Cruel acts against animals are not just an animal protection issue. Research confirms a strong correlation between violence toward animals and violence toward humans. In Oregon, it is considered a felony and you can be jailed for up to 20 years.
Animal testing, also known as animal experimentation, animal research, and in vivo testing, is the use of non-human animals in experiments (although some research about animals involves only natural behaviors or pure observation, such as a mouse running a maze or field studies of chimp troops). The research is conducted inside universities, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, farms, defense establishments, and commercial facilities that provide animal-testing services to industry. It includes pure research such as genetics, developmental biology, behavioral studies, as well as applied research such as biomedical research, xenotransplantation, drug testing and toxicology tests, including cosmetics testing. Animals are also used for education, breeding, and defense research. The practice is regulated to various degrees in different countries.
Worldwide it is estimated that the number of vertebrate animals—from zebrafish to non-human primates—ranges from the tens of millions to more than 100 million used annually. Invertebrates, mice, rats, birds, fish, frogs, and animals not yet weaned are not included in the figures in the United States; one estimate of mice and rats used in the US alone in 2001 was 80 million. Most animals are euthanized after being used in an experiment. Sources of laboratory animals vary between countries and species; most animals are purpose-bred, while others are caught in the wild or supplied by dealers who obtain them from auctions and pounds.
Supporters of the use of animals in experiments, such as the British Royal Society, argue that virtually every medical achievement in the 20th century relied on the use of animals in some way, with the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences arguing that even sophisticated computers are unable to model interactions between molecules, cells, tissues, organs, organisms, and the environment, making animal research necessary in many areas. Animal rights, and some animal welfare, organizations—such as PETA and BUAV—question the legitimacy of it, arguing that it is cruel, poor scientific practice, poorly regulated, that medical progress is being held back by misleading animal models, that some of the tests are outdated, that it cannot reliably predict effects in humans, that the costs outweigh the benefits, or that animals have an intrinsic right not to be used for experimentation.
The terms animal testing, animal experimentation, animal research, in vivo testing, and vivisection have similar denotations but different connotations. Literally, "vivisection" means the "cutting up" of a living animal, and historically referred only to experiments that involved the dissection of live animals. The term is occasionally used to refer pejoratively to any experiment using living animals; for example, the Encyclopædia Britannica defines "vivisection" as: "Operation on a living animal for experimental rather than healing purposes; more broadly, all experimentation on live animals", although dictionaries point out that the broader definition is "used only by people who are opposed to such work". The word has a negative connotation, implying torture, suffering, and death. The word "vivisection" is preferred by those opposed to this research, whereas scientists typically use the term "animal experimentation".
The earliest references to animal testing are found in the writings of the Greeks in the 2nd and 4th centuries BCE. Aristotle and Erasistratus were among the first to perform experiments on living animals. Galen, a physician in 2nd-century Rome, dissected pigs and goats, and is known as the "father of vivisection." Avenzoar, an Arabic physician in 12th-century Moorish Spain who also practiced dissection, introduced animal testing as an experimental method of testing surgical procedures before applying them to human patients.
Animals have been used repeatedly through the history of biomedical research. The founders, in 1831, of the Dublin Zoo were members of the medical profession, interested in studying the animals both while they were alive and when they were dead. In the 1880s, Louis Pasteur convincingly demonstrated the germ theory of medicine by inducing anthrax in sheep. In the 1890s, Ivan Pavlov famously used dogs to describe classical conditioning. Insulin was first isolated from dogs in 1922, and revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. On November 3, 1957, a Soviet dog, Laika, became the first of many animals to orbit the earth. In the 1970s, antibiotic treatments and vaccines for leprosy were developed using armadillos, then given to humans. The ability of humans to change the genetics of animals took a large step forwards in 1974 when Rudolf Jaenisch was able to produce the first transgenic mammal, by integrating DNA from the SV40 virus into the genome of mice. This genetic research progressed rapidly and, in 1996, Dolly the sheep was born, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.
Toxicology testing became important in the 20th century. In the 19th century, laws regulating drugs were more relaxed. For example, in the U.S., the government could only ban a drug after a company had been prosecuted for selling products that harmed customers. However, in response to the Elixir Sulfanilamide disaster of 1937 in which the eponymous drug killed more than 100 users, the U.S. congress passed laws that required safety testing of drugs on animals before they could be marketed. Other countries enacted similar legislation. In the 1960s, in reaction to the Thalidomide tragedy, further laws were passed requiring safety testing on pregnant animals before a drug can be sold.
As the experimentation on animals increased, especially the practice of vivisection, so did criticism and controversy. In 1655, the advocate of Galenic physiology Edmund O'Meara said that "the miserable torture of vivisection places the body in an unnatural state." O'Meara and others argued that animal physiology could be affected by pain during vivisection, rendering results unreliable. There were also objections on an ethical basis, contending that the benefit to humans did not justify the harm to animals. Early objections to animal testing also came from another angle — many people believed that animals were inferior to humans and so different that results from animals could not be applied to humans.
On the other side of the debate, those in favor of animal testing held that experiments on animals were necessary to advance medical and biological knowledge. Claude Bernard, known as the "prince of vivisectors" and the father of physiology—whose wife, Marie Françoise Martin, founded the first anti-vivisection society in France in 1883—famously wrote in 1865 that "the science of life is a superb and dazzlingly lighted hall which may be reached only by passing through a long and ghastly kitchen". Arguing that "experiments on animals ... are entirely conclusive for the toxicology and hygiene of man...the effects of these substances are the same on man as on animals, save for differences in degree," Bernard established animal experimentation as part of the standard scientific method.
In 1896, the physiologist and physician Dr. Walter B. Cannon said "The antivivisectionists are the second of the two types Theodore Roosevelt described when he said, 'Common sense without conscience may lead to crime, but conscience without common sense may lead to folly, which is the handmaiden of crime.' " These divisions between pro- and anti- animal testing groups first came to public attention during the brown dog affair in the early 1900s, when hundreds of medical students clashed with anti-vivisectionists and police over a memorial to a vivisected dog.
In 1822, the first animal protection law was enacted in the British parliament, followed by the Cruelty to Animals Act (1876), the first law specifically aimed at regulating animal testing. The legislation was promoted by Charles Darwin, who wrote to Ray Lankester in March 1871: "You ask about my opinion on vivisection. I quite agree that it is justifiable for real investigations on physiology; but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity. It is a subject which makes me sick with horror, so I will not say another word about it, else I shall not sleep to-night." In response to the lobbying by anti-vivisectionists, several organizations were set up in Britain to defend animal research: The Physiological Society was formed in 1876 to give physiologists "mutual benefit and protection", the Association for the Advancement of Medicine by Research was formed in 1882 and focused on policy-making, and the Research Defence Society (now Understanding Animal Research) was formed in 1908 "to make known the facts as to experiments on animals in this country; the immense importance to the welfare of mankind of such experiments and the great saving of human life and health directly attributable to them."
Opposition to the use of animals in medical research first arose in the United States during the 1860s, when Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), with America's first specifically anti-vivisection organization being the American AntiVivisection Society (AAVS), founded in 1883. Antivivisectionists of the era generally believed the spread of mercy was the great cause of civilization, and vivisection was cruel. However, in the USA the antivivisectionists' efforts were defeated in every legislature, overwhelmed by the superior organization and influence of the medical community. Overall, this movement had little legislative success until the passing of the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act, in 1966.
The regulations that apply to animals in laboratories vary across species. In the U.S., under the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide), published by the National Academy of Sciences, any procedure can be performed on an animal if it can be successfully argued that it is scientifically justified. In general, researchers are required to consult with the institution's veterinarian and its Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which every research facility is obliged to maintain. The IACUC must ensure that alternatives, including non-animal alternatives, have been considered, that the experiments are not unnecessarily duplicative, and that pain relief is given unless it would interfere with the study. Larry Carbone, a laboratory animal veterinarian, writes that, in his experience, IACUCs take their work very seriously regardless of the species involved, though the use of non-human primates always raises what he calls a "red flag of special concern." A study published in Science magazine in July 2001 confirmed the low reliability of IACUC reviews of animal experiments. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the three-year study found that animal-use committees that do not know the specifics of the university and personnel do not make the same approval decisions as those made by animal-use committees that do know the university and personnel. Specifically, blinded committees more often ask for more information rather than approving studies.
The IACUCs regulate all vertebrates in testing at institutions receiving federal funds in the USA. Although the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act do not include purpose-bred rodents and birds, these species are equally regulated under Public Health Service policies that govern the IACUCs. Animal Welfare Act regulations are enforced by the USDA, whereas Public Health Service regulations are enforced by OLAW and in many cases by AAALAC.
Scientists in India are protesting a recent guideline issued by the University Grants Commission to ban the use of live animals in universities and laboratories.
Accurate global figures for animal testing are difficult to obtain. The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) estimates that 100 million vertebrates are experimented on around the world every year, 10–11 million of them in the European Union. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics reports that global annual estimates range from 50 to 100 million animals. None of the figures include invertebrates such as shrimp and fruit flies. Animals bred for research then killed as surplus, animals used for breeding purposes, and animals not yet weaned are also not included in the figures.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the total number of animals used in that country in 2005 was almost 1.2 million, but this does not include rats and mice, which make up about 90% of research animals. In 1995, researchers at Tufts University Center for Animals and Public Policy estimated that 14–21 million animals were used in American laboratories in 1992, a reduction from a high of 50 million used in 1970. In 1986, the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment reported that estimates of the animals used in the U.S. range from 10 million to upwards of 100 million each year, and that their own best estimate was at least 17 million to 22 million.
In the UK, Home Office figures show that 3.2 million procedures were carried out in 2007, a rise of 189,500 since the previous year. Four thousand procedures used non-human primates, down 240 from 2006. A "procedure" refers to an experiment that might last minutes, several months, or years. Most animals are used in only one procedure: animals either die because of the experiment or are euthanized afterwards.
Although many more invertebrates than vertebrates are used, these experiments are largely unregulated by law. The most used invertebrate species are Drosophila melanogaster, a fruit fly, and Caenorhabditis elegans, a nematode worm. In the case of C. elegans, the worm's body is completely transparent and the precise lineage of all the organism's cells is known, while studies in the fly D. melanogaster can use an amazing array of genetic tools. These animals offer great advantages over vertebrates, including their short life cycle and the ease with which large numbers may be studied, with thousands of flies or nematodes fitting into a single room. However, the lack of an adaptive immune system and their simple organs prevent worms from being used in particular aspects of medical research such as vaccine development. Similarly, the fruit fly immune system differs greatly from that of humans, and diseases in insects can be different from diseases in vertebrates; however, fruit flies and waxworms can be useful in certain situations to identify novel virulence factors or pharmacologically active compounds.
In the U.S., the numbers of rats and mice used is estimated at 20 million a year. Other rodents commonly used are guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. Mice are the most commonly used vertebrate species because of their size, low cost, ease of handling, and fast reproduction rate. Mice are widely considered to be the best model of inherited human disease and share 99% of their genes with humans. With the advent of genetic engineering technology, genetically modified mice can be generated to order and can provide models for a range of human diseases. Rats are also widely used for physiology, toxicology and cancer research, but genetic manipulation is much harder in rats than in mice, which limits the use of these rodents in basic science.
Nearly 200,000 fish and 20,000 amphibians were used in the UK in 2004. The main species used is the zebrafish, Danio rerio, which are translucent during their embryonic stage, and the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. Over 20,000 rabbits were used for animal testing in the UK in 2004. Albino rabbits are used in eye irritancy tests (Draize test) because rabbits have less tear flow than other animals, and the lack of eye pigment in albinos make the effects easier to visualize. Rabbits are also frequently used for the production of polyclonal antibodies.
Cats are most commonly used in neurological research. Over 25,500 cats were used in the U.S. in 2000, around half of whom were used in experiments which, according to the American Anti-Vivisection Society, had the potential to cause "pain and/or distress".
Dogs are widely used in biomedical research, testing, and education — particularly beagles, because they are gentle and easy to handle. They are commonly used as models for human diseases in cardiology, endocrinology, and bone and joint studies, research that tends to be highly invasive, according to the Humane Society of the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Welfare Report for 2005 shows that 66,000 dogs were used in USDA-registered facilities in that year. In the U.S., some of the dogs are purpose-bred, while most are supplied by so-called Class B dealers licensed by the USDA to buy animals from auctions, shelters, newspaper ads, and who are sometimes accused of stealing pets.
Non-human primates (NHPs) are used in toxicology tests, studies of AIDS and hepatitis, studies of neurology, behavior and cognition, reproduction, genetics, and xenotransplantation. They are caught in the wild or purpose-bred. In the U.S. and China, most primates are domestically purpose-bred, whereas in Europe the majority are imported purpose-bred. Rhesus monkeys, cynomolgus monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and owl monkeys are imported; around 12,000 to 15,000 monkeys are imported into the U.S. annually. In total, around 70,000 NHPs are used each year in the United States and European Union. Most of the NHPs used are macaques; but marmosets, spider monkeys, and squirrel monkeys are also used, and baboons and chimpanzees are used in the U.S; in 2006 there were 1133 chimpanzees in U.S. primate centers. The first transgenic primate was produced in 2001, with the development of a method that could introduce new genes into a rhesus macaque. This transgenic technology is now being applied in the search for a treatment for the genetic disorder Huntington's disease. Notable studies on non-human primates have been part of the polio vaccine development, and development of Deep Brain Stimulation, and their current heaviest non-toxicological use occurs in the monkey AIDS model, SIV. In 2008 a proposal to ban all primates experiments in the EU has sparked a vigorous debate.
