Cruelty to animals takes several forms and shapes. Also known as animal abuse or neglect, cruelty to animals is a worldwide problem that grows at a rapid rate every day—with domestic and captive animals denied food, kept in unhealthy conditions, and even physically beaten. Millions of animals die every year due to the cruel actions of human beings, whether to satisfy their zoo-sadistic impulsions or for personal pleasure and gain.
Although the subject of animal welfare inhabits some gray area, including the position that it is not wrong to use animals for human purposes, such as clothing, food, research and entertainment if it is done in a humanitarian manner. However, animal rights activists deny this position, arguing that the only way to ensure animal protection is to put an end to the custom of considering animals as property and ensure that animals are not used as commodities.
How to Recognize Signs of Animal Cruelty
There are some common signs indicating that animals are neglected or abused. Following are some signs of animal cruelty.
• Patches of hair loss
• Wounds on the body
• Ingrown nails or hooves: Nails curling under and hooves curling upwards
• Malnutrition: Extremely thin with protruding backbone or ribs
• Infected, untreated eyes
• Walking lamely
• Chained in the yard without proper shelter, food or water
• Lack of medical care and attention to injuries
• Physical abuse
• Serious, untreated tick or flea infestations
• Fearful or aggressive actions by the animal
• Vehicle containment on an extremely hot or cold day
• Small cages in congested locations
• Untidy conditions
• Chronic diarrhea or vomiting
• Swellings or abscesses left untreated
How to Stop Animal Abuse
• Report animal cruelty: If you witness or know of animal cruelty, it is your responsibility to react and report any abusive acts or conditions immediately. Reporting to the local animal control is the most effective way to ensure abused or neglected animals are safely recovered and spared any further traumatic experiences or pain. If there is a case of animal neglect, the animal control officer may visit the place in person to check out the real situation. If the animal is abused, the animal may need to be removed from the place. By taking immediate action and reporting about animal cruelty, you can provide a better life to the animal.
• Support animal charities: There are many organizations that fight against animal cruelty, with PETA chief among them. Across such organizations, you can find many likeminded people many of who are vegans and vegetarians willing to contribute to the welfare of animals. Charities and giving organizations always need individuals with a range of skills to contribute Spending a few hours a week in holding meetings and caring for animals at shelter can help them become people friendly, which in turn help increase their chance of being adopted. If you have good writing skills, you can help the organizations by writing newsletters. If you have web designing skills, you can help designing their website. If you don’t find time to volunteer, you can still help the organization by donating funds to them.
• Create a team: If you decide to fight against animal cruelty, determine a focused cause and create a team of individuals with shared interests and views can help you get effective results. A community approach is more effectual when it comes to fighting against animal abuse.
• Prepare a petition: Preparing a petition and garnering support through signatures is a key way to stop animal cruelty and take printouts. Take them with you wherever you go—parks, rallies, festivals and other local events—and get signatures from people you meet who are willing to support a worthy cause.
• Speak out against animal testing: Because many research studies are conducted for human products under the guise of our own welfare, the law does not prohibit using animals as testing tools. However, the animals that are used for various types of testing suffer immensely, forced to live in oppressive conditions. By lending your voice to organizations against animal testing, you can spread awareness to prevent animals from being used as testing tools.
• Spread the word about animal abuse: Many people are not aware of the cruelty happening to animals every day. You can change the course of such activities in your own community by engaging with local like-minded organizations, creating informative materials for others to use and reference, and speaking to those around you. Creating awareness among right people can help you get effective results. It is also worthwhile to educate children about this issue. Conducting workshops and awareness classes can help put an end to animal cruelty.
Lending yourself to such a cause can bring great purpose and self-satisfaction to your life. It is not possible to change the mindset of every person you meet, but you can still make a difference. Even if you are able to make someone realize the severity of animal abuse, it is a victory. Create a team, conduct rallies, report to animal control about any animal abuse you see, support animal welfare organizations, and spread awareness about animal cruelty among the public. You can also choose to contribute information to this site. These steps can help you make a significant impact in the fields of animal welfare and protection.
U.S. Laws Preventing Animal Cruelty
The Animal Welfare Act was signed into effect in 1966, and amended several times from 1970 to 2007. The Animal Welfare Act serves as the main federal legal foundation for animal care and protection, regulating the treatment of animals in transport, research and exhibition. Though there are other laws, rules and regulations that include more species coverage and/or animal care specifications the Animal Welfare Act is the minimal acceptable standard.
Many animal rights activists criticize the Animal Welfare Act for its exemptions and oversights—such as with birds, mice and rats for research and animals reared for food and fiber. Every year, the Animal Legal Dense Fund releases a report that gives rank to the animal protection laws of all 50 states, on the basis of their strength and completeness. The Fund’s 2010 report states that Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Oregon and California are the top five states in terms of strong anti-animal cruelty laws. Kentucky, Iowa, Idaho, North Dakota and Mississippi are the five states with the weakest animal cruelty laws. Following are some relevant legal cases and considerations across some of the states.
• New York and Massachusetts are the two states that appoint humane society agents and associations as special officers to enforce the animal cruelty laws.
• In 2004 Florida proposed a ban on bovine cruelty. It states a person who causes a cow to fall or lose its balance for the purpose of practice; sport or entertainment commits an offense. However, it did not become law.
• In the U.S., rodeo sports and tail docking are legal. At present, 46 out of 50 states have enacted penalties for some types for animal abuse. However, most of the jurisdictions consider animal cruelty as a malfeasance offense.
• Recently, a California felony conviction for cruelty to an animal resulted in a 25-year sentence.
• In 2003 California passed a decree that bans declawing of cats raised in homes. Norfolk, Virginia passed legislation that allows declawing procedure only for medical reason. However, many other jurisdictions allow the declawing procedure.
• in 2013 a federal court judge in Texas ruled that videos showing animal cruelty are protected. Despite numerous laws against animal cruelty, there are evidences that animals are abused. Animal cruelty should be considered as murder. To learn more about animal cruelty laws in the United States, visit http://www.straypetadvocacy.org/PDF/AnimalCrueltyLaws.pdf
Organizations Helping Prevent Animal Cruelty
|People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is one of the largest organizations in the world that fights for animal rights. There are more than 3 million members in this organization. PETA gives focused attention to four main areas, where large numbers of animals suffer for a long period of time, including clothing trade, labs, factory farms and the entertainment industry. PETA works on various other issues, like cruel killing of pests, beavers and birds and cruelty to domesticated animals.
PETA advocates for animal rights through awareness programs, cruelty investigations, animal rescue, protest campaigns, celebrity involvement and special events.
|Animal Abuse Prevention Agency
|The Animal Abuse Prevention Agency is very active in preventing and saving animals from physical and emotional abuse. The Agency educates the public on spay programs and encourages them to alter the animals for free or at low cost, and also helps pet owners by keeping animals when they are not able to themselves.||www.animalapa.org|
|3||The Humane Society
|The Humane Society is the largest and most effectual animal protection organization in the U.S., helping animals by advocating for better animal protection laws, conducting campaigns and offering animal rescue and disaster responses. The Society investigates animal cruelty cases and provides better care for animals through its wildlife rehabilitation centers, clinics and emergency shelters.||www.humanesociety.org|
|ASPCA was founded in the year 1866 with the aim to offer effectual means for the prevention of animal cruelty throughout the U.S. The organization works all over the nation to help animals escape cruelty and pass humane laws.||www.aspca.org