William Ralph once said, “We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the devil in human form” (Quote garden, 2009). This quote expresses the cruelty that animals have gone through, especially through the hands of man. These acts of cruelty take place all the time and all over the world including the United States. The worst of them are usually seen in the newspaper and heard in the news (Merz-perez and Heide, 2004). One may wonder what the term “animal cruelty” means. This term is usually an ambiguous one and its meaning differs from one region to another (D’silva, 2010). One definition that is usually used by the legal fraternity is; animal cruelty is the act of inflicting pain or cause an animal to suffer or die for things like sports or just doing it to release temper with much indifference on how it feels (Kilroy, 2009).There are so many activities that constitute animal cruelty and thus this essay seeks to analyze them.
All over the world, it has been estimated that the number of animals that are usually killed in a year for their fur is between 40 to 50 million and these include; dogs and chinchillas among others. It has also been reported that vertebrae numbering 50-100 million are usually used for medical testing around the world. Thousands of dolphins are usually slaughtered every year for their meat. So many seals are clubbed to death, for example in a country like Canada where 345,400 of them were killed in the year 2006. The number of animals killed just for human consumption is 140 billion worldwide every year (Frater, 2010). Various companies and institutions have been associated with these cruelties for example; those which are involved in factory and fur farming, testing of animals and all of these have been accused of neglecting animals. Other institutions that have been committing these crimes against animals include the entertainment industry especially those related to circus and films (D’Silva, 2010).
What constitutes animal cruelty?
Animal cruelty entails three things and these include; intentional harm, neglect and sexual abuse of animals. Neglect comes about as a result of failing to water the animals, denying them food, care or even shelter, parasite infestations, failure to provide medical care when the animals need it, letting the animal’s collar to grow into its skin, confining the animal without enough light or air; in other words unsanitary conditions, letting the animal’s hooves and nails to excessively grow without trimming them (Ontario SPCA, nd). Intentional cruelty is considered to be very brutal and this entails; deliberately inflicting physical pain on the animal for example burning, beating, poisoning or even stabbing an animal to death. Some people may also be using these animals for their own profit thus subjecting them to cruelty for their own personal gain for example; dog and cock fighting, puppy mills and slaughter houses which have been established illegally (Ontario SPCA, nd).
Practices that facilitate animal cruelty
In a place called Rodeos, people engage in a kind of sport that entails calf roping. There is also another game involving shooting of the pigeons and the more one shoots, the more prizes he/she will win. In one day, 15,000 of these birds would end up dead or injured just in the name of a sport. Other kinds of sports include bullfighting cockfighting among others (Shark Online, 2010). Some farmers engage in the firing on their farm animals and this entails placing a hot iron on a swelling or an inflamed area with a belief that it reduces pain but in actual sense it leads to open wounds. Others go to the extent of using battery acid to treat the wounds with a belief that it speeds up the healing process. This does not only worsen the situation of the wound but also causes a lot of pain to the animal. Some farmers also use ‘bits’ which are usually placed in equines’ mouths for guidance to specific direction. Sometimes these bit ware out and the farmers repair them using scraps of wire; inflicting much pain to the animals. Moreover, sometimes people beat these animals, especially the farm ones, in the process of trying to steer them in the process inflicting wounds on the animals. In Tunisia, people are known to slit the nostrils of the animals for example the donkeys and the mules among others .They do this thinking that, the process would help the animals to breath better and thus giving better results by working harder. This is a very painful process that those animals go through (Society for Protection of Animals Abroad, nd). Other practices include; using animals for medical testing, brutally killing animals (hanging, electrocuting, breaking of the neck among others) for fur and human consumption and genetic manipulation of animals, for example the pedigree dog breeding. The latter affects negatively dogs, for instance, most of them usually suffer form genetic diseases and some pigs which undergo the process may suffer from epilepsy (Frater, 2010).
How to recognize animals that have been subjected to these cruelties
There are several characteristics that will indicate an animal has been subjected to a kind of cruelty and these include: wounds on the skin, the animal may overgrown nails and hooves which are severe to an extend, absence of hair on some areas of the skin or even patches, the animal may show signs of starvation for example appearance of ribs or protrusion of the backbone, eyes that may be infected without any medical attention among others. If one notices some animals being chained and left without any food or water, others hit by cars and left without medical attention, birds left outside especially in the cold during winter or other extreme weather conditions and lastly untrained individuals slaughtering a particular animal, one should report immediately to the police or to the concerned societies (Ontario SPCA, nd).
The issues of animal rights and animal cruelty have generated so much debate which has led to the emergence of proponents and opponents. One area that has brought much controversy is the issue of animal testing. Although it is considered a form of animal cruelty, there are those who have come out to support it. Some have come out to say that the practice is essential to man because it helps in treatment of humans (Frater, 2010).
Laws associated with animal cruelty
Despite of those opposed to animal rights’ in United States, any form of animal cruelty is considered a felony in 45 states among the 50. The other five have no strong laws on the issue and these include: Arkansas, Mississippi, Idaho, South and North Dakota (Freeseo, 2009) but all in all, all states have one or more laws against animal cruelty. These laws are not there to grant animals’ rights but are only meant to protect them. However, the main purpose for these laws is to prevent human violence and mistreatment of animals and this is done by imposing harsh penalties any time those acts are committed (Stray Pet Advocacy, 2010). These laws are based on moral grounds and thus they are there to ensure human beings behave straight. Apart from the state laws, there is a federal law called animal welfare act which regulates research activities, run shelters belonging to private and government institutions, animal transport and animal stealing. This law was adopted in the year 1966 and from that year, it has gone through so many amendments. One example of animal laws is the public law 101-624, sec.28.a.1 which says that if a dog or a cat has been recovered, it is supposed to remain in the run shelter for not more that five days inclusive of one weekend day. Within these five days, the recovered animal is supposed to be taken back to the owner or put up for adoption but after they elapse, the animal can be sold to a customer (Stray Pet Advocacy, 2010).
In conclusion, animal cruelty in the current world has sparked outrage due to the increase of crimes against animals but still it is a contentious issue since there are some people who are opposed to animal rights and the concept of animal cruelty while others are in support of it. Amidst these debates, animals have become victims of their own masters’ cruelty and violence. These animals provide the human race with food, means of transport, and medicine among others and thus they need to be taken care of. Although there are laws to protect them from these cruelties, more measures need to be taken to step up the campaigns against these cruelties.
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