Animals used by laboratories are largely supplied by specialist dealers. Sources differ for vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Most laboratories breed and raise flies and worms themselves, using strains and mutants supplied from a few main stock centers. For vertebrates, sources include breeders who supply purpose-bred animals; businesses that trade in wild animals; and dealers who supply animals sourced from pounds, auctions, and newspaper ads. Animal shelters also supply the laboratories directly. Large centers also exist to distribute strains of genetically modified animals; the International Knockout Mouse Consortium, for example, aims to provide knockout mice for every gene in the mouse genome.
In the U.S., Class A breeders are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sell animals for research purposes, while Class B dealers are licensed to buy animals from "random sources" such as auctions, pound seizure, and newspaper ads. Some Class B dealers have been accused of kidnapping pets and illegally trapping strays, a practice known as bunching. It was in part out of public concern over the sale of pets to research facilities that the 1966 Laboratory Animal Welfare Act was ushered in — the Senate Committee on Commerce reported in 1966 that stolen pets had been retrieved from Veterans Administration facilities, the Mayo Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, and Harvard and Yale Medical Schools. The USDA recovered at least a dozen stolen pets during a raid on a Class B dealer in Arkansas in 2003.
Four states in the U.S. — Minnesota, Utah, Oklahoma, and Iowa — require their shelters to provide animals to research facilities. Fourteen states explicitly prohibit the practice, while the remainder either allow it or have no relevant legislation.
In the European Union, animal sources are governed by Council Directive 86/609/EEC, which requires lab animals to be specially bred, unless the animal has been lawfully imported and is not a wild animal or a stray. The latter requirement may also be exempted by special arrangement. In the UK, most animals used in experiments are bred for the purpose under the 1988 Animal Protection Act, but wild-caught primates may be used if exceptional and specific justification can be established. The United States also allows the use of wild-caught primates; between 1995 and 1999, 1,580 wild baboons were imported into the U.S. Over half the primates imported between 1995 and 2000 were handled by Charles River Laboratories, or by Covance, which is the single largest importer of primates into the U.S.
The extent to which animal testing causes pain and suffering, and the capacity of animals to experience and comprehend them, is the subject of much debate.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2006 about 670,000 animals (57%) (not including rats, mice, birds, or invertebrates) were used in procedures that did not include more than momentary pain or distress. About 420,000 (36%) were used in procedures in which pain or distress was relieved by anesthesia, while 84,000 (7%) were used in studies that would cause pain or distress that would not be relieved.
In the UK, research projects are classified as mild, moderate, and substantial in terms of the suffering the researchers conducting the study say they may cause; a fourth category of "unclassified" means the animal was anesthetized and killed without recovering consciousness, according to the researchers. In December 2001, 1,296 (39%) of project licenses in force were classified as mild, 1,811 (55%) as moderate, 63 (2%) as substantial, and 139 (4%) as unclassified. There have, however, been suggestions of systemic underestimation of procedure severity.
The idea that animals might not feel pain as human beings feel it traces back to the 17th-century French philosopher, René Descartes, who argued that animals do not experience pain and suffering because they lack consciousness. Bernard Rollin of Colorado State University, the principal author of two U.S. federal laws regulating pain relief for animals, writes that researchers remained unsure into the 1980s as to whether animals experience pain, and that veterinarians trained in the U.S. before 1989 were simply taught to ignore animal pain. In his interactions with scientists and other veterinarians, he was regularly asked to "prove" that animals are conscious, and to provide "scientifically acceptable" grounds for claiming that they feel pain. Carbone writes that the view that animals feel pain differently is now a minority view. Academic reviews of the topic are more equivocal, noting that although the argument that animals have at least simple conscious thoughts and feelings has strong support, some critics continue to question how reliably animal mental states can be determined. The ability of invertebrate species of animals, such as insects, to feel pain and suffering is also unclear.
The defining text on animal welfare regulation, "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" defines the parameters that govern animal testing in the USA. It states "The ability to experience and respond to pain is widespread in the animal kingdom...Pain is a stressor and, if not relieved, can lead to unacceptable levels of stress and distress in animals." The Guide states that the ability to recognize the symptoms of pain in different species is vital in efficiently applying pain relief and that it is essential for the people caring for and using animals to be entirely familiar with these symptoms. On the subject of analgesics used to relieve pain, the Guide states "The selection of the most appropriate analgesic or anesthetic should reflect professional judgment as to which best meets clinical and humane requirements without compromising the scientific aspects of the research protocol". Accordingly, all issues of animal pain and distress, and their potential treatment with analgesia and anesthesia, are required regulatory issues in receiving animal protocol approval.
Regulations require that scientists use as few animals as possible, especially for terminal experiments. However, while policy makers consider suffering to be the central issue and see animal euthanasia as a way to reduce suffering, others, such as the RSPCA, argue that the lives of laboratory animals have intrinsic value. Regulations focus on whether particular methods cause pain and suffering, not whether their death is undesirable in itself. The animals are euthanized at the end of studies for sample collection or post-mortem examination; during studies if their pain or suffering falls into certain categories regarded as unacceptable, such as depression, infection that is unresponsive to treatment, or the failure of large animals to eat for five days; or when they are unsuitable for breeding or unwanted for some other reason.
Methods of euthanizing laboratory animals are chosen to induce rapid unconsciousness and death without pain or distress. The methods that are preferred are those published by councils of veterinarians. The animal can be made to inhale a gas, such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, by being placed in a chamber, or by use of a face mask, with or without prior sedation or anesthesia. Sedatives or anesthetics such as barbiturates can be given intravenously, or inhalant anesthetics may be used. Amphibians and fish may be immersed in water containing an anesthetic such as tricaine. Physical methods are also used, with or without sedation or anesthesia depending on the method. Recommended methods include decapitation (beheading) for small rodents or rabbits. Cervical dislocation (breaking the neck or spine) may be used for birds, mice, and immature rats and rabbits. Maceration (grinding into small pieces) is used on 1 day old chicks. High-intensity microwave irradiation of the brain can preserve brain tissue and induce death in less than 1 second, but this is currently only used on rodents. Captive bolts may be used, typically on dogs, ruminants, horses, pigs and rabbits. It causes death by a concussion to the brain. Gunshot may be used, but only in cases where a penetrating captive bolt may not be used. Some physical methods are only acceptable after the animal is unconscious. Electrocution may be used for cattle, sheep, swine, foxes, and mink after the animals are unconscious, often by a prior electrical stun. Pithing (inserting a tool into the base of the brain) is usable on animals already unconscious. Slow or rapid freezing, or inducing air embolism are acceptable only with prior anesthesia to induce unconsciousness.
Basic or pure research investigates how organisms behave, develop, and function. Those opposed to animal testing object that pure research may have little or no practical purpose, but researchers argue that it may produce unforeseen benefits, rendering the distinction between pure and applied research—research that has a specific practical aim—unclear. Pure research uses larger numbers and a greater variety of animals than applied research. Fruit flies, nematode worms, mice and rats together account for the vast majority, though small numbers of other species are used, ranging from sea slugs through to armadillos. Examples of the types of animals and experiments used in basic research include:
Applied research aims to solve specific and practical problems. Compared to pure research, which is largely academic in origin, applied research is usually carried out in the pharmaceutical industry, or by universities in commercial partnerships. These may involve the use of animal models of diseases or conditions, which are often discovered or generated by pure research programmes. In turn, such applied studies may be an early stage in the drug discovery process. Examples include:
Xenotransplantation research involves transplanting tissues or organs from one species to another, as a way to overcome the shortage of human organs for use in organ transplants. Current research involves using primates as the recipients of organs from pigs that have been genetically modified to reduce the primates' immune response against the pig tissue. Although transplant rejection remains a problem, recent clinical trials that involved implanting pig insulin-secreting cells into diabetics did reduce these people's need for insulin.
Documents released to the news media by the animal rights organization Uncaged Campaigns showed that, between 1994 and 2000, wild baboons imported to the UK from Africa by Imutran Ltd, a subsidiary of Novartis Pharma AG, in conjunction with Cambridge University and Huntingdon Life Sciences, to be used in experiments that involved grafting pig tissues, suffered serious and sometimes fatal injuries. A scandal occurred when it was revealed that the company had communicated with the British government in an attempt to avoid regulation.
Toxicology testing, also known as safety testing, is conducted by pharmaceutical companies testing drugs, or by contract animal testing facilities, such as Huntingdon Life Sciences, on behalf of a wide variety of customers. According to 2005 EU figures, around one million animals are used every year in Europe in toxicology tests; which are about 10% of all procedures. According to Nature, 5,000 animals are used for each chemical being tested, with 12,000 needed to test pesticides. The tests are conducted without anesthesia, because interactions between drugs can affect how animals detoxify chemicals, and may interfere with the results.
Toxicology tests are used to examine finished products such as pesticides, medications, food additives, packing materials, and air freshener, or their chemical ingredients. Most tests involve testing ingredients rather than finished products, but according to BUAV, manufacturers believe these tests overestimate the toxic effects of substances; they therefore repeat the tests using their finished products to obtain a less toxic label.
The substances are applied to the skin or dripped into the eyes; injected intravenously, intramuscularly, or subcutaneously; inhaled either by placing a mask over the animals and restraining them, or by placing them in an inhalation chamber; or administered orally, through a tube into the stomach, or simply in the animal's food. Doses may be given once, repeated regularly for many months, or for the lifespan of the animal.][
There are several different types of acute toxicity tests. The 50LD ("Lethal Dose 50%") test is used to evaluate the toxicity of a substance by determining the dose required to kill 50% of the test animal population. This test was removed from OECD international guidelines in 2002, replaced by methods such as the fixed dose procedure, which use fewer animals and cause less suffering. Abbott writes that, as of 2005, "the LD50 acute toxicity test ... still accounts for one-third of all animal [toxicity] tests worldwide."
Irritancy can be measured using the Draize test, where a test substance is applied to an animal's eyes or skin, usually an albino rabbit. For Draize eye testing, the test involves observing the effects of the substance at intervals and grading any damage or irritation, but the test should be halted and the animal killed if it shows "continuing signs of severe pain or distress". The Humane Society of the United States writes that the procedure can cause redness, ulceration, hemorrhaging, cloudiness, or even blindness. This test has also been criticized by scientists for being cruel and inaccurate, subjective, over-sensitive, and failing to reflect human exposures in the real world. Although no accepted in vitro alternatives exist, a modified form of the Draize test called the low volume eye test may reduce suffering and provide more realistic results and this was adopted as the new standard in September 2009. However, the Draize test will still be used for substances that are not severe irritants.
The most stringent tests are reserved for drugs and foodstuffs. For these, a number of tests are performed, lasting less than a month (acute), one to three months (subchronic), and more than three months (chronic) to test general toxicity (damage to organs), eye and skin irritancy, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, and reproductive problems. The cost of the full complement of tests is several million dollars per substance and it may take three or four years to complete.
These toxicity tests provide, in the words of a 2006 United States National Academy of Sciences report, "critical information for assessing hazard and risk potential". Nature reported that most animal tests either over- or underestimate risk, or do not reflect toxicity in humans particularly well, with false positive results being a particular problem. This variability stems from using the effects of high doses of chemicals in small numbers of laboratory animals to try to predict the effects of low doses in large numbers of humans. Although relationships do exist, opinion is divided on how to use data on one species to predict the exact level of risk in another.
Cosmetics testing on animals is particularly controversial. Such tests, which are still conducted in the U.S., involve general toxicity, eye and skin irritancy, phototoxicity (toxicity triggered by ultraviolet light) and mutagenicity.
Cosmetics testing is banned in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK, and in 2002, after 13 years of discussion, the European Union (EU) agreed to phase in a near-total ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics throughout the EU from 2009, and to ban all cosmetics-related animal testing. France, which is home to the world's largest cosmetics company, L'Oreal, has protested the proposed ban by lodging a case at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, asking that the ban be quashed. The ban is also opposed by the European Federation for Cosmetics Ingredients, which represents 70 companies in Switzerland, Belgium, France, Germany and Italy.
Before the early 20th century, laws regulating drugs were lax. Currently, all new pharmaceuticals undergo rigorous animal testing before being licensed for human use. Tests on pharmaceutical products involve:
Animals are also used for education and training; are bred for use in laboratories; and are used by the military to develop weapons, vaccines, battlefield surgical techniques, and defensive clothing. For example, in 2008 the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency used live pigs to study the effects of improvised explosive device explosions on internal organs, especially the brain.
In the US military, goats are commonly used to train combat medics. (Goats have become the main animal species used for this purpose after the Pentagon phased out using dogs for medical training in the 1980s.) While modern mannequins used in medical training are quite efficient in simulating the behavior of a human body, trainees feel that "the goat exercise provide[s] a sense of urgency that only real life trauma can provide". Besides the US, six other NATO countries, including Poland and Denmark, use live animals for combat medic training.
There are efforts in many countries to find alternatives to using animals in education. Horst Spielmann, German director of the Central Office for Collecting and Assessing Alternatives to Animal Experimentation, while describing Germany's progress in this area, told German broadcaster ARD in 2005: "Using animals in teaching curricula is already superfluous. In many countries, one can become a doctor, vet or biologist without ever having performed an experiment on an animal."
