Animals bring great joy to humans and are a huge part of family life for many of us. However, globally there are many issues that infringe upon animals’ rights and leave the susceptible to danger and abuse. Many of these rights violations are legal and thus not always seen as wrong. However, many of these problems bring significant harm and pain to animals’ lives and it’s important to be aware of them, so that we can be a part of solving the problem and making the lives of animals better and safer. Issues can impact domestic animals, farm animals, and wild animals and thus we need to be aware of the issues impacting them so that we can be a part of bringing about positive change. If we are to take animal rights seriously we need to know what is happening and how to counter these monumental global issues.
1. Climate Change and Overpopulation
One of the biggest problems threatening the rights of animals is climate change and overpopulation. Humans have unfortunately caused a lot of harm on the planet and due to this, many species have become extinct. A myriad of issues including deforestation and the melting of icecaps have contributed to this loss of life. Overpopulation also creates an increased demand for meat and animal products and this can cause a number of overcrowding issues in farms and the meat industry. As humans we need to think seriously about the impact that our actions have on animals and the planet and work towards lessening our carbon footprint to save the planet, animals, and our fellow human beings.
2. Animal Experimentation
Animals are often used in experiments to test the safety of medications and various cosmetic products. Many have argued that this practiced is cruel and oftentimes ineffective. Animals often suffer unbearably in these experiments and it has been equated to animal abuse. Over 115 million animals are utilized for the purpose of testing every single year and these include monkeys, mice, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, and many more. The medications that are tested are often created for conditions that animals do not experience (such as HIV or Parkinson’s) and thus, they can oftentimes be ineffective. Many medications are toxic towards animals and can cause them unbearable pain, blindness, cancers, and even death. Testing for the purpose of make-up and cosmetics has also been heavily criticized, as these products are not seen as essential for human life. Animal testing hurts animals and fails to recognize their right to dignity and care. Opt to buy from companies that have not tested their products on animals to showcase your support for ending this practice.
3. The Fact that Animals are Seen as ‘Property’ and not Beings in their own Right
Sadly animals are often seen as property, rather than beings in their own right. We need to legally change this stance so that they are not simply seen as property that is owned. If they were seen as autonomous beings in their own right, they would be afforded more privileges and protection. Animals need to transform from being belongings, to companions in both law and societal perceptions. Many have argued that animal abusers need to be put onto a national animal abuse registry and banned from ever owning animals again. We need changes in law and more robust legislation to protect the rights of animals.
4. The Plight of Stray Cats and Stray Dogs
There is a huge problem of stray cats and dogs roaming the streets homeless. Due to a lack of adequate spay and neuter campaigns, these animals will continue to reproduce and thus exacerbate the problem of strays. These animals to not have access to food, clean water, or adequate shelter and are susceptible to a number of environmental vulnerabilities, possible abuse, and starvation. Millions of animals are euthanized every year in the US by various animal control services. The lack of proper programmes to support strays causes a lot of harm and threatens animal rights. These animals deserve the same love and care as domesticated pets and more needs to be done to give them the chance at a liveable life. Spay and neuter campaigns also need to be prioritized to ensure that reproduction doesn’t continue. Until this happens the problem will perpetuate and many animals’ lives will be at risk.
5. Factory Farming
Using animals for food and human consumption has long been protested by animal rights activists and the ethics around eating meat and consuming dairy are questionable and complex. Sadly mainstream factory farming perpetuates abuse and animals are often kept in cruel and traumatic situations whereby they are unable to move freely, socialize with their fellow animals, or live a meaningful life. In order to cater to expanding population growth, animals are farmed in extreme numbers and are merely seen as a number, rather than a living being. While free-range farming is on the rise, and many choose to support local and sustainable farms, mass farming remains rife and many animals suffer at the hands of these brutal practices. Cows in the dairy trade are particularly prone to dire living conditions and often spend a life in captivity and misery.
