations to the Bill, or add new clauses. This stage is usually followed immediately by a debate at the Bill’s third reading.
3. Third Reading – This is the final chance for the Commons to debate the contents of the Bill. Amendments cannot be made at this stage. At the end of this debate the House decides on whether to approve the final reading. However, amendments can be made at this point in the House of Lords.
Consideration of Amendment – When the Bill has passed through the final reading in the Lords, it is returned to the Commons, where it started, for the Lord’s amendments to be considered. Both Houses must agree on the exact wording of the Bill for it to receive Royal Assent.
Royal Assent – Once the bill has passed through all parliamentary stages in both Houses, it ust receive Royal Assent for it to become an Act of Parliament. This is the Monarch’s agreement to turn the Bill into an Act.
The Relationship Between EU and UK Legislation (Pass 2.4)
The European Union was formed five years after World War ll ended to try and gain peace between France and Germany. The plan ensured that the two countries would not go to war again; the result ended in 1950, with a deal that was signed by six nations to reserve their coal and steel resources. (BBC, 2018).
Seven years later the European Economic Community (EEC) was signed in Rome; this is the foundation of today’s European Union. The United Kingdom was one of the new members to join when it first expanded; in the present day the EU has 28 member states. (BBC News, 2018).
There are many constitutions that work together to run the EU; the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the Court of Justice.
The European Commission: The European Commission is responsible for suggesting draft proposals for new legislation, from voices that are raised across Europe including the UK. It also executes the decisions of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. The commission has several other responsibilities:
- Proposes new laws:
- The commission protects the interests of the citizens of the EU on issues that are not dealt with at a national level.
- It also consults experts and the public to ensure technical details are correct.
- Manages EU policies and allocates EU funding:
- Puts in place EU spending priorities along with the Council and Parliament.
- Produces annual budgets; these require approval by the Parliament and Council.
- Supervises how money is spent within the EU.
- Enforces EU law:
- Works alongside the Court of Justice to ensure EU law is applied in all member countries.
- Represents the EU at a national level:
- Expresses all EU countries in international bodies; specifically in areas of trade and humanitarian aid.
- Negotiates on international agreements.
(European Union, n.d.).
The following chart shows the process on producing new legislation through the European Commission.
The European Parliament: This is a directly-elected EU body with many responsibilities, such as: legislative, supervisory and budgetary.
- Legislative: The body passes EU laws, determines international agreements and enlargements, and reviews the Commission’s work programme.
- Supervisory: Elects the Commission President, examines citizen petitions and sets up enquiries, discusses financial policies with the European Central Bank and questions the EU Commission and Council.
- Budgetary: The body establishes the EU budget along with the EU council, and approves the EU’s long-term budget.
(European Union, n.d.).
The Council of the European Union: This is the institution that represents the member states’ governments. National ministers from each member country meet to discuss potential new laws and coordinate policies. Their roles are as follows:
- Negotiates and adopts new laws with the European Parliament to adopt legislative acts.
- Coordinates policies of member states in specific fields:
- Economic and fiscal
- Education, culture, youth and sport
- Employment policy
- Developes the EU common foreign and security policy.
- Concludes international agreements.
- Adopts the EU budget.
(European Council of the European Union, 2018).
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): This institution is responsible for ensuring EU law is interpreted appropriately and applied the same in every member state country.
- Interpreting the law: New laws must be interpreted the same in each member state country to ensure every individual abides by the legislation.
- Enforcing the law: If a country is to be found at fault for not correctly following a law, the CJEU is responsible for putting things right.
- Annulling EU legal acts: If a member state is found to be violating EU treates, the Court may be asked to annul it. The Court can be asked by the EU government, the EU Council, and the European Commission.
- Ensuring the EU takes action: The EU must take action when certain circumstances are presented to them; if the Parliament, Council and Commission fail to do this then companies or individuals can complain to the CJEU.
- Sanctioning EU institutions: Individuals or companies who have experienced harm or damage as a result of an action of the EU may complain to the CJEU; it is their responsibility to deal with this.
(European Union, n.d.).
Examples of EU Legislation Implemented in the UK:
Council Directive 1999/22/EC:
The purpose of this directive is to protect wild fauna and conserve biodiversity. Member states must adopt specific measures in regards to the licensing and inspection of zoos; this strengthens the zoos role in conservation. They must do this by undertaking several measures:
- They must participate in research which benefits the conservation of species, and undertake appropriate training in regards to conservation, as well as exchanging information on captive breeding, repopulation, or reintroduction of species into the wild. Chester Zoo do this as they are a global conservation charity which undertake projects in over 30 countries around the world.
- Public education must be promoted, as well as raising awareness on how biodiversity can be conserved. Chester Zoo promote education through online resources, workshops available for all levels, and daily animal talks to educate guests on specific animals.
- All animals kept within the zoo must be suitably accommodated; their biological and conservation requirements appropriately met. Animal husbandry techniques must also be maintained through the development of preventative care and nutritional programmes.
- Animals must not be able to escape; this prevents the proposal of any ecological threats.
- Records must be kept up to date.