The ethical questions raised by performing experiments on animals are subject to much debate, and viewpoints have shifted significantly over the 20th century. There remain disagreements about which procedures are useful for which purposes, as well as disagreements over which ethical principles apply to which species. The dominant ethical position worldwide is that achievement of scientific and medical goals using animal testing is desirable, so long as animal suffering and use is minimized. The British government has additionally required that the cost to animals in an experiment be weighed against the gain in knowledge. Some medical schools and agencies in China, Japan, and South Korea have built cenotaphs for killed animals. In Japan there are also annual memorial services (Ireisai 慰霊祭) for animals sacrificed at medical school.
A wide range of minority viewpoints exist. The view that animals have moral rights (animal rights) is a philosophical position proposed by Tom Regan, among others, who argues that animals are beings with beliefs and desires, and as such are the "subjects of a life" with moral value and therefore moral rights. Regan still sees ethical differences between killing human and non-human animals, and argues that to save the former it is permissible to kill the latter. Likewise, a "moral dilemma" view suggests that avoiding potential benefit to humans is unacceptable on similar grounds, and holds the issue to be a dilemma in balancing such harm to humans to the harm done to animals in research. In contrast, an abolitionist view in animal rights holds that there is no moral justification for any harmful research on animals that is not to the benefit of the individual animal. Bernard Rollin argues that benefits to human beings cannot outweigh animal suffering, and that human beings have no moral right to use an animal in ways that do not benefit that individual. Another prominent position is that of philosopher Peter Singer, who argues that there are no grounds to include a being's species in considerations of whether their suffering is important in utilitarian moral considerations.
Although these arguments have not been widely accepted, governments such as the Netherlands and New Zealand have responded to the concerns by outlawing invasive experiments on certain classes of non-human primates, particularly the great apes.
Various specific cases of animal testing have drawn attention, including both instances of beneficial scientific research, and instances of alleged ethical violations by those performing the tests. The fundamental properties of muscle physiology were determined with work done using frog muscles (including the force generating mechanism of all muscle, the length-tension relationship, and the force-velocity curve), and frogs are still the preferred model organism due to the long survival of muscles in vitro and the possibility of isolating intact single-fiber preparations (not possible in other organisms). Modern physical therapy and the understanding and treatment of muscular disorders is based on this work and subsequent work in mice (often engineered to express disease states such as muscular dystrophy). In February 1997 a team at the Roslin Institute in Scotland announced the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell.
Concerns have been raised over the mistreatment of primates undergoing testing. In 1985 the case of Britches, a macaque monkey at the University of California, Riverside, gained public attention. He had his eyelids sewn shut and a sonar sensor on his head as part of an experiment to test sensory substitution devices for blind people. The laboratory was raided by Animal Liberation Front in 1985, removing Britches and 466 other animals. The National Institutes of Health conducted an eight-month investigation and concluded, however, that no corrective action was necessary. During the 2000s other cases have made headlines, include experiments at the University of Cambridge and Columbia University in 2002. In 2004 and 2005, undercover footage of staff of Covance's, a contract research organization that provides animal testing services, Virginia lab was shot by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Following release of the footage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Covance $8,720 for 16 citations, three of which involved lab monkeys; the other citations involved administrative issues and equipment. In 1997 PETA filmed staff from Huntingdon Life Sciences, showing dogs being mistreated. The employees responsible were dismissed, with two given community service orders and ordered to pay £250 costs, the first lab technicians to have been prosecuted for animal cruelty in the UK.
In 2006, a primate researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) shut down the experiments in his lab after threats from animal rights activists. The researcher had received a grant to use 30 macaque monkeys for vision experiments; each monkey was anesthetized for a single physiological experiment lasting up to 120 hours, and then euthanized. The researcher's name, phone number, and address were posted on the website of the Primate Freedom Project. Demonstrations were held in front of his home. A Molotov cocktail was placed on the porch of what was believed to be the home of another UCLA primate researcher; instead, it was accidentally left on the porch of an elderly woman unrelated to the university. The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the attack. As a result of the campaign, the researcher sent an email to the Primate Freedom Project stating "you win," and "please don't bother my family anymore." In another incident at UCLA in June 2007, the Animal Liberation Brigade placed a bomb under the car of a UCLA children's ophthalmologist who experiments on cats and rhesus monkeys; the bomb had a faulty fuse and did not detonate. UCLA is now refusing Freedom of Information Act requests for animal medical records.
These attacks, as well as similar incidents that caused the Southern Poverty Law Center to declare in 2002 that the animal rights movement had "clearly taken a turn toward the more extreme," this prompted the US government to pass the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and the UK government to add the offense of "Intimidation of persons connected with animal research organisation" to the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Such legislation, and the arrest and imprisonment of extremists may have decreased the incidence of attacks.
Scientists and governments state that animal testing should cause as little suffering to animals as possible, and that animal tests should only be performed where necessary. The "three Rs" are guiding principles for the use of animals in research in most countries:
Alternative methods include positron emission tomography (PET), which allows scanning of the human brain in vivo, and comparative epidemiological studies of disease risk factors among human populations. Several invertebrate systems are considered acceptable alternatives to animals in very early stage discovery screens. Because of similarities between the innate immune system of insects and mammals, insects can replace mammals in certain types of studies. Drosophila melanogaster and the Galleria mellonella (waxworm) have been particularly important for analysis of virulence traits of mammalian pathogens. Waxworms and other insects have also proven valuable for the identification of pharmaceutical compounds with favorable bioavailability. The decision to adopt such models generally involves accepting a lower degree of biological similarity with mammals for significant gains in experimental throughput.
Although such principles have been welcomed as a step forwards by some animal welfare groups, they have also been criticized as both outdated by current research, and of little practical effect in improving animal welfare.
Official bodies such as the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Test Methods of the European Commission, the Interagency Coordinating Committee for the Validation of Alternative Methods in the US, ZEBET in Germany, and the Japanese Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (among others) also promote and disseminate the 3Rs. These bodies are mainly driven by responding to regulatory requirements, such as supporting the cosmetics testing ban in the EU by validating alternative methods.
The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing serves as a liaison between the European Commission and industries. The European Consensus Platform for Alternatives coordinates efforts amongst EU member states.
Academic centers also investigate alternatives, including the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at the Johns Hopkins University and the NC3Rs in the UK.
Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the human infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense or survival. More narrowly, it can be harm for specific gain, such as killing animals for food or for their fur, although opinions differ with respect to the method of slaughter. It usually encompasses inflicting harm for personal amusement (see zoosadism). Diverging viewpoints are held by jurisdictions throughout the world. Laws concerning animal cruelty are designed to prevent needless cruelty to animals, rather than killing for other aims such as food, or they concern species not eaten as food in the country involved, such as those regarded as pets.
Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to the issue. The animal welfare position holds that there is nothing inherently wrong with using animals for human purposes, such as food, clothing, entertainment, and research, but that it should be done in a humane way that minimizes unnecessary pain and suffering. Animal rights theorists criticize this position, arguing that the words "unnecessary" and "humane" are subject to widely differing interpretations, and that the only way to ensure protection for animals is to end their status as property, and to ensure that they are never used as commodities.
Many jurisdictions around the world have enacted statutes which forbid cruelty to some animals but these vary by country and in some cases by the use or practice.
Egyptian law states that anyone who inhumanely beats or intentionally kills any domesticated animal may be jailed or fined. The Egyptian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was established by the British over a hundred years ago, and is currently administered by the Egyptians. The SPCA was instrumental in promoting a 1997 ban on bullfighting in Egypt.
In the ancient Egyptian law, the killers of cats or dogs were executed.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund releases an annual report ranking the animal protection laws of every province and territory based on their relative strength and general comprehensiveness. In 2011, the top four, for their strong anti-cruelty laws, were Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The worst four were Alberta, Northwest Territories, Quebec, and Nunavut.
In Colombia, there is little to no control over cruel behaviors against animals, and the government has proposed that bullfighting be declared a "Cultural Heritage"; other cruel activities like cockfighting are given the same legal treatment.
The current policy of Mexico, in civil law, condemns physical harm to animals as property damage to the owners of the abused animal, considering the animals as owned property.
In criminal law, the situation is different. In December 2012, the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District reformed the existing Penal Code of Mexico City, establishing abuse and cruelty to animals as criminal offenses, provided the animals are not deemed to be plagues or pests. Abandoned animals are not considered to be plagues. A subsequent reform was entered into force on January 31, 2013, by a decree published in the Official Gazette of the Federal District. The law provides penalties of 6 months to 2 years imprisonment, and a fine of 50 to 100 days at minimum wage, to persons who cause obvious injury to an animal, and the penalty is increased by one half if those injuries endanger its life. The penalty rises to 2 to 4 years of prison, and a fine of 200 to 400 days at minimum wage, if the person intentionally causes the death of an animal.
This law is considered to extend throughout the rest of the 31 constituent states of the country. In addition, The Law of Animal Protection of the Federal District is wide-ranging, based on banning "unnecessary suffering". Similar laws now exist in most states.
The primary federal law relating to animal care and conditions in the US is the Animal Welfare Act of 1966, amended in 1970, 1976, 1985, 1990, 2002 and 2007. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard.
The AWA has been criticized by animal rights groups for excluding birds, rats and mice bred for research, and animals raised for food or fiber as well as all cold-blooded animals.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund releases an annual report ranking the animal protection laws of every state based on their relative strength and general comprehensiveness. In 2010's report, the top five states for their strong anti-cruelty laws were Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, and California. The five states with the weakest animal cruelty laws were Kentucky, North Dakota, Idaho, Mississippi, and Iowa.
In Massachusetts and New York, agents of humane societies and associations may be appointed as special officers to enforce statutes outlawing animal cruelty.
In 2004, a Florida legislator proposed a ban on "cruelty to bovines," stating: "A person who, for the purpose of practice, entertainment, or sport, intentionally fells, trips, or otherwise causes a cow to fall or lose its balance by means of roping, lassoing, dragging, or otherwise touching the tail of the cow commits a misdemeanor of the first degree." The proposal did not become law.
In the United States, ear cropping, tail docking, rodeo sports, and other acts are legal and sometimes condoned. Penalties for cruelty can be minimal, if pursued. Currently, 46 of the 50 states have enacted felony penalties for certain forms of animal abuse. However, in most jurisdictions, animal cruelty is most commonly charged as a misdemeanor offense. In one recent California case, a felony conviction for animal cruelty could theoretically net a 25 year to life sentence due to their three-strikes law, which increases sentences based on prior felony convictions.
In 2003, West Hollywood, California passed an ordinance banning declawing of house cats. In 2007, Norfolk, Virginia passed legislation only allowing the procedure for medical reasons. However, most jurisdictions allow the procedure.
In April 2013, Texas Federal Court Judge Sim Lake ruled that videos showing cruelty to animals are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution despite laws against cruelty to animals and evidence that cruelty to animals can be a precursor to cruelty to human beings as well as murder. A petition has been launched to reverse this ruling.
Several states have enacted or considered laws in support of humane farming.
As of 2006 there were no laws in China governing acts of cruelty to animals. In certain jurisdictions such as Fuzhou, dog control officers may kill any unaccompanied dogs on sight. However, the People's Republic of China is currently in the process of making changes to its stray-dog population laws in the capital city, Beijing. Mr. Zheng Gang who is the director of the Internal and Judicial Committee which comes under the Beijing Municipal People's Congress (BMPC), supports the new draft of the Beijing Municipal Regulation on Dogs from the local government. This new law is due to replace the current Beijing Municipal Regulation on Dog Ownership, introduced in 1889. The current regulation talks of "strictly" limiting dog ownership and controlling the number of dogs in the city. The new draft focuses instead on "strict management and combining restrictions with management." There are no government supported charitable organizations like the RSPCA, which monitors the cases on animal cruelty, so that all kinds of animal abuses, such as to fish, tigers, and bears, are to be reported for law enforcement and animal welfare.
In September 2009, legislation was drafted to address deliberate cruelty to animals in China. If passed, the legislation would offer some protection to pets, captive wildlife and animals used in laboratories, as well as regulating how farm animals are raised, transported and slaughtered.
As of 2010, Hong Kong has supplemented or replaced the laws against cruelty with a positive approach using laws that specify how animals should be treated. The government department primarily responsible for animal welfare in Hong Kong is the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).
Laws enforced by the AFCD include these:
In addition, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) does the following:
The Department of Health does the following:
As of 2006, Hong Kong has a law titled "Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance", with a maximum 3 year imprisonment and fines of HKD$200,000.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960 was amended in the year 1982. According to the newly amended Indian animal welfare act,2011 cruelty to animals is an offence and is punishable with a fine which shall not be less than ten thousand Rupees,which may extend to twenty five thousand Rupees or with imprisonment up to two years or both in the case of a first offence.In the case of second or subsequent offence,with a fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand Rupees, but may extend to one lakh Rupees and with imprisonment with a term which shall not be less than one year but may extend to three years.
In Japan, the 1973 Welfare and Management of Animals Act (amended in 1999 and 2005) stipulates that "no person shall kill, injure, or inflict cruelty to animals without due course", and in particular, criminalises cruelty to all mammals, birds, and reptiles possessed by persons; as well as cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, pigeons, domestic rabbits, chickens, and domestic ducks regardless of whether they are in captivity.
Separate national and local ordinances exist with regards to ensuring health and safety of animals handled by pet shops and other businesses.
Animal experiments are regulated by the 2000 Law for the Humane Treatment and Management of Animals, which was amended in 2006. This law requires those using animals to follow the principles outlined in the 3Rs and use as few animals as possible, and cause minimal distress and suffering. Regulation is at a local level based on national guidelines, but there are no governmental inspections of institutions and no reporting requirement for the numbers of animals used.
