Improving England’s animal welfare laws has a long way to go. England has some of the strictest animal welfare laws on earth, but still not nearly enough. The laws for farm animals are especially lenient, for creatures that are used for food (leaving the EU should hopefully mean the end of live transport, if promises are kept). However, we are fortunate in that if we see an animal in distress, we are allowed by law to call RSPCA can respond to concerns, something that alas does not happen in many countries in the world. You can also report animal welfare concerns to Animal Crime Unit, National Wildlife Crime Unit or Crimestoppers (anonymous).
The best way to help reduce the huge strain on animal welfare charities worldwide is simply by what we don’t do. Don’t eat factory-farmed food, visit animal-based zoos or circuses, choose beauty and household items that are free from animal ingredients and testing, donate to humane medical charities (that don’t use animals) and don’t wear clothing or shoes made from animals (fur, leather, wool, silk, cashmere etc). If everyone did that, a huge amount of animal welfare issues would disappear overnight. The way the world treats animals has led to a world where people eat live octopuses and kill bats and rats in ‘wet markets’, something that could well be linked to the first case of COVID-19. Nature is teaching us lessons.
Good Books on Animal Welfare
- Stand Against Animal Cruelty is a wonderful young person’s guide to animal welfare. Designed to help get youngsters motivated to peacefully make a difference, the practical and effective methods can help the world take of animals, right now. This book is designed to inform and educate, with the vibrant clear content sure to inspire. With knowledge and passion in their corner, young people can change the world!
- The Animal Lover’s Guide to Changing the World is a wonderful book, ideal for local animal shelters or changing national or worldwide policy. This inspiring and empowering book is for anyone who wants to live a more animal-friendly life, but in a gentle manner. From protecting shelter pets and helping to stop wildlife going extinct to helping barnyard friends and stopping vivisection, this book covers it all, without overwhelm.
- I Care About Animals is a fun colourful book for children, to help them explore all the issues including caring for pets, not dropping litter, animal habitats, endangered species, insects & minibeasts.
- A Plea for the Animals is a beautiful book (or audio CD) by Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. It’s an eloquent plea: every cow wants to be happy, every chicken wants to be free. Every bear, dog or mouse experiences sorrow and pain, and feels as intensely as humans. This is a powerful ethical imperative for treating all species with compassion.
- Animal Justice Project is a new charity that is exposing the gruesome and chilling experiments done by British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research, with many people donating completely unaware of what goes on.
Peeps Promoting Animal Welfare
- Advocates for Animals is England’s first animal protection law firm. Set up by two solicitors, it offers service to people and government, with help from the UK Centre for Animal Law (in the US, Animal Legal Defense Fund is a gold standard charity that offers lots of free help by and for animal lawyers, to prevent animal abuse, and help with prosecution and changing the law). One law they are presently trying to change is to ensure vegan and lactose-intolerant children have access to NHS Healthy Start vouchers (presently only for dairy milk).
- Start or sign petitions for better animal welfare at Change (worldwide) and/or 38 Degrees (UK).
- Catholic Concern for Animals is a charity that campaigns for better treatment for animals worldwide and publishes its own magazine The Ark (the site also has interesting information on saints that promoted animal welfare). SARX is another charity.
- Compassion in World Farming does wonderful work. It has already managed to ban gestation crates and fur farms in the UK. In September 2020, it had another success. Many people voted to leave the EU due to hoping to ban live transport. But the Scottish government continued to export calves on 100-hour plus journeys. CIWF launched a legal challenge with DEFRA and has recently won.