Sunday, February 28, 2010

A registry of animal abusers is a bad idea

LA Times editorial "A registry of animal abusers is a bad idea" (February 25th, 2010) correctly notes the reasons why an animal-abusers registry would be poor policy in California, Corrections would only add one consideration: such a registry disproportionately affects the difficulty of obtaining work in fields other than animal abuse.
California already prohibits their cruel behavior, and a registry, however tempting, won't help them to learn compassion.
As Amanda Agan notes in an upcoming paper (available here), sex offender registries do not impact recidivism. There is little reason that we would expect presumably weaker animal registries to have such an effect. In addition, animal abusers often exploit animals for profit, knowing the illegality of their actions. Presumably, they only work with other animal exploiters and try very hard to keep their abuse a secret from those who support animal rights. A registry would not change the circumstances of this line of work. However, a registry may make legitimate sector employment more difficult to obtain, so that work promoting animal abuse becomes only more attractive to offenders. An animal registry may make recidivism more likely, and for this reason alone, it should not be enacted.

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