Veterinarian Lana Dunn and several Saudi nationals report that there are no laws to protect animals from cruelty since the term is not well-defined within the Saudi legal system. They point to a lack of a governing body to supervise conditions for animals, particularly in pet stores and in the exotic animal trade with East Africa.
The Taiwanese Animal Protection Act was passed in 1998, imposing fines up to NT$250,000 for cruelty. Criminal penalties for animal cruelty were enacted in 2007, including a maximum of 1 year imprisonment.
Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Austria have all banned battery cages for egg-laying hens. The entire European Union is phasing out battery cages by 2012. It is also illegal in many parts of Europe to declaw a cat.
In France, cruelty to animals is punishable by imprisonment of two years and a financial penalty (30,000 €).
In Germany, killing animals or causing significant pain (or prolonged or repeated pain) to them is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years or a financial penalty. If the animal is of foreign origin, the act may also be punishable as criminal damage.
Acts of cruelty against animals can be punished with imprisonment, for a minimum of three months up to a maximum of three years, and with a fine ranging from a minimum of 3.000,00 Euro to a maximum of 160.000,00 Euro, as for the law n°189/2004. The law was passed mainly to crush the phenomenon of dog fighting, which in Italy is a clandestine blood sport fully controlled by organized crime.][
The Swiss animal protection laws are among the strictest in the world, comprehensively regulating the treatment of animals including the size of rabbit cages, and the amount of exercise that must be provided to dogs.
In the canton of Zurich an animal lawyer, Antoine Goetschel, is employed by the canton government to represent the interests of animals in animal cruelty cases.
Under Turkey's Animal Protection Law No. 5199, cruelty to animals is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine only, with no jail time or a black mark on one's criminal record. HAYTAP, the Animal Rights Federation in Turkey, believes that the present law does not contain a strong enough punishment for animal abusers.
In the United Kingdom, cruelty to animals is a criminal offence for which one may be jailed for up to 51 weeks and may be fined up to £20,000.
On August 18, 1911, the House of Commons introduced the Protection of Animals Act 1911 (c.27) following lobbying by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). The maximum punishment was 6 months of "hard labour" with a fine of 25 pounds.
In the London Police Act 1839, "fighting or baiting Lions, Bears, Badgers, Cocks, Dogs, or other Animals" was prohibited in London, with a penalty of up to one month imprisonment, with possible hard labour, or up to five pounds. The law laid numerous restrictions on how, when, and where animals could be driven, wagons unloaded, etc.. It also prohibited owners from letting mad dogs run loose and gave police the right to destroy any dog suspected of being rabid or any dog bitten by a suspected rabid dog. The same law prohibited the use of dogs for drawing carts. Up until then, dogs were used for delivering milk, bread, fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, animal food (the cat's-meat man), and other items for sale and for collecting refuse (the rag-and-bone man). As Nigel Rothfels notes, the prohibition against dogs pulling carts in or near London caused most of the dogs to be killed by their owners as they went from being contributors to the family income to unaffordable expenses. Cart dogs were replaced by people with handcarts. About 150,000 dogs were killed or abandoned. Erica Fudge quotes Hilda Kean:
The Protection of Animals Act 1911 extended the ban on draft dogs to the rest of the kingdom. As many as 600,000 dogs were killed or abandoned.
The Act of 1911 has now been replaced by the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
In Australia, many states have enacted legislation outlawing cruelty to animals, however, it is argued][ that welfare laws do not adequately extend to production animals. Whilst police maintain an overall jurisdiction in prosecution of criminal matters, in many states officers of the RSPCA and other animal welfare charities are accorded authority to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty offenses.
There are many reasons why individuals abuse animals. Animal cruelty covers a wide range of actions (or lack of action). Learning about animal abuse has revealed patterns of behavior employed by abusers.
Animal cruelty is often broken down into two main categories: active and passive, also referred to as commission and omission, respectively.
Passive cruelty is typified by cases of neglect, in which the cruelty is a lack of action rather than the action itself. Examples of neglect are starvation, dehydration, parasite infestations, allowing a collar to grow into an animal’s skin, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions, and failure to seek veterinary care when necessary.
In many cases of neglect in which an investigator believes that the cruelty occurred out of ignorance, the investigator may attempt to educate the pet owner, then revisit the situation. In more severe cases, exigent circumstances may require that the animal be removed for veterinary care.
Acts of intentional animal cruelty (sometimes referred to as "Non-Accidental Injury") may be indicators of serious psychological problems. According to the American Humane Association, 13% of intentional animal abuse cases involve domestic violence. As many as 71% of pet-owning women seeking shelter at safe houses have reported that their partner had threatened and/or actually hurt or killed one or more of their pets; 32% of these women reported that one or more of their children had also hurt or killed pets. Battered women report that they are prevented from leaving their abusers because they fear what will happen to the animals in their absence. Animal abuse sometimes is used as a form of intimidation in domestic disputes.
One of the known warning signs of certain psychopathologies, including antisocial personality disorder, also known as psychopathic personality disorder, is a history of torturing pets and small animals, a behavior known as zoosadism. According to the New York Times, "[t]he FBI has found that a history of cruelty to animals is one of the traits that regularly appears in its computer records of serial rapists and murderers, and the standard diagnostic and treatment manual for psychiatric and emotional disorders lists cruelty to animals a diagnostic criterion for conduct disorders. "A survey of psychiatric patients who had repeatedly tortured dogs and cats found all of them had high levels of aggression toward people as well, including one patient who had murdered a young boy." Robert K. Ressler, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's behavioral sciences unit, studied serial killers and noted,"Murderers like this (Jeffrey Dahmer) very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids."
Cruelty to animals is one of the three components of the Macdonald triad, indicators of violent antisocial behavior in children and adolescents. According to the studies used to form this model, cruelty to animals is a common (but not universal) behavior in children and adolescents who grow up to become serial killers and other violent criminals.
It has also been found that children who are cruel to animals have often witnessed or been victims of abuse themselves. In two separate studies cited by the Humane Society of the United States roughly one-third of families suffering from domestic abuse indicated that at least one child had hurt or killed a pet.
The practice of torturing animals for divination purposes is found in ancient cultures, and some modern religions such as Santeria continue to do animal sacrifices for healing and other rituals. Taghairm was performed by ancient Scots to summon devils.
Animal cruelty has long been an issue with the art form of filmmaking, with even some big-budget Hollywood films receiving criticism for allegedly harmful—and sometimes lethal—treatment of animals during production. One of the most infamous examples of animal cruelty in film was Michael Cimino's legendary flop Heaven's Gate, in which numerous animals were brutalized and even killed during production. Cimino allegedly killed chickens and bled horses from the neck to gather samples of their blood to smear on actors for Heaven's Gate, and also allegedly had a horse blown up with dynamite while shooting a battle sequence, the shot of which made it into the film. After the release of the film Reds, the star and director of the picture, Warren Beatty apologized for his Spanish film crew's use of tripwires on horses while filming a battle scene, when Beatty wasn't present. Tripwires were used against horses when Rambo III and The Thirteenth Warrior were being filmed. An ox was sliced nearly in half during production of Apocalypse Now, while a donkey was bled to death for dramatic effect for the film Manderlay, in a scene later cut from the film.
Cruelty in film exists in movies outside the United States. There is a case of cruelty to animals in the South Korean film The Isle, according to its director Kim Ki-Duk. In the film, a real frog is skinned alive while fish are mutilated. Seven animals were killed for the camera in the controversial Italian film Cannibal Holocaust. The images in the film include the slow and graphic beheading and ripping apart of a turtle, a monkey being beheaded and its brains being consumed by natives and a spider being chopped apart. In fact, Cannibal Holocaust was only one film in a collective of similarly themed movies (cannibal films) that featured unstaged animal cruelty. Their influences were rooted in the films of Mondo filmmakers, which sometimes contained similar content. In several countries, such as the UK, Cannibal Holocaust was only allowed for release with most of the animal cruelty edited out.
More recently, the video sharing site YouTube has been criticized for hosting thousands of videos of real life animal cruelty, especially the feeding of one animal to another for the purposes of entertainment and spectacle. Although some of these videos have been flagged as inappropriate by users, YouTube has generally declined to remove them, unlike videos which include copyright infringement.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has contracted with the American Humane Association (AHA) for monitoring of animal use during filming or while on the set. Compliance with this arrangement is voluntary and only applies to films made in the United States. Films monitored by the American Humane Association may bear one of their end-credit messages. Many productions, including those made in the US, do not advise AHA or SAG of animal use in films, so there is no oversight.
Simulations of animal cruelty exist on television, too. On the September 23, 1999 edition of WWE Smackdown!, a plot line had professional wrestler Big Boss Man trick fellow wrestler Al Snow into appearing to eat his pet chihuahua Pepper.
The use of animals in the circus has been controversial since animal welfare groups have documented instances of animal cruelty during the training of performing animals. The Humane Society of the United States has documented multiple cases of abuse and neglect, and cites several reasons for opposing the use of animals in circuses, including confining enclosures, lack of regular veterinary care, abusive training methods and lack of oversight by regulating bodies. Animal trainers have argued that some criticism is not based in fact, including beliefs that animals are 'hurt' by being shouted at, that caging is cruel and common, and the harm caused by the use of whips, chains or training implements.
In 2009, Bolivia passed legislation banning the use of any animals, wild or domestic, in circuses. The law states that circuses "constitute an act of cruelty." Circus operators had one year from the bill's passage on July 1, 2009 to comply.
In 2010, Lebanese animal rights groups became enraged when it was learned that wild performing animals belonging to the Monte Carlo Circus were transported from Egypt to Lebanon without being provided with food and water.
Following the campaign, new regulations were enacted that prohibit the use of animals in circuses in Israel. Finland and Singapore have restricted the use of animals in entertainment. The UK and Scottish Parliaments have committed to ban certain wild animals in travelling circuses and approximately 200 local authorities in the UK have banned all animal acts on council land.][ Animal acts are still very popular throughout much of Europe, the Americas and Asia. In the United States animal welfare standards are overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture under provisions of the Animal Welfare Act. Efforts to ban circus animals in cities like Denver, Colorado have been rejected by voters. Some circuses now present animal-free acts.
Bullfighting is criticized by animal rights or animal welfare activists, referring to it as a cruel or barbaric blood sport in which the bull suffers severe stress and a slow, torturous death. A number of activist groups undertake anti-bullfighting actions in Spain and other countries. In Spanish, opposition to bullfighting is referred to as antitaurina.
The Bulletpoint Bullfight warns that bullfighting is "not for the squeamish", advising spectators to "be prepared for blood". It details prolonged and profuse bleeding caused by horse-mounted lancers, the charging by the bull of a blindfolded, armored horse who is "sometimes doped up, and unaware of the proximity of the bull", the placing of barbed darts by banderilleros, followed by the matador's fatal sword thrust. It stresses that these procedures are a normal part of bullfighting and that death is rarely instantaneous. It further warns those attending bullfights to "be prepared to witness various failed attempts at killing the animal before it lies down."
The "Toro Jubilo" or Toro embolado in Soria, Medinaceli, Spain, is a festival associated with animal cruelty. During this festival, balls of pitch are attached to a bull's horns and set on fire. The bull is then released into the streets and can do nothing but run around in pain, often smashing into walls in an attempt to douse the fire. These fiery balls can burn for hours, and they burn the bull's horns, body, and eyes – all while spectators cheer and run around the victim. The animal rights group PACMA has described the fiesta as "a clear example of animal mistreatment", and PETA calls it "a sadistic festival".
Animal snuff films, known as crush films can be found on the Internet. These films depict instances of animal cruelty, and/or pornographic acts with animals, usually involving the death of an animal, including insects, mice, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, monkeys, birds, cats, and dogs. In 1999, the U.S. government banned the depiction of animal cruelty; however, the law was overturned by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled that the category "depiction of animal cruelty" contained in the law was not an exception to First Amendment protections. In an 8–1 decision handed down in April 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the lower court's ruling, but on the grounds that the law was unconstitutionally broad. The case itself did not involve crush films, but rather, a video that in part depicted dogfighting.
Military animals are creatures that have been employed by humankind for use in warfare. They are a specific application of working animals. Examples include horses, dogs and dolphins. Only recently has the involvement of animals in war been questioned, and practices such as using animals for fighting, as living bombs (as in the use of exploding donkeys) or for military testing purposes (such as during the Bikini atomic experiments) may now be criticised for being cruel. Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, the patron of the British Animals in War Memorial, stated that animals adapt to what humans want them to do, but that they will not do things that they don't want to, despite training. Animal participation in human conflict was commemorated in the United Kingdom in 2004 with the erection of the Animals in War Memorial in Hyde Park, London.
In 2008 a video of a US Marine throwing a puppy over a cliff during the Iraq conflict was popularised as an internet phenomenon and attracted widespread criticism of the soldier's actions for being an act of cruelty.
Animal cruelty such as soring, which is legally restricted, sometimes occurs on farms and ranches, as does lawful but cruel treatment such as livestock branding. These practices have been documented by secret photography taken by whistleblowers or undercover operatives from such organizations as Mercy for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States posing as employees. Agricultural organizations such as the American Farm Bureau Federation have successfully advocated for laws that tightly restrict secret photography or concealing information from farm employers.
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals. Animal welfare science uses measures such as longevity, disease, immunosuppression, behavior, physiology, and reproduction, although there is debate on which indicators provide the best information. The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights.
