Saturday, November 13, 2010

Animal Welfare Law and Post-Exam Shopping Spree

You'll be happy to hear that both my human and I survived the dreaded and evil time of year commonly known as exam week (or the 'week of death' as my human likes to call it) only a little worse for wear. To be fair, it's my human that's a little worse for wear.

This is what we do: study, study, study.

One of her assessments this semester was a 5,000 word essay for a subject called Animal Welfare Law. My human was very excited to be able study this subject as it's the first time it's being offered in our state. The essay was worth 100% of the mark for the subject and my human had to research into Australia's animal welfare legal regime and put forward a proposal for reform. My human says the current legal regime is really silly (my words, not hers): we have different laws in each state, different regulations in different council areas, even different laws for individual industries and different laws relating to different animals. The result is inconsistent and inadequate protection for animals. For example, the greyhound industry code of practice allows for greyhounds to be kept in cages smaller than the domestic dog code allows for toy breeds. Anti-cruelty legislation also only protects against "unreasonable" cruelty leaving room for perpetrators to argue that the circumstances justified their being cruel to their animals.

Worse still, some animals are completely excluded from the protection of anti-cruelty legislation, like livestock for example, and some animals may lose this protection simply by being transported across state lines (fish aren't considered animals in some states and so aren't protected). In certain industries (such as those exploiting animals for scientific experimentation or for food) the very bodies who develop protective instruments and are charged with enforcing them are those who stand to gain the most from allowing cruelty to go unpunished. Some of you may know that Australia exports live animals, like sheep, to other countries to be slaughtered. What you may not know is that when deciding whether the minimum standards of welfare are met in relation to these live shipments the body responsible for this decision acts on the advice of the representative body for exporters. In other words there's a huge conflict of interest between protecting the welfare of animals and promoting commercial interests. Finally, most of the enforcement of anti-cruelty laws is done by the RSPCA, a not for profit organisation with very limited resources.

Australia does very little to protect one of its icons - the kangaroo - allowing kangaroos to be killed for profit or even for recreation (!!) with little to no enforcement of welfare standards. Photo credit: Voiceless. Follow the link to read about commercial killing of kangaroos in Australia. Don't worry, there are no graphic pictures. However, if you're interested in the reality of 'humanely' killing joeys via a 'blunt force to the head' a quick YouTube search will show you how humane it really is. :(

My human was very grateful to have the opportunity to learn from so many inspirational people about an area of law that sadly receives very little attention, especially in Australia. So she was very proud of her essay and asked me to pass on a little of what she's learned. She'll soon be able to put all that knowledge and the skills she aquired to good use as she recently successfully interviewed for a position as an animal welfare policy research assistant at the RSPCA. My human has been volunteering at the RSPCA in the kennels for about 6 months but she also wanted to use some of the skills she's acquired at university to help doggies.

Anyway, as soon as exams finished my human did something apparently lots of lady humans do to make themselves feel better. She went shopping! And here are some of the things she picked up for me (I'm so excited!):

I got a new collar and leash from FuzzYard. My human said it was time to get a grown up collar and leash because I've had the same short, thin leash and harness since the first day she brought me home. human considers multi-coloured space invaders 'grown up'.

I also got a special shampoo for doggies with sensitive skin. You may have noticed that I got a hair cut. Well....what a disaster! The groomer clipped my hair so short that she left me red raw around the bum and whatever products she used made my skin so itchy I wanted to scrape it all off. Sadly, I think the grooming business has been sold and my old groomer is no longer working there. Needless to say, I won't be going there again.

My human bought the Fuzzyard products from the RSPCA Store in Burwood East, Victoria. She also bought me a fun new ball from PETstock in Mitcham. I love balls! Especially blue ones!

If any of you are interested in learning more about that state of animal welfare protection in Australia, have a look at the following links:

Love, Oscar and the gang


  1. Your new collar and leash are very cool! Thank you for teaching us about animal welfare where you life. I wish all animals were treated kindly and humanely. Learning is the first step!

  2. Hey little buddy!

    Animal Welfare Law is a very interesting topic indeed!!! We are sure your human will pass it with flying colors!

    Hehehe. our mom says she and your human can become good friends cos they have something in common - shopping!

    Love your new leash/ collar! Space invaders are very 'manly'... (I am stuck with a RED collar with pawprints, now how manly is that?)

  3. Unfortunately, I think animal protection is a problem everywhere... it is in the USA. At least it is a start. I am sure there are plenty of other countries who haven't even considered the protection of animals yet.

  4. Oh, what a great post, Oscar! First, congrats to your human for finishing her exams. Although Hsin-Yi is much older and did her exams a long time ago, she can still remember exactly what it was like!

    And that was very interesting all that stuff about the Animal Welfare Law - well, and disgusting too. My humans have been surprised in general at how in Australia, everything seems to be different from state to state - it's the Federal System, I guess, but it does make things very confusing and inefficient! They just don't understand it - why Australia can't just implement things as a WHOLE COUNTRY. Anyway, we think it is wonderful that your human wants to help animals and we are keeping everythign crossed for her job with the RSPCA!

    Honey the Great Dane