A turtle just beneath the surface of bright blue choppy water.

Animal-friendly law changes worth celebrating!

Here are some recent legal updates that are huge wins for animals – and reminders that progress is happening around the world every day.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated January 28, 2022

Animals everywhere – both wild and farmed – need proper legal protection, and we know that legislative change is hard fought and long won. But when change does occur, it’s worth celebrating! Thanks to compassionate advocates across the globe, these laws to better protect animals are stepping us closer to a kinder future for all.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A closeup of a curious sea lion with the reef in background.

Victoria bans balloon releases – protecting animals and the environment

Balloons released into the sky eventually make their way back down to surrounding land and waterways – and can end up in the habitats of Australian wildlife. With the release of balloons into the environment being a form of littering, the state of Victoria has made doing so illegal. The ban will reduce plastic pollution and spare the lives of animals – including seals, turtles, and seabirds, to name just a few.

Balloons are deadly for sea animals, and present an immense threat just like other forms of plastic pollution (of which most in the sea is from the fishing  industry). Animals can be severely injured or killed by becoming entangled in ribbons or other attachments, or by mistaking balloons for squid or jellyfish and ingesting them.

Even balloons that are labelled as ‘biodegradable’ can persist in the environment for many months. To protect our wildlife from the dangers of balloons, the safest option is choosing to use alternatives – such as bubbles, flowers, or reusable decorations like bunting.

Until the rest of Australia’s states catch up to Victoria and ban releasing balloons, we can all play our part to help animals by ensuring celebrations and decorations are animal-friendly at home, school, and in the workplace.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A single flying fox hanging upside down and curiously looking towards camera

Dangerous fruit tree netting has also been outlawed in Victoria – making backyards safer for wildlife

Across Australia, thousands of animals are injured and killed each year after becoming entangled in dangerous netting on backyard fruit trees. In September 2021, Victoria became the first state in the country to implement laws around wildlife-safe netting. The regulation will make yards across the state safer for wildlife like threatened grey headed flying foxes, whose populations are in decline across the eastern seaboard.

Animals who become entangled in netting can suffer for days, and may starve to death or die from heat exhaustion. Those rescued often have severe injuries from the constriction of the plastic nets, and remain in the care of volunteer wildlife carers for weeks or even months.

As natural habitat and food sources shrink, you can help wildlife by pledging to share your yard with them regardless of your state’s regulations. You can also learn more about wildlife-safe netting here.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Two tigers cuddle atop a rock in the sunshine, with dry grass surrounding and a pale blue sky.

And the good news doesn’t stop in Australia.. France has banned the use of wild animals in circus shows!

Animals used in the circus are denied the opportunity to express any natural behaviours. They are routinely forced to spend extended periods of time on the road, confined to cages, and forced to perform through training that is often based on fear and punishment.

Joining at least 30 countries that have already banned or heavily restricted the use of exotic or all animals in circuses, France has voted to end the use of wild animals in live circus performances.

Set to become law, the ban will spare elephants, bears, lions and tigers from suffering in this outdated form of human ‘entertainment’. The bill will also bring an end to mink farming, and an end to live dolphin shows with a five-year phase out period.

Although undeniably a massive win for many animals in France, the laws will sadly not help those who are trapped in other forms of ‘entertainment’; zoos and aquariums, or other captive animal ‘attractions’. Thankfully, each of us can drive positive change for these animals by choosing not to attend shows or displays that use them. Caring people from France to Australia are supporting circuses that only rely on remarkable human talent instead, like Cirque du Soleil and Circus Oz, and choosing to admire animals in the wild, at sanctuaries or on television!

Each law implemented to better protect animals is to be applauded, but there is still a long way to go until regulations offer all animals the protection they deserve.

Thankfully, we have the power to bring about change for them.

With every kinder choice we make, we are shaping the world we all wish to see – one where all animals, from the companions we share our homes with to those wild and farmed who we share this earth with, live free from harm. To learn more about how you can help animals who are afforded the very least protection from harm in our society, join the evolution today.