Systematic concern for animal welfare can be based on awareness that non-human animals are sentient and that consideration should be given to their well-being, especially when they are used by humans. These concerns can include how animals are killed for food, how they are used for scientific research, how they are kept (as pets, in zoos, farms, circuses, etc.), and how human activities affect the survival of wild species.
Animal welfare was a concern of some ancient civilizations but began to take a larger place in Western public policy in 19th-century Britain. Today it is a significant focus of interest or activity in science, ethics, and animal welfare organizations.
There are two forms of criticism of the concept of animal welfare, coming from diametrically opposite positions. One view, dating back centuries, asserts that animals are not consciously aware and hence are unable to experience poor welfare. The other view is based on the animal rights position that animals should not be regarded as property and any use of animals by humans is unacceptable. Some authorities thus treat animal welfare and animal rights as two opposing positions. Accordingly, some animal rights proponents argue that the perception of better animal welfare facilitates continued and increased exploitation of animals. Others see the increasing concern for animal welfare as incremental steps towards animal rights. The most widely held position in the western world is a mid-way utilitarian point-of-view; the position that it is morally acceptable for humans to use non-human animals, provided that adverse effects on animal welfare are minimized as far as possible.
In animal ethics, the term animal welfare often means animal welfarism.
In the Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary, animal welfare is defined as "the avoidance of abuse and exploitation of animals by humans by maintaining appropriate standards of accommodation, feeding and general care, the prevention and treatment of disease and the assurance of freedom from harassment, and unnecessary discomfort and pain."
In the past, many have seen animal welfare chiefly in terms of the body and the physical environment (shelter, feed, etc.): if an animal is healthy and producing well, it is faring well. One problem with this approach is that animals can be highly productive despite experiencing poor conditions, e.g. laying hens in battery cages.
Donald Broom defines the welfare of an animal as "its state as regards its attempts to cope with its environment. This state includes how much it is having to do to cope, the extent to which it is succeeding in or failing to cope, and its associated feelings." He states that "Welfare will vary over a continuum from very good to very poor and studies of welfare will be most effective if a wide range of measures is used."
Other workers in the area, perhaps most notably Prof. Ian Duncan and Prof. Marian Dawkins, focus more on the feelings of the animal. This approach indicates the belief that animals should be considered as sentient beings. Duncan wrote "Animal welfare is to do with the feelings experienced by animals: the absence of strong negative feelings, usually called suffering, and (probably) the presence of positive feelings, usually called pleasure. In any assessment of welfare, it is these feelings that should be assessed." And Dawkins wrote, "Let us not mince words: Animal welfare involves the subjective feelings of animals." Similarly, Yew-Kwang Ng defines animal welfare in terms of welfare economics: "Welfare biology is the study of living things and their environment with respect to their welfare (defined as net happiness, or enjoyment minus suffering). Despite difficulties of ascertaining and measuring welfare and relevancy to normative issues, welfare biology is a positive science."
Animal welfarism, also known simply as welfarism or animal welfare, is the position that it is morally acceptable for humans to use non-human animals, provided that adverse effects on animal welfare are minimized as far as possible, short of not using the animals at all. An example of welfarist thought is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's meat manifesto. Point three of eight is:
Think about the animals that the meat you eat comes from. Are you at all concerned about how they have been treated? Have they lived well? Have they been fed on safe, appropriate foods? Have they been cared for by someone who respects them and enjoys contact with them? Would you like to be sure of that? Perhaps it's time to find out a bit more about where the meat you eat comes from. Or to buy from a source that reassures you about these points.
Robert Garner describes the welfarist position as the most widely-held in modern society. He states that one of the best attempts to clarify this position is given by Robert Nozick:
Consider the following (too minimal) position about the treatment of animals. So that we can easily refer to it, let us label this position "utilitarianism for animals, Kantianism for people." It says: (1) maximize the total happiness of all living beings; (2) place stringent side constraints on what one may do to human beings. Human beings may not be used or sacrificed for the benefit of others; animals may be used or sacrificed for the benefit of other people or animals only if those benefits are greater than the loss inflicted.
Welfarism is often contrasted with the animal rights and animal liberation positions, which hold that animals should not be used by humans, and should not be regarded as their property. However, it has been argued that both welfarism and animal liberation only make sense if you assume that animals have "subjective welfare". There is some evidence that the observed difference between human belief in animal welfare and animal rights originates from two distinct attitudes towards animals: attitudes towards suffering, and reverence for animals.][
Motivations to improve the welfare of animals may stem from many factors including sympathy, empathy, utility, genes (inherited traits), and memes (cultural factors). Motivations can be based on self-interest. For example, animal producers might improve welfare in order to meet consumer demand for products from high welfare systems. Typically, stronger concern is given to animals that are useful to humans (farm animals, pets etc.) than those that are not (pests, wild animals etc.). The different level of sentience that various species possess, or the perception of such differences, also create a shifting level of concern. Somewhat related to this are size and appearance, with larger or more aesthetically pleasing animals being favored.
There is some evidence to suggest that empathy is an inherited trait (genetic needs). Multiple studies have found women have greater concern for animals than men, possibly the result of it being an evolutionarily beneficial trait in societies where women take care of domesticated animals while men hunt.][ Interestingly, more women have animal phobias than men. But animal phobias are at least partly genetically determined, and this indicates that attitudes towards animals have a genetic component. Also, children exhibit empathy for animals at a very early age, when external influences cannot be an adequate explanation.
Laws punishing cruelty to animals tend to not just be based on welfare concerns but the belief that such behavior has repercussions toward the treatment of other humans by the animal abusers. Another argument against animal cruelty is based on aesthetics. Within the context of animal research, many scientific organisations believe that improved animal welfare will provide improved scientific outcomes. If an animal in a laboratory is suffering stress or pain it could negatively affect the results of the research.
Cultural factors that affect people's concern for animal welfare include affluence, education, tradition, religious beliefs, and political ideology. Increased affluence in many regions for the past few decades afforded consumers the disposable income to purchase products from high welfare systems. The adaptation of more economically efficient farming systems in these regions were at the expense of animal welfare and to the financial benefit of consumers, both of which were factors in driving the demand for higher welfare for farm animals. A 2006 survey concluded that a majority (63%) of EU citizens "show some willingness to change their usual place of shopping in order to be able to purchase more animal welfare-friendly products."
Interest in animal welfare continues to grow, with increasing attention being paid to it by the media, governmental and non-governmental organizations. The volume of scientific research on animal welfare has also increased significantly in some countries.
Systematic concern for the well-being of other animals probably arose in the Indus Valley Civilization as the religious ancestors return in animal form, and that animals must therefore be killed with the respect due to a human. This belief is exemplified in the existing religion, Jainism, and in varieties of other Indian religions. Other religions, specially those with roots in the Abrahamic religions, treat animals as the property of their owners, codifying rules for their care and slaughter intended to limit the distress, pain and fear animals experience under human control.
From the outset in 1822, when British MP Richard Martin shepherded a bill through Parliament offering protection from cruelty to cattle, horses, and sheep (earning himself the nickname Humanity Dick), the welfare approach has had human morality, and humane behaviour, at its central concern. Martin was among the founders of the world's first animal welfare organization, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCA, in 1824. In 1840, Queen Victoria gave the society her blessing, and it became the RSPCA. The society used members' donations to employ a growing network of inspectors, whose job was to identify abusers, gather evidence, and report them to the authorities.
But significant progress in animal welfare did not take place until the late 20th century. In 1965, the UK government commissioned an investigation—led by Professor Roger Brambell—into the welfare of intensively farmed animals, partly in response to concerns raised in Ruth Harrison's 1964 book, Animal Machines. On the basis of Professor Brambell's report, the UK government set up the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee in 1967, which became the Farm Animal Welfare Council in 1979. The committee's first guidelines recommended that animals require the freedoms to "stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves and stretch their limbs". The guidelines have since been elaborated to become known as the five freedoms:
A number of animal welfare organisations are campaigning to achieve a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) at the United Nations. In principle, the Universal Declaration will call on the United Nations to recognise animals as sentient beings, capable of experiencing pain and suffering, and to recognise that animal welfare is an issue of importance as part of the social development of nations worldwide. The campaign to achieve the UDAW is being co-ordinated by the World Society for the Protection of Animals, with a core working group including Compassion in World Farming, the RSPCA, and the Humane Society International (the international branch of HSUS).
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has defined animal welfare as: "An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress." They have offered the following eight principles for developing and evaluating animal welfare policies.
Animal welfare science is an emerging field that seeks to answer questions raised by the keeping and use of animals, such as whether hens are frustrated when confined in cages, whether the psychological well-being of animals in laboratories can be maintained, or whether zoo animals are stressed by the transport required for international conservation.
A major concern for the welfare of farm animals is factory farming in which large numbers of animals are reared in confinement at high stocking densities. Issues include the limited opportunities for natural behaviors (see battery cage, veal and gestation crate), abnormal behaviors such as tail-biting, cannibalism and feather pecking, and routine invasive procedures such as beak trimming, castration and ear notching. More extensive methods of farming, e.g. free range, can also raise welfare concerns such as the mulesing of sheep, predation of stock by wild animals, and biosecurity.
Farm animals are sometimes artificially selected for production parameters that impinge on the animal's welfare. For example, broiler chickens are bred to be very large to produce the greatest quantity of meat per animal. Broilers bred for fast growth have a high incidence of leg deformities because the large breast muscles cause distortions of the developing legs and pelvis, and the birds cannot support their increased body weight. Therefore, they frequently become lame or suffer from broken legs. The added weight also puts a strain on their hearts and lungs and can develop. In the UK, up to 19 million broilers die in their sheds from heart failure each year.
Another concern about farm animal welfare is the method of slaughter, especially ritual slaughter. While the killing of animals need not necessarily involve suffering, the general public considers that killing an animal reduces its welfare. This leads to further concerns about premature slaughtering such as chick culling by the laying hen industry, in which males are slaughtered immediately after hatching because they are superfluous; this practice occurs in other farm animal industries raising the same concerns.
In the United States, a federal law called the Humane Slaughter Act was designed to decrease suffering of livestock during slaughter.
The Georgia Animal Protection Act of 1986, was a state law enacted in response to the inhumane treatment of companion animals by a pet store chain in Atlanta. The Act provided for the licensing and regulation of pet shops, stables, kennels, and animal shelters, and established, for the first time, minimum standards of care. Additional provisions, called the Humane Euthanasia Act were added in 1990. and then further expanded and strengthened with the Animal Protection Act of 2000.
In 2002, voters passed (by a margin of 55% for and 45% against) Amendment 10 to the Florida Constitution banning the confinement of pregnant pigs in gestation crates. In 2006, Arizona voters passed Proposition 204 with 62% support; the legislation prohibits the confinement of calves in veal crates and breeding sows in gestation crates. In 2007, the Governor of Oregon signed legislation prohibiting the confinement of pigs in gestation crates and in 2008, the Governor of Colorado signed legislation that phased out both gestation crates and veal crates. Also during 2008, California passed Proposition 2, known as the "Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act", which orders new space requirements for farm animals starting in 2015.
European Union legislation regarding farm animal welfare is regularly re-drafted according to science based evidence and cultural views. For example, in 2009, legislation was passed which aims to reduce animal suffering during slaughter and on January 1, 2012, the European Union Council Directive 1999/74/EC came into act which means that conventional battery cages for laying hens are now banned across the Union.
In the US, every institution that uses vertebrate animals for federally funded laboratory research must have an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Each local IACUC reviews research protocols and conducts evaluations of the institution's animal care and use which includes the results of inspections of facilities that are required by law. the IACUC committee must assess the steps taken to "enhance animal well-being" before research can take place. This includes research on farm animals. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, researchers must try to minimize distress in animals whenever possible: "Animals used in research and testing may experience pain from induced diseases, procedures, and toxicity. The Public Health Service (PHS) Policy and Animal Welfare Regulations (AWRs) state that procedures that cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress should be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia. However, research and testing studies sometimes involve pain that cannot be relieved with such agents because they would interfere with the scientific objectives of the study. Accordingly, federal regulations require that IACUCs determine that discomfort to animals will be limited to that which is unavoidable for the conduct of scientifically valuable research, and that unrelieved pain and distress will only continue for the duration necessary to accomplish the scientific objectives. The PHS Policy and AWRs further state that animals that would otherwise suffer severe or chronic pain and distress that cannot be relieved should be painlessly killed at the end of the procedure, or if appropriate, during the procedure."
The National Research Council's Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals also serves as a guide to improve welfare for animals used in research in the US. The Federation of Animal Science Societies' Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching is a resource addressing welfare concerns in farm animal research. Laboratory animals in the US are also protected under the Animal Welfare Act. The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) enforces the Animal Welfare Act. APHIS inspects animal research facilities regularly and reports are published online.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the total number of animals used in that country in 2005 was almost 1.2 million, but this does not include rats, mice and birds which are not covered by welfare legislation but make up approximately 90% of research animals.
