From the diaspora, a Guyanese weighs in on the law and animal welfare:
Species Specific Protection
The most practical argument for animal welfare centers on species-specific or species-based protection. Traditionally, animal protection laws have categorized animals according to the manner in which humans use them. For example, laws have been fashioned to regulate the use of animals in medical testing and experimentation, companionship, wildlife, farming and slaughtering, and so on. However, these categorizations are riddled with legal loopholes and a general lack of enforcement, thereby resulting in a weak basis of protection for animals.
In the United States, animals are still treated as “property” under the law. Accordingly, animal protection laws only extend to how property owners seek to treat and use their animals. Consequently, any protection afforded to animals is inherently limited as the animal’s welfare is never or very rarely ever taken into consideration. As Gary Francione explains,
When we consider our moral obligations to animals without first addressing the status of animals as property, we tend to confine our discussion to ways in which we might exploit animals more ‘humanely’ rather than ask whether our exploitation – ‘however humane’ – is morally justifiable.
Read more here.