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Australia Turns Crocodiles Into Fish

Reuters ("Lawmakers ponder the meaning of fish," 8/18) reported that Australia’s parliament has changed the meaning of "fish" to include crocodiles,

to ensure Australia would have the right to enforce export controls on a wider range of fish, including crocodile products, shellfish, and prawns.

Before you go bashing Oz for changing the classification (I have a tough time aggreeing that they’ve changed the meaning of anything) of crocodiles, remember that The Kansas Pet Protection Act, Article 17, states:

Dog means any animal which is wholly or in part of the species Canis familiaris but does not include any greyhound . . .

This, of course, was done to remove Greyhounds from protection afforded to your Poodle or your mutt. The reality is that changing the classification of nonhuman animals is nothing new. It’s a strategy used to allow greater abuse and exploitation by humans.

My favorite example of this takes place in the vivisection industry.  Animal experimentation is regulated by the federal government via the Animal Welfare Act, which is enforced and administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

However, the federal Animal Welfare Act doesn’t cover rats and mice, which account for approximately 90% of the animals used. Furthermore, federal reporting requirements don’t include birds, reptiles, amphibians, horses, or farm animals used in agricultural resource.

The result? The number of animals used in experiments annually is reported to be about 2 million. But when adjusted for ALL of the animals, estimates are between 50 and 115 million.

For more information on the various unnecessary, expensive, cruel experiments YOU fund with your tax dollars, click here, and for information about many alternatives to such experiments, check out the Physician’s Committee for Reponsible Medicine (PCRM).

And for the most comprehensive resource for laws regarding the use and treatment of nonhuman animals, consult the Animal Rights Law Project, started by author and lawyer, Gary Francione.

If you’re interested in the theory of abolition as it relates to animals, I suggest reading Francione’s INTRODUCTION TO ANIMAL RIGHTS: Your Child or the Dog?.

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