In the UK, the welfare of research animals being used for "regulated procedures" was historically protected by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) which is administrated by the Home Office. The Act defines "regulated procedures" as animal experiments that could potentially cause "pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm", to "protected animals". Initially, "Protected animals" encompassed all living vertebrates other than humans, but in 1993, an amendment added a single invertebrate species, the common octopus. Primates, cats, dogs and horses have additional protection over other vertebrates under the Act. Revised legislation came into force in January 2013. This has been expanded to protect "...all living vertebrates, other than man, and any living cephalopod. Fish and amphibia are protected once they can feed independently and cephalopods at the point when they hatch. Embryonic and foetal forms of mammals, birds and reptiles are protected during the last third of their gestation or incubation period." The definition of regulated procedures was also expanded "A procedure is regulated if it is carried out on a protected animal and may cause that animal a level of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm equivalent to, or higher than, that caused by inserting a hypodermic needle according to good veterinary practice." It also includes modifying the genes of a protected animal if this causes the animal pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. ASPA also considers other issues such as animal sources, housing conditions, identification methods and the hummane killing of animals. This legislation is widely regarded as the strictest in the world. Those applying for a license must explain why such research cannot be done through non-animal methods. The project must also pass an ethical review panel which aims to decide if the potential benefits outweigh any suffering for the animals involved.
At one time, many people denied that animals could feel anything, and thus the concept of animal welfare was meaningless. For example, many Cartesians were of this opinion. Descartes wrote that animals act "without consciousness", much like a machine. In addition, there are accounts of Descartes visiting slaughter houses to observe how animals died. Believing that the animals were devoid of sentience, Descartes thought the death throes of animals was akin to "taking apart a spring-driven clock".][ In the Discourse, published in 1637, Descartes wrote that the ability to reason and use language involves being able to respond in complex ways to all the "contingencies of life", something that animals "clearly cannot do". He argued from this that any sounds animals make do not constitute language, but are simply "automatic responses to external stimuli".
Animal rights advocates, such as Gary L. Francione and Tom Regan, argue that the animal welfare position (advocating for the betterment of the condition of animals, but without abolishing animal use) is inconsistent in logic and ethically unacceptable. However, there are some animal rights groups, such as PETA, which support animal welfare measures in the short term to alleviate animal suffering until all animal use is ended. According to PETA's Ingrid Newkirk in an interview with Wikinews, there are two issues in animal welfare and animal rights. "If I only could have one thing, it would be to end suffering," said Newkirk. "If you could take things from animals and kill animals all day long without causing them suffering, then I would take it...Everybody should be able to agree that animals should not suffer if you kill them or steal from them by taking the fur off their backs or take their eggs, whatever. But you shouldn't put them through torture to do that."
Abolitionism (animal rights) holds that focusing on animal welfare not only fails to challenge animal suffering, but may actually prolong it by making the exercise of property rights over animals appear less unattractive. The abolitionists' objective is to secure a moral and legal paradigm shift, whereby animals are no longer regarded as property.
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE): The intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide. The OIE has been established "for the purpose of projects of international public utility relating to the control of animal diseases, including those affecting humans and the promotion of animal welfare and animal production food safety".
World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA): Tackles animal cruelty across the globe. WSPAs objectives include; helping people understand the critical importance of good animal welfare, encouraging nations to commit to animal-friendly practices and building the scientific case for the better treatment of animals. They are global in a sense that they have consultative status at the Council of Europe and collaborate with national governments, the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the world Organization for Animal Health.
Canadian Council on Animal Care: The national organization responsible for overseeing the care and use of animals involved in Canadian Science.
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS): The only national organization representing human societies and SPCAs in Canada. They provide leadership on animal welfare issues and spread the message across Canada.
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association: Brings in veterinary involvement to animal welfare. Their objective is to share this concern of animals with all members of the profession, with the general public, with government at all levels, and with other organizations such as the CFHS, which have similar concerns.
National Farm Animal Care Council: Their objectives are to facilitate collaboration among members with respect to farm animal care issues in Canada, to facilitate information sharing and communication, and to monitor trends and initiatives in both the domestic and international market place.
National Office of Animal Health: A British organisation that represents its members drawn from the animal medicines industry.
Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Ontario's animal welfare organization, a registered charity composed of over 50 communities.
The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) is an international, underground leaderless resistance that engages in illegal direct action in pursuit of animal liberation. Activists see themselves as a modern-day Underground Railroad, removing animals from laboratories and farms, destroying facilities, arranging safe houses and veterinary care, and operating sanctuaries where the animals subsequently live. Critics have compared them to terrorists.
Active in over 40 countries, ALF cells operate clandestinely, consisting of small groups of friends and sometimes just one person, which makes the movement difficult for the authorities to monitor. Robin Webb of the British Animal Liberation Press Office has said: "That is why the ALF cannot be smashed, it cannot be effectively infiltrated, it cannot be stopped. You, each and every one of you: you are the ALF."
Activists say the movement is non-violent. According to the ALF's code, any act that furthers the cause of animal liberation, where all reasonable precautions are taken not to harm human or non-human life, may be claimed as an ALF action. American activist Rod Coronado said in 2006: "One thing that I know that separates us from the people we are constantly accused of being—that is, terrorists, violent criminals—is the fact that we have harmed no one."
There has nevertheless been widespread criticism that ALF spokespersons and activists have either failed to condemn acts of violence or have themselves engaged in it, either in the name of the ALF or under another banner. The criticism has been accompanied by dissent within the animal rights movement itself about the use of violence, and increasing attention from the police and intelligence communities. In 2002 the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors extremism in the U.S., noted the involvement of the ALF in the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign, which SPLC identified as using terrorist tactics—though a later SPLC report also noted that they have not killed anyone. In 2005 the ALF was included in a United States Department of Homeland Security planning document listing a number of domestic terrorist threats on which the U.S. government expected to focus resources. In the UK, ALF actions are regarded as examples of domestic extremism, and are handled by the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit, set up in 2004 to monitor ALF and other illegal animal rights activity.
The roots of the ALF trace back to December 1963, when British journalist John Prestige was assigned to cover a Devon and Somerset Staghounds event, where he watched hunters chase and kill a pregnant deer. In protest, he formed the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA), which evolved into groups of volunteers trained to thwart the hunts' hounds by blowing horns and laying false scents.
Animal rights writer Noel Molland writes that one of these HSA groups was formed in 1971 by a law student from Luton, Ronnie Lee. In 1972, Lee and a fellow activist, Cliff Goodman, decided more militant tactics were needed. They revived the name of a 19th-century RSPCA youth group, The Bands of Mercy, and with about half a dozen activists set up the Band of Mercy, which attacked hunters' vehicles by slashing tires and breaking windows, designed to stop the hunt from even beginning, rather than thwarting it once underway.
In 1973, the Band learned that Hoechst Pharmaceuticals was building a research laboratory near Milton Keynes. On November 10, 1973, two activists set fire to the building, causing £26,000 worth of damage, returning six days later to set fire to what was left of it. It was the animal liberation movement's first known act of arson. In June 1974, two Band activists set fire to boats taking part in the annual seal cull off the Norfolk coast, which Molland writes was the last time the cull took place. Between June and August 1974, the Band launched eight raids against animal-testing laboratories, and others against chicken breeders and gun shops, damaging buildings or vehicles. Its first act of "animal liberation" took place during the same period when activists removed half a dozen guinea pigs from a guinea pig farm in Wiltshire, after which the owner closed the business, fearing further attacks. Then, as now, the use of violence against property caused a split within the fledgling movement. In July 1974, the Hunt Saboteurs Association offered a £250 reward for information leading to the identification of the Band of Mercy, telling the press, "We approve of their ideals, but are opposed to their methods."
In August 1974, Lee and Goodman were arrested for taking part in a raid on Oxford Laboratory Animal Colonies in Bicester, earning them the moniker the "Bicester Two." Daily demonstrations took place outside the court during their trial; Lee's local Labour MP, Ivor Clemitson, was one of their supporters. They were sentenced to three years in prison, during which Lee went on the movement's first hunger strike to obtain vegan food and clothing. They were paroled after 12 months, Lee emerging in the spring of 1976 more militant than ever. He gathered together the remaining Band of Mercy activists and two dozen new recruits, 30 in all. Molland writes that the Band of Mercy name sounded wrong as a description of what Lee saw as a revolutionary movement. Lee wanted a name that would haunt those who used animals, according to Molland. Thus, the Animal Liberation Front was born.
The movement has underground and above-ground components, and is entirely decentralized with no formal hierarchy, the absence of which acts as a firebreak when it comes to legal responsibility. Volunteers are expected to stick to the ALF's stated aims when using its banner:
A number of above-ground groups exist to support covert volunteers. The Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group (ALF SG) adopts activists in jail as prisoners of conscience; anyone can join the ALFSG for a small monthly fee. The Vegan Prisoners Support Group, created in 1994 when British activist Keith Mann was first jailed, works with prison authorities in the UK to ensure that ALF prisoners have access to vegan supplies. The Animal Liberation Press Office receives and publicizes anonymous communiqués from volunteers; it operates as an ostensibly independent group funded by public donations, though the High Court in London ruled in 2006 that its press officer in the UK, Robin Webb, was a pivotal figure in the ALF. There are three publications associated with the ALF. Arkangel is a British bi-annual magazine founded by Ronnie Lee. Bite Back is a website where activists leave claims of responsibility; it published a "Direct Action Report" in 2005 stating that, in 2004 alone, ALF activists had removed 17,262 animals from facilities, and had claimed 554 acts of vandalism and arson. No Compromise is a San Francisco-based website that also reports on ALF actions.
ALF activists argue that animals should not be viewed as property, and that scientists and industry have no right to assume ownership of living beings who in the words of philosopher Tom Regan are the "subjects-of-a-life." In the view of the ALF, to fail to recognize this is an example of speciesism—the ascription of different values to beings on the basis of their species membership alone, which they argue is as ethically flawed as racism or sexism. They reject the animal welfarist position that more humane treatment is needed for animals; they say their aim is empty cages, not bigger ones. Activists argue that the animals they remove from laboratories or farms are "liberated," not "stolen," because they were never rightfully owned in the first place.
Although the ALF rejects violence against people, many activists support attacks on property, comparing the destruction of animal laboratories and other facilities to resistance fighters blowing up gas chambers in Nazi Germany. Their argument for sabotage is that the removal of animals from a laboratory simply means they will be quickly replaced, but if the laboratory itself is destroyed, it not only slows down the restocking process, but increases costs, possibly to the point of making animal research prohibitively expensive; this, they argue, will encourage the search for alternatives. An ALF activist involved in an arson attack on the University of Arizona told No Compromise in 1996: "[I]t is much the same thing as the abolitionists who fought against slavery going in and burning down the quarters or tearing down the auction block ... Sometimes when you just take animals and do nothing else, perhaps that is not as strong a message."
The provision against violence in the ALF code has triggered divisions within the movement and allegations of hypocrisy from the ALF's critics. In 1998, terrorism expert Paul Wilkinson said the ALF and its splinter groups were "the most serious domestic terrorist threat within the United Kingdom". In 1993, ALF was listed as an organization that has "claimed to have perpetrated acts of extremism in the United States" in the Report to Congress on the Extent and Effects of Domestic and International Terrorism on Animal Enterprises. It was named as a terrorist threat by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in January 2005. In March 2005, a speech from the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI stated that: "The eco-terrorist movement has given rise and notoriety to groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, or ALF, and the Earth Liberation Front, or ELF. These groups exist to commit serious acts of vandalism, and to harass and intimidate owners and employees of the business sector." In hearings held on May 18, 2005 before a Senate panel, officials of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) stated that "violent animal rights extremists and eco-terrorists now pose one of the most serious terrorism threats to the nation." The use of the terrorist label has been criticized, however; the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks U.S. domestic extremism, writes that "for all the property damage they have wreaked, eco-radicals have killed no one."
Philosopher Steven Best and trauma surgeon Jerry Vlasak, both of whom have volunteered for the North American press office, were banned from entering the UK in 2004 and 2005 after making statements that appeared to support violence against people. Vlasak told an animal rights conferences in 2003: "I don't think you'd have to kill—assassinate—too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, two million, 10 million non-human animals." Best has coined the term "extensional self-defense" to describe actions carried out in defense of animals by human beings acting as proxies. He argues that, in carrying out acts of extensional self-defense, activists have the moral right to engage in acts of sabotage or even violence, because animals are unable to fight back themselves. Best argues that the principle of extensional self-defense mirrors the penal code statues known as the necessity defense, which can be invoked when a defendant believes the illegal act was necessary to avoid imminent and great harm.
The nature of the ALF as a leaderless resistance means support for Vlasak and Best is hard to measure. An anonymous volunteer interviewed in 2005 for CBS's 60 Minutes said of Vlasak: "[H]e doesn't operate with our endorsement or our support or our appreciation, the support of the ALF. We have a strict code of non-violence ... I don’t know who put Dr. Vlasak in the position he's in. It wasn't us, the ALF."
Philosopher Peter Singer of Princeton University has argued that ALF direct action can only be regarded as a just cause if it is non-violent, and that the ALF is at its most effective when uncovering evidence of animal abuse that other tactics could not expose. He cites as an example the 1984 ALF raid on the University of Pennsylvania head-injury research clinic, during which the ALF removed footage shot by the researchers that showed them laughing at conscious baboons being brain damaged. The university responded that the treatment of the animals conformed to National Institutes of Health guidelines, but as a result of the publicity, the lab was closed down, the chief veterinarian fired, and the university placed on probation. Barbara Orlans, a former animal researcher with the NIH, now with the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, writes that the case stunned the biomedical community, and is today considered one of the most significant cases in the ethics of using animals in research. Singer argues that if the ALF would focus on this kind of direct action, instead of sabotage, it would appeal to the minds of reasonable people. Against this, Steven Best writes that industries and governments have too much institutional and financial bias for reason to prevail.