Council Directive 1999/74/EC
This directive was produced to set the minimum standards for the protection of laying hens. The directive covers basic levels of care, including: feeding and watering, housing, enrichment, dimensions of enclosure, stocking density, headroom, and levels within the enclosure. This directive affects farming systems as it ensures that all individuals within the system are appropriately cared for. Some farming businesses may see this as a negative as it may be more costly to provide all the above factors, however the higher the standard of welfare the better the produce. However, through implementing this directive the overall welfare of laying hens has been heightened. The 5 duties of care are now met, which is the basis of the Animal Welfare Act 2006:
- The need for a suitable environment
- The need for a suitable diet
- The need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
- The need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
- The need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
Council Directive 2010/63/EU
The purpose of this directive is to protect animals that are used for experimental or other scientific purposes. According to the directive “New scientific knowledge is available in respect of factors influencing animal welfare as well as the capacity of animals to sense and express pain, suffering, distress and last harm.” (EUR-Lex, 2010). The animals used for these purposes are protected through numerous factors that must be followed. The introduction of this directive has made a difference to the treatment of laboratory animals; early science used animals for experimentation, however there was little knowledge of animal welfare.
A Review of EU Legislation (Pass 2.5)
There are many EU statutes that have been formed throughout history that play key roles in the protection of animals, such as: CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), the Treaty of Rome, and the Three R’s: Reduction, Refinement and Replacement.
This is an international agreement between governments to ensure that the international trade in specimens of wild plants and animals does not cause any threat or harm to their survival. The first idea for creating a statute that protects wild animals developed in the 1960s; it was drafted as a result of a meeting in 1963 of members of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The convention came into force in July 1975 and it has been aiming to protect wild species ever since. (CITES, n.d.). The convention aims to protect these species through the publication of three appendices:
Appendix l: This list contains the species that are the most endangered amongst the CITES listed animals. These specific species are threatened with extinction; therefore CITES prohibits international trade of these specimens. However, trade is permitted when the reason for the import is not commercial, for example, scientific research. In order for these species to be imported, import permits and export permits are required. The animals listed under this appendix are the Western Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Tigers, Asiatic Lion, Asian Elephant and the Rhinocerous. (CITES, n.d.).
Appendix ll: This protects species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled to avoid persistant use which may pose a threat towards their survival. This appendix also includes ‘look-alike species’; these are species which speciments may look similar to those which are listed for conservation reasons. If trade of the species listed under this appendix is to go ahead, then there must be the presence of an export permit; no import permit is necessary. A permit will only be granted if the relevant authorities are suitably satisfied that all the conditions are met for trade to go ahead. The animals covered are: the Great White Shark, American Black Bear, Green Iguana and the Emperor Scorpion. (CITES, n.d.).
Appendix III: This contains species that are legally protected in at least one country, in which help has been asked of other CITES parties for assistance in controlling trade. Again, appropriate permits and certificates are required for the trade of the species listed under this appendix to go ahead. The animals protected under this appendix are: the Two-Toed Sloth protected by Costa Rica, African Civet protected by Botswana, and the Alligator Snapping Turtle protected by the United States. (CITES, n.d.).
The Treaty of Rome
The first steps towards the development of the European Union occurred in Rome; two treaties were signed in 1957 – the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) (Historiaiglo20.org, 2003). The EEC played a large role in the development of what is now the EU; in it’s introduction it was stated that the community “determined to lay the foundations of an even closer union among the peoples of Europe”. (Historiaglo20.org). This led to the formation of the customs union; the EEC was known as a the ‘Common Market’. This meant that tariff barriers were dismanled, and led to economic success. As well as creating the Common Market, the Treaty adopted a policy in relation to agriculture; the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This allowed for animals to be traded between member states free of charge, guaranteeing sufficient profits to European farmers. However, there was no legislation to protect the animals that were being distributed. It was not until the creation of The Maastricht Treaty in 1992 that animal welfare was considered. A declaration was agreed upon to take account of animal welfare in the areas of research, transport, agriculture and the internal market. (World Animal Net, 2014). Animal welfare was further improved by the development of The Amsterdam Treaty; this protocol desired to improve the protection and respect for the welfare of animals as sentient beings. (European Cetacean Bycatch Campaign, n.d.).
The ‘Three R’s’
In today’s society animals are used in research for many reasons, however their welfare is highly important and often disregarded. There are many ethical, scientific, legal and economical reasons for ensuring animals used within this field are cared for appropriately.
“Good science and good animal welfare go hand in hand.” (Understanding Animal Research, 2018). In order for effective results to be produced, the animal must be functioning properly; stress and pain could affect the performance of the research. To prevent animals from suffering, they should be housed in the best possible conditions and receive the best care from qualified individuals.
Many groups are focused on alternative scientific methods for reducing the amount of animal testing that is undertaken. There are three guiding principles that aim to minimise the numbers and suffering of animals used in research:
Replace: Aim to replace the use of animals for testing and research with suitable alternatives, or if possible avoid the use of animals completely.
Reduce: Only obtain the minimum amount of animals required for the experiment to retrieve information from fewer individuals.
Refine: Ensure the experiment is thoroughly planned to ensure the animal recieves as little suffering as possible. Provide the animal with suitable housing, and improve the way the experiment is carried out.
By taking into consideration these three guidelines the use of animals for research will be minimised, therefore reducing the amount of animals that suffer for the benefit of humans.
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