Animal Rights
June 15, 2013
Are protection laws strong enough?

Abused or endangered mammals, birds, reptiles and marine life are under increasing pressure around the globe because of commercial development, consumer demand, illegal poaching and the inability of political and policy leaders to agree on how to protect them. From the decimation of African elephant herds for their ivory tusks to whale hunting and the slaughter of sharks for their fins — considered a delicacy in some Asian countries — animals are threatened worldwide. But some countries are acting aggressively to curb the problem, passing measures aimed at barring illicit harvesting of animal parts, prosecuting animal poachers, halting the use of animals in bullfights and circuses and outlawing animal testing for consumer products such as cosmetics. In the United States, federal and state governments have pressed for tougher regulations against animal cruelty and private ownership of exotic pets.

 Thai activists demonstrate against the killing of endangered
            wildlife during the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Bangkok
            on March 3, 2013. (AFP/Getty Images/Pairoj)   Thai activists demonstrate against the killing of endangered wildlife during the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Bangkok on March 3, 2013. (AFP/Getty Images/Pairoj)

Countries around the world are stepping up their efforts to protect mammals, birds and sea life from abuse, poaching and illegal trade, but animal-welfare advocates say many species remain highly vulnerable.

Some European countries have taken measures to bar the use of animals in sporting and entertainment events, such as bullfights and circuses, and the European Union has banned the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. Conflicts over whaling in international waters are pitting Japanese whalers against environmentalists.

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