The perception of animal rights in uganda

THE PERCEPTION OF ANIMAL RIGHTS IN UGANDA BY DR BAMEKA RONALD 1. 1 Introduction Animal Rights is the protection of all animals from being exploited and abused by humans. This includes the use of animals for anything that causes them pain and suffering, such as medical experimentation, imprisonment in circuses and zoos, and fur production. The fundamental principle of the Animal Rights Movement is that nonhuman animals deserve to live according to their own natures, free from harm, abuse, and exploitation. This goes further than just saying that we should treat animals well while we exploit them, or before we kill and eat them. It says animals have the right to be free from human cruelty and exploitation, just as humans possess this right. The withholding of this right from the nonhuman animals based on their species membership is referred to as ” speciesism”. 1. 2 Philosophical bases of animal welfare What people understand by ” animal welfare” depends in part on values that differ between cultures and individuals. These differences lead people to emphasize different elements of animal welfare that can be summarized under three broad headings (Fraser, 2008). The first is an emphasis on the physical health and biological functioning of animals. There is almost universal agreement that such elements are important for animal welfare, hence disease, injury and malnutrition are more or less universally regarded as animal welfare problems. The second is concern about the ” affective states” of animals, especially negative states such as pain, distress and hunger. These are common concerns in many cultures, but in some cases they are deemphasized by certain 1. 3 Basic Animal Rights principles In 1965, the British Government commissioned an investigation into the welfare of farmed animals and thereafter proposed that all animals should have freedom to stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves and stretch their limbs. These became known as the ” Five Freedoms” 2 (Farm Animal Welfare Council, 2009). The expanded Five Freedoms now established by the FAWC are: 1. Freedom from hunger and thirst — by ready access to fresh water and a diet designed to maintain full health and vigour; 2. Freedom from discomfort — by the provision of an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area; 3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease — by prevention or through rapid diagnosis and treatment; 4. Freedom to express normal behaviour — by the provision of sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind; and 5. Freedom from fear and distress — by the assurance of conditions that avoid mental suffering. As a complement to the Five Freedoms, criteria for the assessment of animal welfare have been identified by the Welfare Quality Project (WQP), The WQP aims to develop a standardized system for assessing animal welfare and more generally to develop practical strategies and measures to improve animal welfare (Welfare Quality, 2009). The WQP criteria for the assessment of animal welfare are: 1. Animals should not suffer from prolonged hunger, i. e. they should have a sufficient and appropriate diet. 2. Animals should not suffer from prolonged thirst, i. e. they should have a sufficient and accessible water supply. 3. Animals should have comfort around resting. 4. Animals should have thermal comfort, i. e. they should neither be too hot nor too cold. 5. Animals should have enough space to be able to move around freely. 6. Animals should be free from physical injuries. 7. Animals should be free from disease, i. e. farmers should maintain high standards of hygiene and care. 8. Animals should not suffer pain induced by inappropriate management, handling, slaughter or surgical procedures (e. g. castration, dehorning). 9. Animals should be able to express normal, non-harmful social behaviours (e. g. grooming). 10. Animals should be able to express other normal behaviours, i. e. they should be able to express species-specific natural behaviours such as foraging. 11. Animals should be handled well in all situations, i. e. handlers should promote good human-animal relationships. 12. Negative emotions such as fear, distress, frustration or apathy should be avoided, whereas positive emotions such as security or contentment should be promoted. 1. 4 How is the Animal Rights movement different from the Animal Welfare movement? The Animal Welfare movement acknowledges the suffering of nonhumans and attempts to reduce that suffering through ” humane” treatment, but it does not have as a goal elimination of the use and exploitation of animals. The Animal Rights movement goes significantly further by rejecting the exploitation of animals. A person committed to animal welfare might be concerned that cows get enough space, proper food, etc., but would not necessarily have no objection about killing and eating animals, so long as the rearing and slaughter are ” humane”. Some might suggest that a subtle distinction can be made between the Animal Liberation and Animal Rights movements. The Animal Rights movement, at least as propounded by Regan and his adherents, is said to require total abolition of such practices as experimentation on animals 2. 0 INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL CONTEXT 2. 1 World Organisation for Animal Health The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE3), an intergovernmental organization that had grown to include 176 member countries by 2010, was created in 1924 to fight animal diseases at the global level. The OIE has increased in prominence and influence in recent years, especially since it was identified in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the During the 72nd General Session in May 2004 and are now included in the Code (sec. 7) as follows: 1. There is a critical relationship between animal health and animalwelfare. 2. The internationally recognized ” Five Freedoms” (see Chapter I, Section 1. 