Working to help change public perceptions towards animals is something that all Green Monsters strive to do. Whether it’s breaking down barriers between the animals we share our homes with and farm animals or helping to raise awareness for wild animals suffering in captivity, we do all we can to help advance protections and welfare measures for animals in anyway that we can. And the good news is, it seems that all this hard work is paying off. There has been a lot of positive news lately in the United States in the world of animal rights and protection, with the introduction of stricter laws and penalties for animal abuse, it seems there is clear momentum in the right direction. And it looks like this momentum is even building on an international level as other countries are also taking steps in the right direction by passing laws and taking action which demonstrates an increased concern for animal rights and welfare.

There is much to celebrate in spite of the vast amount of work that still needs to be accomplished, but the victories detailed below show that all the hard work can result in real tangible action for animals  all across the world — and what’s better than that?

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1. Australia Protects National Parks for Animals

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Western Australia has many national parks that serve as sanctuaries for animals. Recently, however, a law that would allow the recreational hunting of “pest” animals such as rabbits, deer, ducks, goats within the borders of national parks was proposed.

Luckily, Animals Australia stepped in and united animal advocates to stop this plan from moving forward. Due to the large outpouring of opposition — in addition to research that proved the cull would be ineffective at controlling animal populations — The Environment Minister listened to the public and rejected the plan. He specifically noted animal welfare as a in moving forward with the law. Now animals in Western Australia parks can remain safe and out of harms way.

2. New Zealand Declares Animals Sentient Beings

New Zealand recently reviewed its welfare act, the Animal Welfare Act of 1999, for the first time in 15 years. The review included declaring that animals are “sentient beings” which acknowledges their cognitive abilities as well as their capacity to experience emotions and pain, much like a human.

While this is certainly progress, for the time being, the sentience provision is largely symbolic and won’t impact the livestock industry. Long-term, though, it may play a role on the codes of welfare being created for livestock producers. It is also a sign that animal welfare concerns are starting to have an important role in politics.

3. China Bans Ivory for One Year

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Every 15 minutes one elephant is poached for their ivory. Due to this incredibly high demand for this good, elephants under serious threat of going extinct from the wild in the next 20 years. Recognizing the role that the Chinese market plays in the perpetuation of the ivory trade (China is the world’s largest market for illegal ivory), the government recently instated a one year ban on the import of all ivory. The year-long ban is meant to give the Chinese government a chance to assess the failing of current laws against ivory in the country so that they can help put an end to the senseless poaching of elephants.

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4. New Zealand Bans Cosmetics Testing

New Zealand is on an animal rights role lately. Animal advocates and the Green Party campaigned to stop cosmetics testing in the country, and the government responded by changing the Animal Welfare Act to make it illegal for cosmetics, including the ingredients, to be tested on animals in New Zealand. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include imported cosmetics which make up the majority of those sold in New Zealand, but work continues to ban these as well. This is an important issue in many countries right now, including China and the U.S.

5. Mumbai Bans Horse Drawn Carriages

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This year, Mumbai, India, decided to ban their iconic horse-drawn carriages by June 2016. While these carriages are a major attraction, the Mumbai High Court declared them illegal due to animal cruelty. In order for this program to be phased out, all the horse stables in the city must also be closed and a plan is being created to rehabilitate the carriage horses and help the approximately 700 families who currently work in the industry. This plan must be completed by December of this year. Hopefully other countries, including the United States, will take note of these signs of progress and begin taking similar steps.

Continuing Work for Animals

These steps are wonderful developments for animals and we hope that these ripples started across the world will magnify into even larger progress in the future. It can be difficult and emotionally draining to fight for animals who are suffering in various industries, but just remember that it is all worth it! Share this post and encourage others to keep up the momentum – together we can create a more compassionate world for all living beings.

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Lead image Source: Flickr