The idea that animals are there for our amusement only and that they are ours to do as we please with is thankful becoming a thing of the past. There are more vegans and vegetarians than ever and there is more of an emphasis placed on animal welfare in the meat and dairy industry.
However, some work ague that the punishments for animal abuse are far to lenient and, quite frankly, we agree. To give you an idea of just how lenient these laws can be, lets take a lot at how the laws are in the United States right now and how they have changed over the years.
The Punishments for Animal Abuse
In the United States the law governing animal abuse is the Animal Welfare Act which came into existence in 1966 and has been amended seven times over the years, with the last amendment coming in 2007.
Punishments are dealt with on a state by state basis, but as an example let’s focus on the state of New York. It’s considered tone a very progressive state and its laws on this matter are also in line with other states.
In New York, if someone abuses and murders an animal the crime is considered a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. Some might argue that this is enough of a punishment, but this is the maximum, and in most cases the abuser will get nothing more than a slap on the wrists.
These crimes can be dealt with in a more serious manner and the offenders can be punished severely, but this never happens. The truth is that prosecutors simply won’t pursue these cases because the punishments are so lenient.
It’s a different story if someone is convicted of arranging dog fights, with a fine of up to $25,000 and four years n jail, but again, these are rarely enforced.
One of the most shocking facts concerning these laws is that many states allow an anima abuser to own an animal again even after they have been prosecuted for abuse. New York does not, but the fact that they are one of the more progressive states and yet they still don’t punish offenders suggests there is a big issue here.
Will it Change?
No one is suggesting that animal abusers should be given life imprisonment for abusing an animal. But they should definitely be in a position where they need the services of criminal defense attorney and actually face a punishment that serves as a deterrent as opposed to a let off.
That is’t happening right now and it’s showing no signs of changing anytime soon. However, we are steadily moving towards greater punishments. One of the first steps was to criminalize the production of veal and froi gras, something that has happened in many territories and countries. The next step will be to give justice to people whose pets are murdered.
Considering how much Americans love their pets and see them as family, this could happen soon, and when it does we may see major changes across the board.