3) provide valuable guidance in animal welfare. 3. The internationally recognized ” three Rs” (reduction in number of animals, refinement of experimental methods and replacement of animals with non-animal techniques) provide valuable guidance for the use of animals in science. 4. The scientific assessment of animal welfare involves diverse elements which need to be considered together, and selecting and weighing these elements often involves value-based assumptions which should be made as explicit as possible. 5. The use of animals in agriculture and science and for companionship, recreation and entertainment makes a major contribution to the well-being of people. 6. The use of animals carries with it an ethical responsibility to ensure the welfare of such animals to the greatest extent practicable. 7. Improvements in farm animal welfare can often improve productivity and food safety and hence lead to economic benefits. 8. Equivalent outcomes based on performance criteria, rather than identical systems based on design criteria, should be the basis for comparison of animal welfare standards and recommendations. 2. 2 World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) international trading system is designed to eradicate barriers to international trade through the creation and enforcement of market access rules. As noted earlier, the SPS Agreement identifies the OIE as the source of binding international standards on animal health. However, it is an open question whether ” sanitary and phytosanitary measures” would include animal welfare and whether, therefore, a country’s imposition of a trade restriction based on animal welfare considerations would be found justified under the WTO. 2. 3 Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare In recent years, a number of NGOs under the leadership of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) have advocated that the United Nations elaborate and adopt a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW). A global petition launched to support the UDAW initiative had acquired over 2. 2 million signatures by September 2010 (www. udaw. org). According to established principles of international law, the UDAW would not be binding although it would represent a consensus among states regarding animal welfare and would therefore be considered customary international law. A practice will only become a general rule of international law if a large number of states consider it to be binding on them, and if the international community does not protest the practice’s extension to international relations (Greig, 1976). In 2003, the Government of the Philippines hosted an intergovernmental conference which produced a draft declaration agreeing on four principles that could form the basis for a UDAW. The draft declaration was agreed upon by 21 delegations (19 countries, one commonwealth in political union with the United States (Saipan) and one regional organization (the European Commission)). The four UDAW principles agreed upon in the Manila meeting are as follows: 1. The welfare of animals shall be a common objective for all states. 2. The standards of animal welfare attained by each state shall be promoted, recognized and observed by improved measures, nationally and internationally. 3. All appropriate steps shall be taken by states to prevent cruelty to animals and to reduce their suffering. 4. Appropriate standards on animal welfare shall be developed and elaborated on such topics as the use and management of farm animals, companion animals, animals in scientific research, draught animals, wild animals and animals used for recreation. 2. 4 Regional agreements 2. 4. 1 Council of Europe The three COE conventions of principal interest for farm animal welfare are: 1. The European convention for the protection of animals kept for farming purposes (ETS No. 87) of 1976, revised in 1992 (ETS No. 145). ETS No. 87 is a framework convention introducing principles for the housing and management of farm animals, in particular for animals in intensive farming systems. It is complemented by 12 recommendations for specific species (including goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, turkey and other domestic fowl). The convention creates a standing committee that approves recommendations and facilitates settlement of any disputes between parties on the convention’s implementation. 2. The European convention for the protection of animals during international transport (ETS No. 65) of 1968, revised in 2003 (ETS No. 193). The revised version of ETS No. 65 applies to all vertebrate animals and is based on the principle that local slaughter is preferable to animal transport. The convention is supplemented by detailed recommendations for the international transport of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry and horses. It covers a variety of topics related to transport, including the preparation of the journey from loading to unloading; vehicle design; animal fitness for travel; animal handling; veterinary controls; and certification. It also sets out special conditions for transport by road, air, sea and rail. 3. The European convention for the protection of animals for slaughter (ETS No. 102) of 1979. ETS No. 102 covers the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses and slaughter operations. These COE conventions are based on the principle that ” for his own wellbeing, man may, and sometimes must, make use of animals, but . . . he has a moral obligation to ensure, within reasonable limits, that the animal’s health and welfare is in each case not unnecessarily put at risk”. 12 Most COE member states have signed these conventions, thereby expressing their support, and many have become parties, agreeing to be legally bound. 3. 