Animal Rights: Global Perspective

By Alessandra Esguerra,
International News Assistant Editor

Animal rights have been a hot but­ton issue all around the world. Despite several highly debated cases of animal cruelty around the world, most countries have laws that prohibit cruelty to animals. Italy punishes those guilty of cruelty to animals with imprisonment between three months and three years and a fine between 3.000,00€ and 160.000,00€. In addition to fines and imprisonment, Chile promotes the teaching of animal care in its schools. In Ancient Egyptian law, those who killed cats or dogs were executed. However, not all countries have laws that protect animals from abuse. Colombia does not have much control over cruelty to ani­mals. Bullfighting and cockfighting are protected as “cultural heritage.” Activists have fought Colombia to recognize that these practices are cruel to animals, but the country still refuses to change.

One of the most notorious cases is Japan’s history of whaling. Japan’s prac­tice of whaling, the hunting and killing of whales for oil, meat, or whalebone, has been protested by many countries and continues to be a major animal rights issue. In the ban on whaling in 1986, there is an exception that allows Japan to continue the practice in Antarctica for scientific pur­poses. Activists claim that these scientific practices are simply protected commercial interests. According to a Japanese govern­ment spokesperson, whalers had entered New Zealand waters in order to protect themselves from activists despite New Zealand’s message that the whalers were not welcome.

According to The Independent, Den­mark’s government has issued a law which bans the religious slaughter of animals for the production of halal and kosher meat. Under European laws, animals to be slaughtered must first be stunned, however there are exceptions for religious beliefs. Last year, Britain announced that it would not ban religious slaughter after protests by activists, similar to what Den­mark was facing. The cam­paign group Danish Halal has stated, “The new order is a clear interference in religious freedom and limits the Muslims and the Jews’ rights to practice (sic) their religion in Denmark.”

Animal rights have a strong presence throughout the world, many countries do enforce the fines and imprisonment of those guilty.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 25 print edition.

Contact Alessandra at


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