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Criminology (Green Criminology)

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Question 1: Are animals subject to a suitable level of protection by the criminal law? If so to what extent should animals be subject to protection in criminal law? Justify your answer.

The question whether animals are subjected to suitable levels of protection by the criminal law deserve primary attention as the number of extinct and endangered animal species are increasing day by day. There have been a number of criminal laws passed by various states and governments to put an end to man’s cruelty towards animals. These criminal laws, to an extent, have been instrumental in reducing criminal and harmful activity towards animals. However, it is seen that many of these criminal laws aimed at preserving animal rights go unmonitored and these may have drawbacks at their execution levels. This paper seeks to explore to what extent animals are subject to protection under criminal law and in doing so the paper also deals with such key concepts as environmental justice, ecological justice, and species justice.

Criminal laws that protect animal rights are aimed at preserving species and ecological justice. The term species justice refers to the right of animals and other species of nonhumans to guard themselves against human abuse and cruelty. As such it is essential to guarantee animal rights through appropriate legislation and enforcements. Cruelties against animals are manifested in various forms across the globe and the ultimate outcomes of these are quite alarming. Studies on the extinction of various species prove that almost ‘fifty species’ are facing extinction each day whereas “forty-six per cent of mammal and 11 per cent of birds species are said to be at risk” (Chapter 17: The Greening of Criminology 317).Trafficking in both animals and animal parts across the world, violations towards land animal and aquatic life, and employing animal fights for entertainment purposes call for the need to have new forms of legislation-both domestic and international. Crimes against the animal species include not only trade in endangered species and body parts but also killing animals for the meat industry, hunting, poaching, entertainments such as dog-fighting, dancing bears, cock-fighting, badger-baiting, and bullfighting. Very often, animals are viewed as properties that can be “stolen, poached, damaged, held to ransom, rustled, misappropriated or spoiled” (Beirne 2007). Therefore, it is imperative that there exist sound criminal laws by which these atrocities towards animals are effectively regulated.

Towards the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty first century there have been a number of legislations to protect animals against human cruelty. The Animal Welfare Act of 2006 prevented such offences as causing suffering, mutilation, and indulging animals in fighting; the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act of 1996 ensured illegitimate infliction of pain of any sort to animals; the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act of 2000 made it an offence to keep animals solely for the purpose of slaughter; and the Hunting Act of 2004 prevented both hunting wild mammals with dogs and hare coursing. In the United States every state has sound legislation against cruelty to animals. For instance, the Humane care for Animals Act of 1973 by the state of Illinois makes it clear that the owners of the animals need to provide “a) sufficient quantity of good quality, wholesome food and water; b) adequate shelter and protection from the weather; c) veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering; and d) humane care and treatment” to the animals under their custody (Wenz 1988, p. 129). All these legislations and criminal laws have been instrumental in minimizing crimes towards animals to a great extent.

To conclude, it can be stated that in many countries crimes towards animals today are no longer conceived as minor crimes. Studies have also shown that people who commit brutal crimes against animals are also likely to indulge in similar crimes towards humans too. As researchers at the American Prosecutors Research Institute have identified crimes against animals not only ‘generate enormous emotion and interest’ but also “there are signs of growing public and professional interest in the prosecution of crimes against animals” (APRI 2006, p. 1). It can thus be understood that criminal laws against animal cruelty and the growing public interest on animal crime prosecutions are most likely to protect animals from man’s cruelty and brutality.

Question 2: Offer a critical explanation for the dramatic increase in the variety and severity off environmental harms in the last 30 years.