Peter Hughes of the University of Sunderland cites a 1988 raid in the UK led by ALF activist Barry Horne as an example of positive ALF direct action. Horne and four other activists decided to free Rocky, a dolphin who had lived in a small concrete pool in Marineland in Morecambe for 20 years, by moving him 200 yards (180 m) from his pool to the sea. The police spotted them carrying a home-made dolphin stretcher, and they were convicted of conspiracy to steal, but they continued to campaign for Rocky's release. Marineland eventually agreed to sell him for £120,000, money that was raised with the help of the Born Free Foundation and the Mail on Sunday, and in 1991 Rocky was transferred to an 80-acre (320,000 m2) lagoon reserve in the Turks and Caicos Islands, then released. Hughes writes that the ALF action helped to create a paradigm shift in the UK toward seeing dolphins as "individual actors," as a result of which, he writes, there are now no captive dolphins in the UK.
Rachel Monaghan of the University of Ulster writes that, in their first year of operation alone, ALF actions accounted for £250,000 worth of damage, targeting butchers shops, furriers, circuses, slaughterhouses, breeders, and fast-food restaurants. She writes that the ALF philosophy was that violence can only take place against sentient life forms, and therefore focusing on property destruction and the removal of animals from laboratories and farms was consistent with a philosophy of non-violence, despite the damage they were causing. Writing in 1974, Ronnie Lee was insistent that direct action be "limited only by reverence of life and hatred of violence," and in 1979, he wrote that many ALF raids had been called off because of the risk to life.
Kim Stallwood, a national organizer for the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) in the 1980s, writes that the public's response to early ALF raids that removed animals was very positive, in large measure because of the non-violence policy. When Mike Huskisson removed three beagles from a tobacco study at ICI in June 1975, the media portrayed him as a hero. Robin Webb writes that ALF volunteers were viewed as the "Robin Hoods of the animal welfare world."
This glamorization of the movement attracted a new breed of activist, Stallwood writes. They were younger, often unemployed, and more interested in anarchism than in animal liberation per se. Stallwood writes that they saw ALF activism as part of their opposition to the state, rather than as an end-in-itself, and did not want to adhere to non-violence. In the early 1980s, the BUAV, an anti-vivisection group founded by Frances Power Cobbe in 1898, was among the ALF's supporters. Stallwood writes that it donated part of its office space rent-free to the ALF Supporters Group, and gave ALF actions uncritical support in its newspaper, The Liberator. In 1982, a group of ALF activists, including Roger Yates, now a sociology lecturer at University College, Dublin, and Dave McColl, a director of Sea Shepherd, became members of the BUAV's executive committee, and used their position to radicalize the organization. Stallwood writes that the new executive believed all political action to be a waste of time, and wanted the BUAV to devote its resources exclusively to direct action. Whereas the earliest activists had been committed to rescuing animals, and destroyed property only where it contributed to the former, by the mid-1980s, Stallwood believed the ALF had lost its ethical foundation, and had become an opportunity "for misfits and misanthropes to seek personal revenge for some perceived social injustice." He writes: "Where was the intelligent debate about tactics and strategies that went beyond the mindless rhetoric and emotional elitism pervading much of the self-produced direct action literature? In short, what had happened to the animals' interests?" In 1984, the BUAV board reluctantly voted to expel the ALF SG from its premises and withdraw its political support, after which, Stallwood writes, the ALF became increasingly isolated.
There are conflicting accounts of when the ALF first emerged in the United States. The FBI writes that animal rights activists had a history of committing low-level criminal activity in the U.S. dating back to the 1970s. Freeman Wicklund and Kim Stallwood say the first ALF action there was on May 29, 1977, when researchers Ken LeVasseur and Steve Sipman released two dolphins, Puka and Kea, into the ocean from the University of Hawaii's Marine Mammal Laboratory. The North American Animal Liberation Press Office attributes the dolphin release to a group called Undersea Railroad, and says the first ALF action was, in fact, a raid on the New York University Medical Center on March 14, 1979, when activists removed one cat, two dogs, and two guinea pigs.
Kathy Snow Guillermo writes in Monkey Business that the first ALF action was the removal on September 22, 1981 of the Silver Spring monkeys, 17 lab monkeys in the legal custody of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), after a researcher who had been experimenting on them was arrested for alleged violations of cruelty legislation. When the court ruled that the monkeys be returned to the researcher, they mysteriously disappeared, only to reappear five days later when PETA learned that legal action against the researcher could not proceed without the monkeys as evidence.
Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA, writes that the first ALF cell was set up in late 1982, after a police officer she calls "Valerie" responded to the publicity triggered by the Silver Spring monkeys case, and flew to England to be trained by the ALF. Posing as a reporter, Valerie was put in touch with Ronnie Lee by Kim Stallwood, who at the time was working for the BUAV. Lee directed her to a training camp, where she was taught how to break into laboratories. Newkirk writes that Valerie returned to Maryland and set up an ALF cell, with the first raid taking place on December 24, 1982 against Howard University, where 24 cats were removed, some of whose back legs had been crippled. Jo Shoesmith, an American attorney and animal rights activist, says Newkirk's account of "Valerie" is not only fictionalized, as Newkirk acknowledges, but totally fictitious.
Two early ALF raids led to the closure of several university studies. A raid on May 28, 1984 on the University of Pennsylvania's head injury clinic caused $60,000 worth of damage and saw the removal of 60 hours of tapes, which showed the researchers laughing as they used a hydraulic device to cause brain damage to baboons. The tapes were turned over to PETA, who produced a 26-minute video called Unnecessary Fuss. As a result of the publicity, the head injury clinic was closed, the university's chief veterinarian was fired, and the university was put on probation.
On April 20, 1985, acting on a tip-off from a student, the ALF raided a laboratory in the University of California, Riverside, causing nearly $700,000 worth of damage and removing 468 animals. These included Britches, a five-week old macaque monkey, who had been separated from his mother at birth and left alone with his eyes sewn shut and a sonar device on his head, as part of a study into blindness. As a result of the raid, which was taped by the ALF (video), eight of the 17 research projects active at the laboratory at the time were shut down, and the university said years of medical research were lost. The raid prompted James Wyngaarden, head of the National Institutes of Health, to argue that raids on laboratories should be regarded as acts of terrorism.
Monaghan writes that, around 1982, there was a noticeable shift in the non-violent position, and not one approved by everyone in the movement. Some activists began to make personal threats against individuals, followed by letter bombs and threats to contaminate food, the latter representing yet another shift to threatening the general public, rather than specific targets.
In 1982, letter bombs were sent to all four major party leaders in the UK, including the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. In November 1984, the first major food scare was carried out, with the ALF claiming in phone calls and letters to the media that it had contaminated Mars Bars—part of a campaign to force the Mars company to stop conducting tooth decay tests on monkeys. On November 17, the Sunday Mirror received a call from the ALF saying it had injected Mars Bars in stores throughout the country with rat poison. The call was followed by a letter containing a Mars Bar, presumed to be contaminated, and the claim that these were on sale in London, Leeds, York, Southampton, and Coventry. Millions of bars were removed from shelves and Mars halted production, at a cost to the company of $4.5 million. The ALF admitted the claims had been a hoax. Similar contamination claims were later made against L'Oréal and Lucozade.
The letter bombs were claimed by the Animal Rights Militia (ARM), although the initial statement in November 1984 by David Mellor, then a Home Office minister, made clear that it was the Animal Liberation Front who had claimed responsibility. This is an early example of the shifting of responsibility from one banner to another depending on the nature of the act, with the ARM and another nom de guerre, the Justice Department—the latter first used in 1993—emerging as names for direct action that violated the ALF's "no harm to living beings" principle. Ronnie Lee, who had earlier insisted on the importance of the ALF's non-violence policy, seemed to support the idea. An article signed by RL—presumed to be Ronnie Lee—in the October 1984 ALF Supporters Group newsletter, suggested that activists set up "fresh groups ... under new names whose policies do not preclude the use of violence toward animal abusers."
No activist is known to have conducted operations under both the ALF and ARM banners, but the overlap is assumed. Terrorism expert Paul Wilkinson has written that the ALF, the Justice Department, and the ARM are essentially the same thing, and Robert Garner of the University of Leicester writes that it would be pointless to argue otherwise, given the nature of the movement as a leaderless resistance. Robin Webb of the British Animal Liberation Press Office has acknowledged that the activists may be the same people: "If someone wishes to act as the Animal Rights Militia or the Justice Department, simply put, the ... policy of the Animal Liberation Front, to take all reasonable precautions not to endanger life, no longer applies."
From 1983 onwards, a series of fire bombs exploded in department stores that sold fur, with the intention of triggering the sprinkler systems in order to cause damage, although several stores were partly or completely destroyed. In September 1985, incendiary devices were placed under the cars of Dr. Sharat Gangoli and Dr. Stuart Walker, both animal researchers with the British Industrial Biological Research Association (BIBRA), wrecking both vehicles but with no injuries, and with the ARM claiming responsibility. In January 1986, the ARM said it had placed devices under the cars of four employees of Huntingdon Life Sciences, timed to explode an hour apart from each other. A further device was placed under the car of Dr. Andor Sebesteny, a researcher for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, which he spotted before it exploded. The next major attacks on individual researchers took place in 1990, when the cars of two veterinary researchers were destroyed by sophisticated explosive devices in two separate explosions.][ In February 1989, an explosion damaged the Senate House bar in Bristol University, an attack claimed by the unknown "Animal Abused Society".][ In June 1990, two days apart, bombs exploded in the cars of Margaret Baskerville, a veterinary surgeon working at Porton Down, a chemical research defence establishment, and Patrick Max Headley, a psychologist at Bristol University. Baskerville escaped without injury by jumping through the window of her mini-jeep when a bomb using a mercury-tilt device exploded next to the fuel tank. During the attack on Headley, which New Scientist writes involved the use of plastic explosives, a 13-month-old baby passing by in a stroller suffered flash burns, shrapnel wounds to his back, and a partially severed finger.][ A wave of letter bombs followed in 1993, one of which was opened by the head of the Hereford site of GlaxoSmithKline, causing burns to his hands and face. Eleven similar devices were intercepted in postal sorting offices.][
The nature of the ALF exposes its name to the risk of being used by activists who reject its non-violence platform, or by opponents conducting so-called "false-flag" operations, designed to make the ALF appear violent. That same uncertainty provides genuine ALF activists with plausible deniability should an operation go wrong, by denying that the act was "authentically ALF".
Several incidents in 1989 and 1990 were described by the movement as false flag operations. In February 1989, an explosion damaged the Senate House bar in Bristol University, an attack claimed by the unknown "Animal Abused Society". In June 1990, two days apart, bombs exploded in the cars of Margaret Baskerville, a veterinary surgeon working at Porton Down, a chemical research defence establishment, and Patrick Max Headley, a professor of physiology at Bristol University. Baskerville escaped without injury by jumping through the window of her mini-jeep when a bomb using a mercury-tilt device exploded next to the fuel tank. During the attack on Headley, which New Scientist writes involved the use of plastic explosives, a 13-month-old baby passing by in a stroller suffered flash burns, shrapnel wounds to his back, and a partially severed finger.
No known entity claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were condemned within the animal rights movement and by ALF activists. Keith Mann writes that it did not seem plausible that activists known for making simple incendiary devices from household components would suddenly switch to mercury-tilt switches and plastic explosives, then never be heard from again. A few days after the bombings, the unknown "British Animal Rights Society" claimed responsibility for having attached a nail bomb to a huntsman's Land Rover in Somerset. Forensic evidence led police to arrest the owner of the vehicle, who admitted he had bombed his own car to discredit the animal rights movement, and asked for two similar offences to be taken into consideration. He was jailed for nine months. The Baskerville and Headley bombers were never apprehended.
Property destruction began to increase substantially after several high-profile campaigns closed down facilities perceived to be abusive to animals. Consort Kennels, a facility breeding beagles for animal testing; Hillgrove Farm, which bred cats; and Newchurch Farm, which bred guinea pigs, were all closed after being targeted by animal rights campaigns that appeared to involve the ALF. In the UK, the financial year 1991–1992 saw around 100 refrigerated meat trucks destroyed by incendiary devices at a cost of around £5 million. Butchers' locks were superglued, shrink-wrapped meats were pierced in supermarkets, slaughterhouses and refrigerated meat trucks were set on fire.
In 1999, ALF activists became involved in the international Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) campaign to close Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), Europe's largest animal-testing laboratory. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors U.S. domestic extremism, has described SHAC's modus operandi as "frankly terroristic tactics similar to those of anti-abortion extremists." ALF activist Donald Currie was jailed for 12 years and placed on probation for life in December 2006 after being found guilty of planting homemade bombs on the doorsteps of businessmen with links to HLS. HLS director Brian Cass was attacked by men wielding pick-axe handles in February 2001, an attack so serious that Detective Chief Inspector Tom Hobbs of Cambridgeshire police said it was only by sheer luck that they were not starting a murder inquiry. David Blenkinsop was one of those convicted of the attack, someone who in the past had conducted actions in the name of the ALF.
Also in 1999, a freelance reporter, Graham Hall, said he had been attacked after producing a documentary critical of the ALF, which was aired on Channel 4. The documentary showed ALF press officer, Robin Webb, appearing to give Hall—who was filming undercover and purporting to be an activist—advice about how to make an improvised explosive device, though Webb said his comments had been used out of context. Hall said that, as a result of the documentary, he was abducted, tied to a chair, and had the letters "ALF" branded on his back, before being released 12 hours later with a warning not to tell the police.
