47 petitions

Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Grant pets rights as living beings

We call upon the UK Government to give a new legal status and 'Grant pets rights as living beings'. A change in animals status from “personal property” to that of a “sentient being" will bring the civil law into line with the penal code, which sets tough penalties for cruelty to animals. This should make it easier to prosecute cases of animal cruelty.  Britain could claim to be something of a world leader in animal welfare, but as a nation, however, we have failed in bringing progressive positive change to improve the welfare of animals. While countries all over the world have updated or enacted effective animal cruelty legislation, England remains behind. European animal welfare legislation is based on the recognition that all animals, from pets to farm animals, are sentient beings – i.e. they have powers of perception and feeling. A legally binding protocol attached to the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam recognised animals as "sentient beings" and this recognition was strengthened in the Lisbon Treaty of 2009 which included animal sentience as an Article in the main body of the Treaty.  Some countries have already (even before the treaty) transformed animals from things to non-things, such as Austria (ABGB 1998, Constitution 2004), Germany (BGB 1990, Constitution 2002), Switzerland (BGB 2000, Constitution 2004), and most recently France (2014). Scientific research is constantly revealing new evidence of animals’ intelligence and emotions. There is also increasing evidence that many animals can learn new skills and some appear to show emotions similar to human empathy. Animals are capable of feeling pain and experiencing distress,they can also be reduced to a state resembling human depression by chronic stress or confinement in a cage. This new understanding of the sentience of animals has huge implications for the way we treat them and the policies and laws we need to adopt.   Voice-Sensitive Regions in the Dog and Human Brain Are Revealed by Comparative fMRI. Highlights • This is the first comparative neuroimaging study of a nonprimate species and humans • Functional analogies were found between dog and human nonprimary auditory cortex • Voice areas preferring conspecific vocalizations were evidenced in the dog brain • Brain sensitivity to vocal cues of emotional valence was found in both species We demonstrate that voice areas exist in dogs and that they show a similar pattern to anterior temporal voice areas in humans. Our findings also reveal that sensitivity to vocal emotional valence cues engages similarly located nonprimary auditory regions in dogs and humans.    Neuroscientist Gregory Berns  What fMRI Can Tell Us About the Thoughts and Minds of Dogs One neuroscientist is peering into the canine brain, and says he's found evidence that dogs may feel love. As Berns’ team begins to scratch the surface of the canine brain, they’re finding something surprising—in several ways, its activity mirrors that of the human brain to a much greater extent than expected. We cannot ignore the striking similarity between dogs and humans in both the structure and function of a key brain region: the caudate nucleus. As part of their first paper published on the work in 2012, they trained dogs to recognize two different hand signals: one that meant the animal would be given a piece of hot dog imminently, and one that meant no hot dog. As they hypothesized, the first signal triggered elevated activity in an area called the caudate nucleus, which is rich in receptors for dopamine (a neurotransmitter involved in the sensation of pleasure). In humans—and in dogs, the research indicated—caudate activity is related to the desire to have something that causes pleasure, and the satisfaction involved in obtaining it. Subsequent work revealed more unexpected findings. As part of a second experiment, they had dogs sit in the scanner and exposed them to smells of humans (from either their owners or strangers) and other dogs (from either dogs they lived with or unfamiliar dogs). “We wanted to understand how dogs recognize other people and dogs in their households,” Berns says. Again, they saw increased activity in the caudate, but only as a result of one of the scents. “In this case, the reward system only seems to activate in response to the smell of a familiar human, which is pretty amazing,” he says. To further probe how the dogs’ brain activity correlates with the actions of humans they know well, they put the dogs in the fMRI and had their owners leave the room, then walk back in. This, too, triggered activation in the caudate. Berns interprets these results as indications that, in some ways, the mental processes of dogs may not be so different from those of humans. They’re close enough, he suggests, that we can safely describe them with words we don’t often apply to animals: the mental activity represents emotions, and perhaps even constitute love. “At some fundamental level, we believe the dogs are experiencing emotions something like we do,” Berns says. The research suggests that the human brain and canine brain aren’t as radically different as we might have imagined.   Why Support Change As society changes and evolves, so too do the views and values of its people. A challenge of law-makers is to identify shifts in values and expectations, so that they can pass new laws and amend existing laws. Changing social values are the fundamental ideas we have about other people and society in general. They include ideas about race, gender, families, children, violence, personal responsibility and the law itself. Changing morality and ethics are concerned with what is right and wrong, though on a social level rather than what offends the individual. As previously mentioned, our laws on animal abuse have changed very little, but society has. True law reform occurs because society has changed and the law needs to change with it. No longer do we as a nation want to tolerate animal abuse. We want the laws changed and the penalties to be more severe and we want the Courts to take it more seriously. We need to make the changes. To lead it, and to mould it to fit with the changing views and values of our society. These are views shared by a very large proportion of the electorate and should be acknowledged.  

The German Shepherd Helpline
5,300 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to The Rt. Hon Michael Gove MP, George Eustice MP, Thérèse Coffey MP, Lord Gardiner of Kimble

Mandatory microchip scanning of all cats and dogs at every vet visit.

