Animal Rights by Lisa Yount

By Lisa Yount

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In 1986, the same year that Britain passed its new act and a similarly rigorous law took effect in West Germany, the European Union approved the Animal Experiments Directive (86/609/EEC), which established uniform animal welfare provisions for all member countries and required member countries to develop legislation promoting alternatives to laboratory animal use. In June 2002, after 10 years of debate, Germany went even further by becoming the first European Union country to guarantee protection to animals in its constitution.

However, it is not really clear whether the decline in fur use is due to a change in public feeling brought about by the rights organizations or simply to changes in fashion. There were signs, too, that the industry was recovering somewhat in the late 1990s. Europe has been a more fertile ground than the United States for legislative control of intensive farming. As far back as 1964, in response to Ruth Harrison’s book about “factory” farming, the British Parliament set up a committee to investigate conditions on intensive farms.

In addition to promoting spaying and neutering, therefore, many shelters now seek ways to keep more adopted animals in their existing homes. They may guide people to landlords who accept pets, help to pay animal care costs for lowincome families or senior citizens, provide dog training programs, or hire animal behaviorists to work with owners to find solutions to problems such as barking, house soiling, and clawing furniture. Once animals are turned in to a shelter or picked up by animal control officers and taken to a pound, their lives are likely to be short.

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