6. The Fur Trade
While the fur trade is illegal in many countries, it continues to prevail and there are many fur farms around the world. Many animals die in the name of fashion and fur and are often treated in very cruel and brutal ways. They are also often killed in very harsh ways and might be caught in agonizing traps, or even bludgeoned to death. It is imperative to not support the fur-trade as these animals are simply bred for fashion and then senselessly killed. In todays’ age, there are many faux-fur products that resemble the real thing without having to abuse animals or infringe upon their rights. The fur trade is cruel and unnecessary and needs to be completely dismantled. We can be a part of this by refusing to ever wear fur and protesting against this barbaric trade.
7. Hunting for ‘Fun’
Some people are completely against hunting for any reason, be that for food, or ‘fun’. While some people might hunt ethically and in a sustainable way to feed themselves and their families, many hunt for fun and simply kill the animals to gain status or a trophy. Many beautiful wild animals including elephants, lions, and antelope have been killed in the name of ‘hunting for fun’. This senseless loss of life infringes on animals rights and fails to respect their right to life. Canned hunting is a particularly terrible sport and sees animals being confined to smaller spaces than they would be in the wild. People then enter these enclosed areas with their guns and aim to hunt and kill the animals. This is a huge animal rights issue and one that need to stop. While many countries legislate against it, it still happens all too often and this culture has to end if animal rights are to be taken seriously. We need to change social norms and the idea that hunting is a fun sport.
8. Dog Fighting Rings Looming Large
Dog fighting is a violent and prevalent so-called ‘sport’ that harms many dogs and animals around the world. In the brutal ‘blood sport’ people pit two or more dogs against each other and fight them to the death. Dogs are usually starved and abused prior to fights to exacerbate their aggression. In the process of training dogs, defenceless ‘bait’ animals might be used to further fuel aggression. The fights are usually witnessed by spectators and people often might even place bets on dogs. These games are cruel and illegal and perpetrators have been held to account in various countries. As it often occurs underground, it can be difficult to regulate. This cruel sport happens across the globe, and while it has been rendered illegal in many countries, it is still illegal in come countries including Japan and some parts of Russia. If you ever suspect a dog-fighting ring is in operation, it’s important to call law enforcement officials. Many of these animals have been rescued and even rehabilitated and they deserve a chance at a better life filled with love and kindness.
9. Using Animals in Sports for ‘Fun’ or Captive Animals as ‘Entertainment’
While blood sports like dog fighting or bull fighting are highly abusive and cruel and cause a lot of bloodshed and death, there are other sports that also harm animals, even if they are not characterized by fighting. Sports like horse racing and greyhound racing can put extreme pressure on animals and can lead to over exhaustion and even death. There is also the big problem of zoos and aquariums who do not properly care for their animals or cater to their needs. Marine life (including dolphins and whales) are often kept in inhumane conditions and not given the space and freedom that they need to flourish. Many of these animals are forced to perform for large crowds and food is withheld to ensure that they comply. It is important to not support this cruel for of entertainment and to take a stand against wild animals being held in captivity.
10. People Turning a Blind Eye to Animal Abuse
Sadly, while these problems persist, many choose to turn a blind eye and don’t take a stand towards animals’ rights. Whether it’s the way that farm animals are treated in over-crowded warehouses, the use of animals for their fur, unjust testing for cosmetics, or animal fighting, we have to take a stand is we care for animals and their rights. It’s important to not turn a blind eye. If you come across a stray animal, always contact a shelter and ensure that they are rescued. Volunteer at your local animal shelter, spread awareness about the need for spay and neuter campaigns, protest against animal testing for trivial products like cosmetics, and report any suspicious or abusive behaviour towards animals if you encounter it. If everyone does their little bit and fights for the rights of the most vulnerable, we can make a difference to animals and support and promote their rights. It’s also not important to not support zoos and aquariums that confine animals to small spaces and force them to act and behave in ways that are not in their nature. By withholding money from these organizations you can protest against their unjust treatment of animals.