Whilst mandatory microchipping of dogs is welcomed, it is felt that this should also be extended to cats. Further, it is also believed that revisions to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 should make provision for the mandatory scanning of all cats and dogs when presented at any and all veterinary appointments.  This is to help ensure that: (a) pet records are kept up to date to help maintain the wellbeing and welfare of the animal; and (b) lost or stolen pets are quickly reunited with owners. On 11 September 2016 my Russian Blue x Chocolate Shorthair cat Annoushka 'Noosh' for short was stolen from my front garden. I know this for a fact.  Noosh was spayed, chipped and very much loved. AniBase (now called Identibase) were informed, along with the crime number from my local police force to mark her records as stolen.  It was some 14 months later, on 6 November 2017 that I received a telephone call from a veterinary service to say that my beloved cat's body had been brought into them - and that by scanning her they had immediately been aware of her being stolen and contacted me. Had Noosh been looked after properly, in spite of her having been stolen, she would have been presented to a vet in that intervening period whether for a wellness check or even to ascertain her vaccination status.  This did not happen.  It is strongly believed she was kept penned indoors as a 'house cat' (much against her natural desire to be an outdoorsy cat) and, on being spooked by the fireworks over the Bonfire Night/Weekend celebrations, managed to get out of the place she was being held, ventured onto a road and into the path of an oncoming car. Mandatory chipping AND scanning will help preserve the welfare and wellbeing of the animal, especially in the current climate where pet theft is sadly on the increase.  I would also wish to see technology evolve where pet microchips are fitted with a GPS tracking device, but that type of petition is for another day. Scanning a cat or a dog for a microchip is painless and takes just seconds to scan and check the records against the number/bar code.  Please support this petition to ensure that all pets are given further protection to ensure their safety, whether they get lost or, as in the case of my beautiful cat above, is stolen. Thankyou Lynda Bowyer

Lynda Bowyer
1,000 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Office of Local Government, Niall Blair MP, Anthony Roberts MP, Gabrielle Upton MP, Clover Moore, Tim Hurst, Paul Toole MP

Link Pet Registries Australia wide to prevent theft and loss.

The NSW Pet Registry is not linked to any of the 5 other national pet databases. This means someone could steal your pet and bring it to (or from) NSW and their microchips wouldn’t scan in their new location. With any luck, your pet would end up in a new loving home. But equally, it could end up used as a fighting dog, or as bait, or sold into a puppy mill, or for any number of other awful scenarios. But no matter what, you’d be left heartbroken. A real life example… In 2013, whilst living in Melbourne, my girlfriend and I rescued the two most amazing dogs in the world. A Husky named Cali and a Labrador named Snickers. I registered them and paid the adoption fees, and they came to live with me for good. In 2015, life took us to Sydney. But a year later, my ex and I split up. At first we shared the dogs, but then my ex changed her mind and I haven’t seen them in 10 months and counting. I’m now facing legal bills in the tens of thousands to win them back through the courts, and it’s something that could have been avoided.  You might be wondering how this happened, since I paid for them and they’re registered to me... Well, just a few days after we split up, my ex went down to the local council and re-registered the dogs in her name. They already had microchips with my information, but the NSW registry doesn’t link to any other database in Australia. It’s the only one that doesn’t. So when their chips failed to return any information, she simply pretended they had never been registered before, and that I didn’t exist, even though both dogs had been officially mine throughout the rest of Australia since 2013. She wasn’t even asked for a change of ownership form. It was negligent of the council not to ask why an 8 and a 5 year old dog had chips that had “not been activated", but moreover it’s a failure of the system that their chips didn’t scan correctly. This is exactly what micro chipping is meant to protect against! How is it possible that the registries are not linked? Please sign this petition to have Pet Registries (in particular the NSW Pet Register) linked Australia wide effective immediately. Protect your pets from loss/theft.

Ben McPhee
2,975 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Michael Gove

Justice for Cats Killed by Dogs

On the 19th September 2017, a local dog escaped and killed my beloved cat Maizey in our garden. She was 9 years old and could not have been a happier, healthier little moggie. She brought unconditional love, joy and laughter to our lives. So as any loving pet owner will understand, losing her in such an abrupt and tragic way left us completely devastated and inconsolable. In fact, we still can't believe that she's gone. We later found out that the dog belonged to a local couple who had only adopted it from a rescue centre 4 days earlier. The couple were polite, but unwilling to take the dog back to the rescue, despite our concerns for our remaining cat and the other neighbourhood cats. I was advised to contact the police and report the dog attack, which I duly did. It was at this point that my decision to start a petition began...... I found that, despite Maizey being killed on our property, she was worth nothing in the eyes of the law. Action would only be taken against the dog owners should multiple attacks occur, at which point it would be grounds for 'anti-social behaviour'. I couldn't help but wonder - Exactly how many more pets need to be attacked before the police will take any kind of action?! This revelation led me to look into the Dangerous Dogs Act (1997). This legislation allows for action to be taken against dog owners should they attack people. I couldn't find mention of attacks on other animals anywhere in the document. I was appalled to realise that trivial malicious damage to my property might result in police action, however a lethal attack on my cat on my property results in exactly nothing. I would like to see the Dangerous Dogs Act amended to include for appropriate action to be taken following an attack on a 'protected animal', especially where an animal is attacked on its own property. It won't bring Maizey back but, as a responsible pet owner and animal sanctuary volunteer, I hope to at least raise awareness of the issue. Please sign and share this with your friends and family. A few more links you might be interested in: Cats.Org article about the 2013 Draft Amendment to the Dangerous Dogs Act: Nikki Morgan debates in parliament for the inclusion of dogs in the Dangerous Dogs Act:

Emma Woollen
1,330 supporters