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By Lisa Yount

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In 1986, the same year that Britain passed its new act and a similarly rigorous law took effect in West Germany, the European Union approved the Animal Experiments Directive (86/609/EEC), which established uniform animal welfare provisions for all member countries and required member countries to develop legislation promoting alternatives to laboratory animal use. In June 2002, after 10 years of debate, Germany went even further by becoming the first European Union country to guarantee protection to animals in its constitution.

Even in those states, however, shelters can still sell to “middleman” animal dealers. THEFT OF COMPANION ANIMALS The dealers who buy animals from shelters are classified by the Animal Welfare Act as class B dealers, meaning that they buy animals from “random sources” rather than breeding them specifically for sale as so-called class A dealers do. The AWA stipulates that class B dealers must be licensed by the USDA and must keep careful records showing the sources of their animals, but animal rights groups such as the American Anti-Vivisection Society claim that these records are sometimes incomplete or falsified.

The number of fish and other aquatic creatures being raised for food is also rising rapidly. Animal rightists claim that most of these animals, along with others being raised for eggs, milk, and fur, live under abysmal conditions. One of the first descriptions of these conditions appeared in a 1964 British book called Animal Machines, in which Ruth Harrison described life on what she called factory farms: 26 I s s u e s i n A n i m a l We l f a r e a n d A n i m a l R i g h t s The old lichen covered barns are being replaced by .

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