Killing Companion Animals Should be Unlawful but what about all the other animals?


The Joint Committee on Public Petitions and the Ombudsmen is meeting today (11th April 2024) to consider Public Petition Number P00020/24 ‘Make unlawfully killing a pet an offence akin to murder, not criminal damage’.

Criminal damage refers to damage to property. Murder refers to unlawful killing of a person. Other animals are currently the legal property of the humans who own them. If they are harmed or killed, the only legal recourse available pertains to the harm caused to the property owner and not the experience of suffering or loss of life of the animal who was killed. For it to become unlawful to murder an animal, the animal must be regarded as a person with a mind and feelings who experienced harm and the loss of their future life.

Had I been aware of this petition prior to the radio interview, I would have supported it 100%. After all, the work of Go Vegan World is to challenge the property status of all animals and educate the public to respect the rights of all animals. Killing another sentient being is murder, regardless of their species, although the use of the word can be sensationalist and put people off listening to the rational arguments for veganism and animal rights.

The problem with such a petition is that it ring-fences ‘pets’ when there is no difference between how a dog or cat suffers or values their life and how a pig, chicken, sheep or cow suffers and values their life. The aim of vegans is to create a world where it will be unlawful to kill any living, sentient beings and unacceptable to view them as our resources.

Laws reflect public attitudes and social norms. The current norm is non-veganism, although veganism is increasingly recognised and accepted as a rational, valid way of living. However, most people are not vegan and it is both legal and socially acceptable to use animal products even though other animals have to be killed to produce those products. The most effective way to protect the rights of other animals is to educate people so they become aware that other animals have feelings and minds, they can suffer when we harm them, they value their lives, they are not our resources or property and it is wrong of us to use them or kill them. Vegan education helps members of the public understand that using other animal is unnecessary and that animal use equates with serious rights violations, causes harm, unnecessary suffering and kills billions of animals every year. Living vegan is easy and can be healthy, enjoyable, and affordable.

In this interview on Newstalk Radio, Ciara Kelly asks some of the questions that we hear frequently during our vegan advocacy:

Is it better for humans to breed other animals and kill them than for them never to have lived?
Is it acceptable to kill animals if they have lived outside rather than on so called ‘factory farms’?
Are other animals someone?
Is it acceptable to kill other animals because there is a food chain, and some animals kill other animals?
Is our instinct to kill other animals?
Is the petition to view the killing of other animals as murder going too far?
Is it acceptable to view the killing of ‘pets’ as unlawful but regard the killing of sheep, cows, chickens, and pigs as lawful?

For more information on animal rights, animal use and veganism, please click the links to our website and free vegan guide.