In June 2006, the ALF claimed responsibility for a firebomb attack on University of California, Los Angeles researcher Lynn Fairbanks, after a firebomb was placed on the doorstep of a house occupied by her 70 year-old tenant; according to the FBI, it was powerful enough to have killed the occupants, but failed to ignite. The attack was credited by the acting chancellor of UCLA as helping to shape the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Animal liberation press officer Jerry Vlasak said of the attack: "force is a poor second choice, but if that's the only thing that will work ... there's certainly moral justification for that." As of 2008, activists were increasingly taking protests to the homes of researchers, staging "home demonstrations," which can involve making noise during the night, writing slogans on the researchers' property, smashing windows, and spreading rumours to neighbours.
On January 20, 2006, as part of Operation Backfire, the U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against nine Americans and two Canadian activists calling themselves the "family." At least 9 of the 11 pleaded guilty to conspiracy and arson for their parts in a string of 20 arsons from 1996 through 2001, damage totaled $40 Million. The Department of Justice called the acts examples of domestic terrorism. Environmental and animal rights activists have referred to the legal action as the Green Scare. The incidents included arson attacks against meat-processing plants, lumber companies, a high-tension power line, and a ski center, in Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, California, and Colorado between 1996 and 2001.
The animal rights movement, sometimes called the animal liberation movement, animal personhood, or animal advocacy movement, is a social movement which seeks an end to the rigid moral and legal distinction drawn between human and non-human animals, an end to the status of animals as property, and an end to their use in the research, food, clothing, and entertainment industries.
It is one of the few examples of a social movement that was created, and is to a large extent sustained academically, by philosophers.
All animal liberationists believe that the individual interests of non-human animals deserve recognition and protection, but the movement can be split into two broad camps.
Animal rights advocates, or rights liberationists, believe that these basic interests confer moral rights of some kind on the animals, and/or ought to confer legal rights on them; see, for example, the work of Tom Regan. Utilitarian liberationists, on the other hand, do not believe that animals possess moral rights, but argue, on utilitarian grounds — utilitarianism in its simplest form advocating that we base moral decisions on the greatest happiness of the greatest number — that, because animals have the ability to suffer, their suffering must be taken into account in any moral philosophy. To exclude animals from that consideration, they argue, is a form of discrimination that they call speciesism; see, for example, the work of Peter Singer.
Despite these differences, the terms "animal liberation" and "animal rights" are generally used interchangeably.
The movement is regarded as having been founded in the UK in the early 1970s by a group of Oxford university post-graduate philosophy students, now known as the "Oxford Group". The group were led by Roslind and Stanley Godlovitch, graduate students of philosophy who had recently become vegetarians. The Godlovitches met John Harris and David Wood, also philosophy graduates, who were soon persuaded of the arguments in favour of animal rights and themselves became vegetarian. The group began to actively raise the issue with pre-eminent Oxford moral philosophers, including Professor Richard Hare, both personally and in lectures. Their approach was based not on sentimentality ("kindness to dumb animals'), but on the moral rights of animals. They soon developed (and borrowed) a range of powerful arguments in support of their views, so that Oxford clinical psychologist Richard Ryder, who was shortly to become part of the group, writes that "rarely has a cause been so rationally argued and so intellectually well armed."
It was a 1965 article by novelist Brigid Brophy in The Sunday Times which was pivotal in helping to spark the movement. Brophy wrote:
The philosophers found this article and were inspired by its vigourous unsentimental polemic. At about the same time, Ryder wrote three letters to the Daily Telegraph in response to Brophy's arguments. Brophy read Ryder's letters and put him in touch with the Godlovitches and John Harris, who had begun to plan a book about the issue which was also partly inspired by Brophy's polemic. The philosophers had also been to see Brophy about the possibility of a book of essays on the subject. They initially thought that a book with contributions from Brophy, Ruth Harrison, Maureen Duffy and other well-known writers might be of interest to publishers, but after an initial proposal was turned down by the first publisher they approached, Giles Gordon of Victor Gollancz suggested that the work would be more viable if it included their own writing. This was the idea that became "Animals, Men and Morals' (see below).
In 1970, Ryder coined the phrase "speciesism," first using it in a privately printed pamphlet to describe the assignment of value to the interests of beings on the basis of their membership of a particular species. Ryder subsequently became a contributor to Animals, Men and Morals: An Inquiry into the Maltreatment of Non-humans(1972), edited by John Harris and the Godlovitches, a work that became highly influential, as did Rosalind Godlovitch's essay "Animal and Morals," published the same year.
It was in a review of Animals, Men and Morals for the New York Review of Books that Australian philosopher Peter Singer first put forward his basic arguments, based on utilitarianism and drawing an explicit comparison between women's liberation and animal liberation. Out of the review came Singer's Animal Liberation, published in 1975, now regarded as the "bible" of the movement.
Other books regarded as important include philosopher Tom Regan's The Case for Animal Rights (1983); Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism by James Rachels (1990); Animals, Property, and the Law (1995) by legal scholar Gary Francione, Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals by another legal scholar Steven M. Wise (2000); and Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy by Julian H. Franklin (2005).
The movement is no longer viewed as hovering on the fringe. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was joined by a wide variety of academics and professionals, including lawyers, physicians, psychologists, veterinarians, and former vivisectionists, and is now a common subject of study in philosophy departments in Europe and North America. Animal law courses are taught in 92 out of 180 law schools in the U.S., and the movement has gained the support of senior legal scholars, including Alan Dershowitz and Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School. Chapters of animal rights law have been created in several state bar associations, and resolutions related to animal rights are regularly proposed within the American Bar Association.
Michael Socarras of Greenberg Traurig told the Association of American Medical Colleges: "There is a very important shift under way in the manner in which many people in law schools and in the legal profession think about animals. This shift has not yet reached popular opinion. However, in [the U.S.], social change has and can occur through the courts, which in many instances do not operate as democratic institutions. Therefore, the evolution in elite legal opinion is extremely significant ..."
The movement aims to include animals in the moral community by putting the basic interests of non-human animals on an equal footing with the basic interests of human beings. A basic interest would be, for example, not being made to suffer pain on behalf of other individual human or non-human animals. The aim is to remove animals from the sphere of property and to award them personhood; that is, to see them awarded legal rights to protect their basic interests.
Liberationists argue that animals appear to have value in law only in relation to their usefulness or benefit to their owners, and are awarded no intrinsic value whatsoever. In the United States, for example, state and federal laws formulate the rules for the treatment of animals in terms of their status as property. Liberationists point out that Texas Animal Cruelty Laws apply only to pets living under the custody of human beings and exclude birds, deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other wild animals not owned by humans, ignoring that jurisdiction for such creatures comes under the domain of state wildlife officers. The U.S. Animal Welfare Act excludes "pet stores ... state and country fairs, livestock shows, rodeos, purebred dog and cat shows, and any fairs or exhibitions intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences." There is no mention in the law that such activities already fall under the jurisdiction of state agriculture departments. The Department of Agriculture interprets the Act as also excluding cold-blooded animals, and warm-blooded animals not "used for research, teaching, testing, experimentation ... exhibition purposes, or as a pet, [and] farm animals used for food, fiber, or production purposes".
The Seattle-based Great Ape Project (GAP), founded by Peter Singer, is campaigning for the United Nations to adopt its Declaration on Great Apes, which would see chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orang-utans included in a "community of equals" with human beings. The declaration wants to extend to the non-human apes the protection of three basic interests: the right to life, the protection of individual liberty, and the prohibition of torture (see also Great ape personhood).
Veganarchism is the political philosophy of veganism (more specifically animal liberation) and anarchism, creating a combined praxis as a means for social revolution. This encompasses viewing the state as unnecessary and harmful to animals, both human and non-human, whilst practising a vegan diet. Veganarchists either see the ideology as a combined theory, or perceive both philosophies to be essentially the same. It is further described as an anti-speciesist perspective on green anarchism, or an anarchist perspective on animal liberation.
The term was popularised in 1995 with Brian A. Dominick's pamphlet Animal Liberation and Social Revolution, described as "a vegan perspective on anarchism or an anarchist perspective on veganism". The 18-page pamphlet explains how many young anarchists in the 1990s had been adopting deep ecological (animal-inclusive and anti-speciesist) mindsets as part of an overall green anarchist political philosophy. Similarly animal liberationists were becoming increasingly influenced by anarchist thought and traditions, thus becoming veganarchists and adopting an overall praxis.
Regarding the campaign to change the status of animals as property, the animal liberation movement has seen success in several countries. In 1992, Switzerland amended its constitution to recognize animals as beings and not things. However, in 1999 the Swiss constitution was completely rewritten. A decade later, Germany guaranteed rights to animals in a 2002 amendment to its constitution, becoming the first European Union member to do so. The German Civil Code had been amended correspondingly in 1997. The amendment, however, has not had much impact in German legal practice yet.][
The greatest success of the animal liberation movement has certainly been the granting of basic rights to five great ape species in New Zealand in 1999. Their use is now forbidden in research, testing or teaching. (It should be noted that the UK government banned experiments on great apes in 1986 ). Some other countries have also banned or severely restricted the use of non-human great apes in research.
Animal liberationists usually boycott industries that use animals. Foremost among these is factory farming, which produces the majority of meat, dairy products, and eggs in industrialized nations. The transportation of farm animals for slaughter, which often involves their live export, has in recent years been a major issue for animal rights groups, particularly in the UK and Scandinavia.
The vast majority of animal rights advocates adopt vegetarian or vegan diets. They may also avoid clothes made of animal skins, such as leather shoes, and will not use products known to contain animal byproducts. Goods containing ingredients that have been tested on animals are also avoided where possible. Company-wide boycotts are common. The Procter & Gamble corporation, for example, tests many of its products on animals, leading many animal rights advocates to boycott the company's products entirely, whether tested on animals or not.
There is a growing trend in the American movement towards devoting all resources to vegetarian outreach. The 9.8 billion animals killed there for food every year far exceeds the number of animals used in other ways. Groups such as Vegan Outreach and Compassion Over Killing devote their time to exposing factory-farming practices by publishing information for consumers and by organizing undercover investigations.
The movement espouses a number of approaches, and is bitterly divided on the issue of direct action and violence, with very few activists or writers publicly advocating the latter tactic as a justified method to use. Most groups reject violence against persons, intimidation, threats, and the destruction of property: for example, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) and Animal Aid. These groups concentrate on education and research, including carrying out undercover investigations of animal-testing facilities. There is some evidence of cooperation between the BUAV and the ALF: for example, the BUAV used to donate office space for the use of the ALF in London in the early 1980s.
Other groups do not condemn the destruction of property, or intimidation, but do not themselves engage in those activities, concentrating instead on education, research, media campaigns, and undercover investigations: for example, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
A third category of activists operates using the leaderless resistance model, working in covert cells consisting of small numbers of trusted friends, or of one individual acting alone. These cells engage in direct action: for example by carrying out raids to release animals from laboratories and farms, using names like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF); or by boycotting and targeting anyone or any business associated with the controversial animal testing lab, Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), using a campaign name like Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC). Some arson, property destruction and vandalism has been linked to various animal rights groups
Activists who have carried out or threatened acts of physical violence have operated using the names; Animal Rights Militia (ARM), Justice Department, Revolutionary Cells—Animal Liberation brigade (RCALB), Hunt Retribution Squad (HRS) and the Militant Forces Against Huntingdon Life Sciences (MFAH).
Some activists have attempted blackmail and other illegal activities, such as the intimidation campaign to close Darley Oaks farm, which involved hate mail, malicious phonecalls, bomb threats, arson attacks and property destruction, climaxing in the theft of the corpse of Gladys Hammond, the owners' mother-in-law, from a Staffordshire grave. Over a thousand ALF attacks in one year in the UK alone caused £2.6M of damage to property, prompting some experts to state that animal rights now tops the list of causes that prompt violence in the UK.
There are also a growing number of "open rescues," in which liberationists enter businesses to remove animals without trying to hide their identities. Open rescues tend to be carried out by committed individuals willing to go to jail if prosecuted, but so far no farmer has been willing to press charges.
Many of the ideas used by those who engage in direct action were developed by British activists.][
The U.S. Justice Department labels underground groups the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front as terrorist organizations.
A November 13, 2003 edition of CBS News' 60 Minutes charged that "eco-terrorists," a term used by the United States government to refer to the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front, are considered by the FBI to be "the country’s biggest domestic terrorist threat." John Lewis, a Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism at the FBI, stated in a 60 Minutes interview that these groups "have caused over $100 million worth of damage nationwide", and that "there are more than 150 investigations of eco-terrorist crimes underway".
"Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act", the legislation which allows federal authorities to "help prevent, better investigate, and prosecute individuals who seek to halt biomedical research through acts of intimidation, harassment, and violence" was adopted in the USA in 2006. It has also had what has been described as 'a chilling effect' on free speech.
Animals and Society Institute
The Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act 1822 (3 Geo. IV c. 71) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom with the long title "An Act to prevent the cruel and improper Treatment of Cattle"; it is sometimes known as Martin's Act, after the MP and animal rights campaigner Richard Martin. It was one of the first pieces of animal welfare legislation. The Act listed "ox, cow, heifer, steer, sheep, or other cattle", however this was held not to include bulls. A further act (5 & 6 Will. IV. c. 59 s. 2) extended the wording of this Act to remedy the issue. This Act was repealed by the Cruelty to Animals Act 1849.
Cruelty to animals
Zoophilia and the law