Social sensitivity towards animal rights is growing, and this leads to all kinds of changes. On the one hand, changes related to human behaviour cause a series of relevant transformations, unimaginable just a couple of years ago. Whether it is domestic animals or farm animals, the number of people who demand a decent treatment for animals is growing exponentially. On the other hand, governments are starting to promote more restrictive and at the same time more effective legislation, which ends up causing cultural clashes that are still difficult to resolve.
The latest such legislation, the animal welfare law, came into force last September 29 (for more information, see pages 12-15 of this issue) and has already sparked a lively controversy due to the changes it will bring. From now on, leaving your pet alone while shopping in a store can be subject to a considerable fine. On the other hand, the new law also bans the display of animals in shop windows and outlaws the practice of putting stray animals down in dog kennels after they have been there unclaimed for 20 days. And should hunting dogs and bulls be excluded from the law’s protection? And so on...the controversy has only begun.
While on the one hand social consensus on the need to eradicate practices such as abandonment and abuse is on the rise, on the other the most extreme measures provoke a rejection that endangers the progress that has been made. Although companion animals play a very important role in our society, the tendency to humanise relationships with domestic animals is a mistake that can lead to undesirable consequences.
It is clear that a whole business has been built around the humanisation of companion animals; one only has to look at the proliferation of sophisticated services and products dedicated to pets to realise that behind the discourse of rights and protection there are also interests that go far beyond animal rights.