Animals are like people. They may not have consciousness and the ability to reflect on their own thoughts, but they have feelings as much as the next person does. They get hurt, they ache, they feel joy, and they also get excited. But a lot of people don’t treat them as if they have any feelings. This is a sign of animal cruelty.
What is Animal Cruelty?
Before you lobby against animal cruelty, you should first understand what it is and what forms it takes. Simply put, animal cruelty refers to anything that harms and neglects animals. This group includes all mammals, amphibians, reptiles, or birds. They are not just confined to domesticated pets being kicked in the stomach although this is also a form of animal cruelty.
Animal cruelty can be large-scale or small-scale. It can occur behind closed doors in factories and it can also occur just around your neighborhood. For large-scale operations, animal cruelty is usually in the form of animal testing and factory farming. In the neighborhood, it can easily be your neighbor not giving the right food to their pets and leaving them out in the rain without any home to seek warmth in.
Different Forms of Animal Cruelty
Since animal cruelty is a broad term, it helps to know the forms in which animal cruelty takes shape. Here are some of them.
- Animal Abuse
The most common form of animal cruelty is abuse. The term “abuse” is defined as using something for a bad purpose. In animal cruelty, this could be hurting animals for the sake of doing so, or for punishing them when they don’t follow their owner’s commands.
More concrete examples would be a dog owner throwing things to the dog because they’re in their way or when they kick the dog because they don’t have time to play with them. Likewise, animal abuse can also occur between trainers and animals. For example, a trainer can hit an elephant or a bear when they don’t follow their instructions.
- Animal Exploitation
Animal exploitation occurs when animals are used to achieve the selfish wants of humans. For example, animals are exploited when they are taught tricks so that they can perform for long hours every day in order to please visitors in the local zoo. Another example would be when elephants in Cambodia are fed little and yet they are used as means of transportation for visitors who go around their tourist sites.
Usually, zoos and theme parks are places where animal exploitation is rampant. Ideally, animals should be fed properly and given the care they need depending on their needs and environment. However, these are not followed most of the time because of small budgets or corruption within those establishments.
- Hunting and Trading
Hunting is a sport in different parts of the world. Some people take pleasure in hunting deer, fawn, bears and even tigers. What’s gruesome about this is that these hunted animals end up preserved and used as an ornament in some people’s homes.
While other countries have banned hunting certain animals, there are still some who use this method as a means for gaining money. Take, for example, the hunting of elephants in Africa. Elephants are being hunted simply because their tusks make for good jewelry material. Because of the demand by some jewelry companies, these elephants are hunted and even killed in the process.
- Animal Testing
If not for campaigns and organizations that fight against animal testing, this form of animal cruelty will not be lessened. In fact, animal testing has been used for so many decades that it has become a practice by a lot of manufacturing companies.
The cosmetics industry is just one of the industries that make use of animals for manufacturing their products. No, animals are not part of the ingredients, but they are often the focus of experiments. Animal testing creates pain and distress to animals because they are exposed to radiation and different kinds of chemicals.
- Animal Neglect
You may not know it but there’s another form of animal cruelty that easily gets ignored – animal neglect. Just because you do not participate in the exploitation and abuse of animals does not mean that you don’t commit these faults. Turning a blind eye to those who are abused in front of you can already be considered as animal cruelty.
How Can You Prevent It
Now that you’re aware that animal neglect is a form of animal cruelty, then you must be encouraged to stop standing by while different animals suffer from the hands of those who do not care. When it comes to preventing animal cruelty, even the simplest actions can make a lot of difference. Here are five things you can do:
- Be informed.
The first thing you have to do is educate yourself. It’s difficult to advocate against animal cruelty when you don’t know anything about it. Aside from what was written above, do your research on what other forms of animal cruelty exists. It’s also important to be informed on the animal cruelty laws in your area. These laws differ from state to state so it’s best to ask around.
By being informed, you will be able to observe your surroundings more often. You will now be more observant of how the animals around you are being mistreated.
- Spread awareness.
Now that you are aware, the next thing you can do is to share your knowledge about animal cruelty to your peers, relatives, and neighbors. In this way, more people will be able to understand why animal cruelty should not be tolerated and how it can be prevented.
You can spread awareness by using different media. Nowadays, a lot of people are using social media as a way to spread awareness. However, you should know that you can also educate people beyond a screen. You can hold talks or simply create discussions within your circle about animal cruelty.
Creating discussion can be difficult especially when you are planning to hold a talk about it. What you can do to kickstart your campaign is to look for local organizations that have the same advocacies as yours. In this way, you can ask them to hold a program in your community. Aside from the extra help, you also get to have speakers that are experts in fighting against animal cruelty.
- Report animal cruelty when you witness it.
No one wants to witness animal cruelty; however, when it is right in front of you, it’s hard to admit it. What most people do is turn a blind eye hoping that it doesn’t exist. But this does not help you nor the animals in getting a better life.
Whenever you witness animal cruelty, make sure to take action right away. Before confronting the person who exhibits animal cruelty, document the situation and make sure you have proof. This will help you report the whole situation to the authorities. A word of caution, sometimes it is not wise to confront someone causing animal cruelty. You also have to look out for your own safety as you don’t know how the other person will react to what you will say.
Another thing: animal cruelty can also be disguised. This means that an animal does not have to be abused on the spot for you to recognize it as cruelty. There are some stray animals who have experienced animal cruelty. For cases like this, report them to organizations that can help take care of rescued animals.
- Volunteer in organizations.
Another simple thing you can do is to volunteer in organizations that promote animal welfare. This can be a big organization or even your local animal shelter. In other towns, local animal shelters are undermanned which means that they need as many volunteers as they can get. You can devote weekends and even weekdays to help out.
You can also invite friends and family to volunteer with you. If some of them don’t have the time, then you can explore ways on how it can be easier for them to extend their support to the local animal shelter. Most of the time, donations of cash or kind can be given.
- Teach and encourage people to respect animals.
If you have kids, it’s better to teach them how to respect animals while they are young. Let them know that animals are not owned by humans and the former have feelings, too. While giving them a pet might not be ideal since they can be allergic or rowdy, you can still teach them how to care for animals through books and by visiting the zoo.
Lastly, you can also teach them how to treat animals properly. Teaching them to be kind to them will help shape them to become better people not just towards animals but to other people as well.
There are many ways to prevent animal cruelty. If you want to know more about them, you can visit your local animal shelter or do your research on organizations that lobby against animal cruelty.
- What is Animal Cruelty and How Can We Stop It For Good? – Sentient Media
- Top 10 Ways to Prevent Animal Cruelty – E Michigan City
- 5 Things You Can Do to Help End Animal Abuse – Dogster