Breakthroughs in animal welfare promotion thanks to animal parties in Cyprus and Australia
A special police unit for animal cruelty cases, tougher penalties on animal abuse and the imminent end of the usage of dolphins for entertainment: big steps ahead were recently achieved in the promotion of animal welfare by the Animal Party Cyprus and the Animal Justice Party in Australia.
Animal Police Cyprus
After intensive lobbying by animal welfare groups and the Animal Party Cyprus, the Cypriot Parliament has adopted an amendment to the police bill that provides for the establishment of a special police unit for handling cases of animal cruelty. As the animal welfare groups and party have long argued, only effective policing can address the many cases of animal neglect, abandonment and cruelty the country is facing. For whereas such practices are forbidden by Cypriot law, its enforcement left much to be desired.
The Animal Party Cyprus, which has been founded in 2014 to put the wellbeing of animals, people and nature on the political agenda, has been a strong advocate of such an Animal Police since its foundation, and has welcomed the amendment as an important and historic first step. “This is just the beginning,” the leader of the party Kyriacos Kyriacou concluded last week, expressing hopes for other of its proposals to be adopted as well. These include putting animal rights on the curriculum of the police academy; creating an infrastructure of animal shelters for abandoned or expropriated animals; and defining the terms for cooperation with other bodies such as the vet department and local authorities and making provisions in the state budget.
Kyriacou also hopes to win a seat for the Animal Party Cyprus at the next elections in May: “There is a connection between the welfare of animals and the welfare of humans. For example, research has shown that people who are cruel to animals are more likely to be cruel to humans as well. We are the only party that wants to make the welfare of humans and animals a priority in politics. We hope that people will give us the opportunity to do that, by giving us their vote in May.”
Dolphin free states and tougher penalties on animal abuse
Meanwhile in Australia, the Animal Justice Party (AJP) managed to get tougher penalties for animal cruelty adopted by the Upper House in the state of New South Wales. MP Emma Hurst of the Animal Justice Party NSW: ‘We did it! These new penalties send a strong message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated in NSW.’
Some weeks ago, the party brought about another breakthrough in the same state, when regulations were passed that put an end to the breeding of dolphins, whales and porpoises for entertainment. ‘The writing is on the wall – these animals were not born to perform. No more dolphins will be born into an industry with backyard pools, or be forced to do circus-style tricks, the abuse of dolphins in so-called entertainment is coming to an end in NSW,’ member of parliament Emma Hurst states. ‘Indeed the new regulations will effectively stop any future dolphin park from setting up in this state. Queensland is now the only state in Australia still breeding dolphins for entertainment, and it’s a global embarrassment. The Animal Justice Party will be working to get similar regulations passed there too, for it’s time to empty the tanks Australia-wide!’.