Right across the globe, government bodies tasked with the protection of animals have failed so utterly and completely to carry out their core responsibilities it is imperative that they be replaced by new agencies with the sweeping powers needed to carry us through the rest of this blood-soaked century. The enforcement officers employed by these agencies must have the authority to enter industries suspected of animal abuse, unannounced, and close them down when necessary. All abattoirs and animal transport and handling facilities must be subject to constant camera and human surveillance and all people working in these industries thoroughly trained in the animal welfare practices proscribed in the new legislation. Penalties for non-compliance must be harsh and swift, involving lengthy prison sentences. A new tax should be levied on the animal-abuse industries, not only to fund the new agencies, but to pay for the environmental damage they cause and the burden their products put on the health system.
Initially, these agencies would be charged with ensuring that animal handling, transport and slaughtering practices are made far less cruel than they are today. Live exports would be banned immediately along with: sow crates; veal calf torture; the keeping of chickens in inhumane conditions; and cattle feedlots. Animal welfare requirements associated with commercial exercises such as zoos, horse and dog racing, circuses, puppy farms, scientific experimentation and animal theme parks need to be urgently overhauled with the onus being on commercial organisations to show just cause why they should not be abolished on the grounds of animal welfare alone. These are just basic improvements which should have been made decades ago. They are not solutions in themselves, but this doesn’t make them any less necessary.
However, except for those in Scandinavian countries, it’s hard to see any governments creating agencies such as those described. Just because there is a clear moral imperative to do so doesn’t mean a thing to most legislators if they consider that taking on the big players to be tantamount to political suicide. Their own well-being is by far their number one priority, and so while the need for new regulation and policing will never go away, and must always be kept on the table, the greatest exponents of change will, as ever, be ordinary people, shaping society from below with the choices they make every day.