1 NATIONAL REGULATION OF ANIMAL WELFARE Countries can choose to regulate animal welfare in a variety of ways. The strongest is to adopt constitutional provisions that recognize animal welfare principles or to provide another constitutional basis for the protection of animal welfare. Countries that adopt a constitutional provision on animal welfare may also enact national legislation on animal welfare, while other countries may enact only legislation. There is much diversity in national legislation on animal welfare.. The most common form of legislation around the world criminalizes cruelty against animals. Many nations limit animal welfare statutes to certain animals used in scientific research or entertainment, whereas for farm animals they regulate only slaughter methods. This type of animal welfare legislation has been passed in most countries in Europe, as well as in Costa Rica (1994), New Zealand (1999), the Philippines (1998), Taiwan Province of China (1998), the United Republic of Tanzania (2008) The Republic of Uganda and several others. Some countries employ non-binding instruments such as national animal welfare strategies or model welfare codes in lieu of binding legislation. 3. 2 Constitutional provisions Several countries have adopted constitutional provisions that provide a basis for the protection of animals, though none explicitly establishes animal welfare principles. The first country to constitutionally address animal welfare may be India. Article 48 of the 1950 Constitution requires the state to ” endeavour to organise . . . animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines” and to prohibit the slaughter of cattle and dairy animals for religious reasons. 3. 3 Prevention of cruelty to animals Legislation prohibiting cruelty against animals originated in the English Parliament in 1822, and variations of this type of legislation proliferated over the next century, particularly in countries formerly under English colonial rule. A number of countries continue to have laws on prevention of cruelty to animals that date from early to mid-20th century, before the significant development and internationalization of the animal welfare movement. In the republic of Uganda The animals (prevention of cruelty) act. Chapter 39 1957. An Act to make provision for the prevention of cruelty to animals Animal cruelty legislation prohibits the most extreme, deliberate or willful forms of mistreatment of animals, imposing criminal sanctions for certain acts that constitute ” cruelty to animals”. This is in contrast to animal welfare legislation, which assumes that some conditions are unavoidable collateral effects of productive economic activity and seeks to minimize animals’ unnecessary suffering. Animal welfare legislation aims at improving conditions that cause suffering to animals through negligence or oversight, by regulating farms, slaughterhouses, transport and personnel. Some anti-cruelty legislation excludes cruelty to animals involved in ” economic” or ” useful” activity such as food production, or entirely exempts farm animals as a class from the definition of animals covered. Other anticruelty legislation provides some basis for animal welfare protection of farm animals. 3. 4 Non-binding instruments There are two types of non-binding instruments commonly employed by countries wishing to further animal welfare. The Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) establishes a coordinating vision, defines its purpose and scope and details pa working groups dedicated to different animal sectors, as well as a national implementation plan that contains procedures for coordination and reporting on the strategy. Another type of non-binding instrument is a model code of best practice, which usually sets out standards with which producers can voluntarily comply, sometimes for the purpose of receiving product certification prior to export. Another link between non-binding codes and law occurs when a law prohibiting causing distress to animals excludes actions carried out in conformity with generally accepted practices of animal management. In such a case, if a practice is allowed in a code, it is likely to fall under the exemption. Examples of such laws exist, with some variation, in several Canadian provinces including Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. 3. 5 Economic and other alternative policies To encourage compliance with animal welfare standards, governments at times establish policies that go beyond direct regulation. These may include economic incentives, government-supported food labelling systems and education or public awareness campaigns. The European Community, for example, has implemented economic incentives tied to its rural development program (European Commission, 2008) and has been evaluating the feasibility of community-wide labelling options (European Commission, 2009). Public education and awareness-building around animal welfare are common in many countries, and may be specifically called for in the animal welfare legislation. Fundamental rights Animal and human rights boil down to one fundamental right: the right to be treated with respect as an individual with inherent value. Animals with rights must be treated as ends in themselves; they should not be treated by others as means to achieve their ends. From this fundamental right come other rights. Particular species only get relevant and useful rights – so animals don’t get all the rights that human beings get. For example: animals don’t want or get the right to vote. S. Jenkins, Lennard 1966 All in all the relationship of animals and humans has been the subject of differing philosophical views for thousands of years. The controversy continues today in many aspects of contemporary life. Some people believe that a vegan lifestyle is the only moral choice. Others believe that humans should treat animals ” humanely,” but can use animals and animal products at will, including for biomedical or other scientific research. Others believe that humans have no moral responsibilities for animals and are free to treat animals as they want.