A conscious animal, capable of love and creating friendly relationships; can be devoid of these sensibilities by enduring pain, fear, anger, and anxiety instead. For a bird that could fly in the open, is locked up in a cage like a showpiece. While a dog meant for a cold region, it is domesticated in a hot, rugged environment where it is kept indoors in AC. Even a horse that grazes in open pastures of land is fed twice a day causing him gastric ulcers. Animal cruelty can take place in many forms. As a matter of fact, while reading this, another animal is being abused, neglected, slaughtered and or abandoned. What does it take to create a protective environment for animals and prevent it from occurring?
The answer does not lie in a sentence or some steps that you can follow. First of all, it is necessary to recognize the different forms of animal cruelty. How can we identify them? As responsible humans become self-aware about the ins and outs of animal cruelty, we’ll be able to educate others. The month of April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, so let’s find out more about it.
What is Animal Cruelty?
Cruelty towards animals, neglecting them or stripping them of their basic necessities is animal abuse. These cases could be happening in your neighborhood, your workplace, a nearby laboratory, animal park, zoo or even animal shelters. Zoosadism is pleasure derived from inflicting pain to animals; it’s a psychopathic behavior trait, part of the Mcdonald triad that is related to serial offences. There are several cases of animal cruelty that fall into different categories. Let’s look into some of these prevalent cases.
Animals can’t speak for themselves. Therefore, they are kicked, nagged, and whipped for failing to respond to commands. We humans, take undue advantage of their circumstances and treat them in the most inhumane way possible.
An important aspect of animal abuse, is that it happens behind closed doors. For example, a horse rider may whip a horse when it refuses to follow a command; or a dog may be punished when it doesn’t act a certain way. Although this might sound normal, imagine the pain the animal undergoes every time a smashing whip hits their coat. There are members of law enforcement that investigate the cases of animal abuse. However, some of these cases go unreported, and offenders get away with the crime.
Neglecting the Animal
Unawareness and ignorance is the root cause of animal neglect. Lack of knowledge on how to take care of the animal is the primary reason why 60 percent of the domesticated animals die. Not being able to look after an animal is not an excuse for its death.
Having disinterest is another reason for neglecting animals. Pet owners should be morally and legally obligated to take their injured/sick pets to the vet. Some people choose to ignore their pets or use home remedies that end up making it worse. They are not willing to spend money and the time necessary to heal the pets; resulting in no food because the owner forgot. Not grooming the pets well are other examples of animal neglect.
Animal exploitation has been prevalent in our society for centuries now. This goes unnoticed and unexposed and for some reason, everybody has come to terms with exploiting animals for selfish motives. There is a sense of entitlement towards animals, but people assume that they have the right to use animals as they wish. Zoos, circuses, animal parks, aquatic theme parks are infamous for exploiting animals.
However, it is now under control after animal welfare organizations like PETA, raised their voice against the cruelty animals have to face. 96% of circus animals spend their life in dingy cages and some trainers have been found guilty of using whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, and bull-hooks to train animals.
Animal Testing in Laboratories
The Silver Spring experiment is a classic example of animal cruelty; prevalent in scientific researches and experiments. Starting from 1981 until 1991, the experiment became the first animal research case to reach the United States Supreme Court.
Seventeen wild born Macaque monkeys, indigenous to Philipines; were kept in Silver Spring, Maryland at the Institute for Behavioral Research. They were used as a research subject by Edward Taub, a psychologist who had cut the spinal ganglion of the monkeys that supplies sensation to the brain from limbs. Animals like birds, lizards, snakes, frogs, rats are used in the laboratory for experimenting.
Using Animals for Monetary Gains
People justify animal slaughtering to benefit the skin industry; making millions every day from thousands of animals being slaughtered. From selling fur, and stealing body parts, like the tusk of a rhino, are some of the many ways animals are tortured. Instead of minting money out animals, contribute to them by making donations to an animal charity.
Animal Cruelty in Livestock
Livestock bred to provide us with meat, eggs, and milk; have been a victim of life-long suffering. Even organic livestock products come at the price of animal cruelty. Manufacturers often put these labels on food without changing much of the living conditions of the animals.
Animals such as chickens, cows, and other livestock spend their days stuffed in dingy cages where there’s no proper cleanliness due to which diseases can propagate quickly.
Even worse, the animal body organs are mutilated by debeaking, dehorning, castration without anesthetic, and live plucking. Heinous acts like this can be stopped by spreading awareness.
How Do You Stop Animal Abuse?
Don’t turn a deaf ear towards animal abuse. If you witness it around yourself, report it to the local animal control or law enforcement. Professionals can take the matter into account; and if the crime is confirmed, offenders will be punished. If an animal is abused, unhealthy, and requires immediate attention; officers can take it into custody. Rescued animals will be sent into rehab where it will be looked after by a group of professionals who excel in animal rehab.
Don’t try to rescue a pet from a potential abuser or criminal; this is not only dangerous, it’s illegal.
Here are certain things you can do contribute to making our society a safe place for animals:
- Conduct animal awareness meetups at your local church or clubs. You can do the same at animal daycare, schools, parks to spread the word among kids.
- Conduct a speaker session in your office. Call upon a speaker from animal support groups to discuss topics of pet care, animal training, and animal welfare issues.
- Get pet care guides from local animal shops for a friend who has just got a new pet. You could also gift packets of treats or pet parenting products and a pet-care book.
- Support initiatives to boost your state’s anti-cruelty laws.
- Write your local paper and TV station whenever animal cruelty stories appear. Give your voice to penalizing animal abusers.
The next time you see a person hitting an animal for no rhyme or reason, question him for his actions. If you ever come across animals that are unkept and not well groomed; enquire about their condition from their owner. Make them feel realize that it is their responsibility to look after their pets. Teach your kids to be kind towards animals and treat them as equals. By taking these baby steps, we sure will create an iota of impact, and together it will make a huge difference.
Aishwarya Sen is a Literature graduate from India. She has two adorable Shih Tzus and a rescued American bobtail cat. While not working on new projects and ideas for pet awareness on her blog Fido & Feline you’ll find her travelling across the Himalayas or spending time with her pets.