The term green criminology can be understood as those criminal laws that address the harmful acts (or omissions) relating to the environment or to nature. It is imperative that such harmful acts undertaken by human beings are brought under law and such harms towards the environment need to be regulated as well as criminalized. While criminology takes crimes against human beings seriously, it is a fact that harmful acts by human beings against animals, plants, ecosystems and the natural environment go unnoticed and unpunished. In this respect, eco-centric philosophers hold that man has the responsibility to protect and preserve ecological balance. It is significant to ensure both environmental justice and ecological justice. While environmental justice seeks to guarantee environmental rights as an extension of human rights in its attempts to prevent environmental harm ecological justice underlines ecological citizenship where all destructive human interventions that adversely affect ecological balance should be regulated. The environmental harms consists of crimes of deforestation for timber and land clearance, removing trees for construction and industrial development, lack of biodiversity, and pollutions of all sorts. Even though there have been a number of legislations such as the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Water Resources Act 1991, Merchant Shipping Act 1995, Ant-social Behaviour Act 2003, Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, it is a fact that there has been a dramatic increase in the variety and severity off environmental harms in the last 30 years. This paper tries to explore the various factors that have contributed to this dramatic increase in the variety and severity off environmental harms in the last 30 years.

It is worthwhile to analyse the various factors that lead to environmental harms. The Institute for International economics has identified that factors such as land degradation, deforestation, water pollution and scarcity, air pollution, solid and hazardous waste, marine and coastal pollution, acid rain, ozone layer depletion, global warming, climate changes and loss of biodiversity have been instrumental for environmental problems among Asia Pacific nations (Institute of International economics). Nada-Rajah, in this respect argues environmental burdens SUCH AS ‘intrusive mining and extraction, dumping of toxic & contaminated materials, high-polluting industry’ are “inequitably distributed and often concentrated in areas of socio-economically marginalized people” (Nada-Rajah 2010). Thus, it calls for the need to have environmental justice whereby environmental harms are equally distributed among all social groups. Critically analysing it can be seen that most of the factors that contribute to environmental harms cannot be overcome through legislations alone. On the other hand, protecting the environment necessitates collaborative efforts worldwide and green criminology needs to be effectively employed to prevent polluting the environment any further.

In conclusion, it can be agreed that green criminology offers one with “a better understanding of environmental harm and the impetus to see, judge and act on matters that are radically altering the fundamental nature of our world” (McLaughlin & Newburn 2010, p. 423). For man’s existence, it is essential to prevent all sorts of environmental harms so that the ecological balance is maintained and preserved. Developmental projects and industrial ambitions have turned the environment highly harmful and have resulted in a dramatic increase in the variety and severity of environmental harms in the last 30 years. Ensuring both environmental justice and ecological justice is the only possible solution to this issue and for this everyone needs to fulfil the duties of a responsible ecological citizen.


Beirne, P 2007, “Animal rights, animal abuse and green criminology” in Beirne, P. and South, N. (eds) Issues in Green Criminology, Cullompton: Willan.

Chapter 17: The Greening of Criminology, viewed 30 Aug. 11, <http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/0415281687/pdf/CY17.pdf>.

Institute of International economics, ‘Environmental Problems Confronting APEC’s Members’, viewed 30 Aug. 11, < http://www.piie.com/publications/chapters_preview/37/3iie2504.pdf>.

McLaughlin, E & Newburn, T 2010, The SAGE Handbook of Criminological Theory, Illustrated edn, SAGE Publications Ltd.

Nada-Rajah, Rebecca 2010, ‘Stories of Environmental Injustice’, A review of ‘Environmental Justice’ research in the UK, APE, viewed 30 Aug. 11, < http://environmental-justice.com/wp-content/uploads/EJR.pdf>.

Wenz, Peter S 1988, Environmental justice, SUNY Press.




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Essays, BookMy. (November 2018). Criminology (Green Criminology). Retrieved from https://www.samples.bookmyessay.com/criminology-green-criminology/

Bookmyessay. November 2018. Criminology (Green Criminology). [online]. Available from: https://www.samples.bookmyessay.com/criminology-green-criminology/ [ Accessed Wednesday 3rd March 2021].

Essays, BookMy. (November 2018). Criminology (Green Criminology). Retrieved from https://www.samples.bookmyessay.com/criminology-green-criminology/

Essays, Bookmy. (November 2018). Criminology (Green Criminology). Retrieved from https://www.samples.bookmyessay.com/criminology-green-criminology/

All Answers ltd, 'Criminology (Green Criminology)' (Bookmyessays.com, September 2019) https://www.samples.bookmyessay.com/criminology-green-criminology/ accessed Wednesday 3rd March 2021

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