These are the 67 best and worst countries for animal rights

We all now know that the place where a person is born can pass on a privilege – or the opposite. But what about animals? Their country of origin can be the difference between living a fancy life with toys, a pet bed, and even a wardrobe, or ending up on someone’s plate.

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Matthew Nash, researcher and co-founder of insurance comparison site The Swiftest, looked at animal rights in a survey of the 67 best and worst countries for animal rights. “I’ve always been interested in animal rights,” Nash said. “I believe that animals are sentient beings. As a long-time pet owner, I have developed a strong bond with animals, as many pet owners can understand. This, coupled with my curiosity and interest in international animal rights law, got me to the point of wanting to conduct this in-depth research on a global scale.

Related: California Law Seeks To Improve Conditions For Pigs

Nash also wanted to look beyond pets like cats and dogs to embrace a broader spectrum of animals, including livestock and wildlife. The nine factors he looked at to produce his animal rights index reflect this. Full weight has been placed on recognition of animal sensitivity, recognition of animal suffering, laws against cruelty to animals, and a nationwide ban on fur farming. The half-weight factors supported the Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare, Per Capita Meat Consumption, Percentage of Protected Areas, Pesticide Use per Hectare of Cropland, and Environmental Performance Index.

A cat standing on a patterned blanket.

The winners

It turns out that Luxembourg is the best place to be born in animal form. This small country in northwestern Europe, bordered by Belgium, France and Germany, scored 519.68 points on the fastest animal rights index. The only place he faltered was eating meat – too much ham and blood sausage.

The United Kingdom, Austria, the Czech Republic and Belgium round out the top five. All met the fully weighted factors of the index. But some had above-average meat consumption levels, less land classified as protected areas and / or a higher percentage of pesticide use per hectare of cropland. Interestingly, European countries held the top 25 places, with the exception of New Zealand, which came in at 18th.

Nash is optimistic about improving conditions for the animals. “Over the past two decades or so, more and more countries are recognizing that animals feel pain and are not just property,” he said. “Many countries have enacted animal welfare laws. We still have a long way to go globally, but we are slowly moving in the right direction overall. “

A white baby pig with black spots.


China was clearly the loser, with a score of 12.46. With some markets in China selling live frogs, pre-skinned for convenience, it’s clear that many citizens have different attitudes towards animals. China also did not have any of the fully weighted factors in the study. The few points he scored were related to relatively low per capita meat consumption.

The other losers were Vietnam with 45.24 points, Iran with 71.4 points, Azerbaijan with 73.07 points and Belarus with 105.65 points. Belarus has at least one fur ban. Nash said he was surprised at the lack of animal welfare in some countries. “The last ten countries in my study had minimum animal rights laws, while some had none.”

A bunch of live, skinned frogs.

What about the United States?

The United States scored in the bottom half of the index, ranking 40th with 319.45 points. On the bright side, the United States has laws against cruelty to animals, but does not have a national ban on fur farming, and does not recognize animal sensitivity at the federal level. It also scored among the highest for per capita meat consumption and lowest in percentage of protected areas. The United States scored just below Israel and just above Venezuela.

“As an American citizen, I was surprised to find America ranked 40th out of 67 countries studied,” Nash said. “I felt like we care a lot about animals as a country, which is partly true. In general, our pets are treated very well, which is not always the case with our livestock and wildlife.

The life of pets

Swiftest’s Animal Rights Index is larger than the cats and dogs that many people have in their homes. Nash said his next study will focus on dogs and will be called “the best and worst countries for dogs.” While the United States has not done so well on the Animal Rights Index, Nash believes American dogs have it quite well.

“I have had dogs in the United States and I know the dogs are treated very well here,” he said. “If I were a dog I would be the happiest in America. America has excellent vets, plenty of parks and trails to walk and seek out, and plenty of pet-friendly restaurants and hotels. However, the pioneers of his new study so far show that the two best countries to be a dog are Italy and New Zealand, which got 26th and 18th place respectively in the Animal Rights Index. .

A dog standing on a bench in front of a large green plant.

For more on animal rights, resources suggested by The Swiftest include the ASPCA, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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