When Richard Acton was young he had a neighbor. The neighbor was on the small side. It always seemed as if he was getting bullied. He was so shy, he always stayed in his house. He was seldom seen in the yard playing or anything. And if he appeared in the yard, he would not stay out long. One day Richard asked his parents about him, and what they thought. They told Richard to sit down that they needed to explain something to him. They said “there are people out there in our world that do things to others just to hurt them. They do it because they are sick or maybe enjoy it. Some just do it because that is all they know. People will really never fully understand why it happens, but it does.” The situation is termed abuse. The definition of abuse is “to use ill; to maltreat; to misuse; to use with bad motives or to wrong purposes; as, to abuse rights or privileges” (Webster, N/A).
The fact is this occurs all around the world. “Animal cruelty or abuse can be either deliberate abuse or simply the failure to take care of an animal. Either way, and whether the animal is a pet, a farm animal, or wildlife, the victim can suffer terribly” (Humane Society of The United States, 2011). Animal abuse is a growing problem in today’s society, and it needs to be stopped. As humankind has progressed, there has been an increase in governance and rules and regulations of everyday life. These rules and regulations are implemented as a result of various situation that occur around the world. One such rapidly growing concern is the concept of animal cruelty. Animal abuse is cruel unwarranted treatment of animals. Such treatment has one focus to subject animals and sometimes pets to unnecessary harm and pain.
The increasing number of cruelty cases reported daily in the media is only the beginning of reported animal abuse. Most cases are never reported, and most animal suffering goes unrecognized and unabated. Although there is no national reporting system for animal abuse, media reports suggest that it is common in rural and urban areas. Cruelty and neglect can also cross socio-economic boundaries. While many people would like to think animal cruelty no longer exist, what people fail to realize is that it is still happening all over the world today. The treatment of animals is completely unethical. Ethics is defined as, “A system of moral principles; a system of rules for regulating the actions and manners of men in society” (ethics. 2014. In Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. , n.d.).
We live in a world governed by ethics and the concept or right and wrong. This is why animal cruelty in today society is so unreal. The fact animals are still regarded as a product rather than living breathing creatures is morally wrong. Unfortunately our morals don’t extend to animals. Although many people claim that they are against animal cruelty they still see animals as forms of entertainment, clothing, and experiments which is complete unethical. Animals are not ours to use. Some may argue that because animals do not think and act like a human being, that they should not be treated like them; therefore, animals should not have rights, or be treated as fairly as a human. “The concept of rights to animals on the grounds that they have similar physiological and mental capacities as infants or disabled human beings” (Wilson, N/A). They are wrong because animals are living, breathing creatures that were placed on Earth for a reason, the same as humans.
Does an innocent animal feel the need to abuse, beat, and kill a human being because the human is not an animal, like itself? No. Therefore, it should not be okay for any human to beat and kill an animal because the animal is not human. So in an ideal world, animal cruelty would not exist. But, this is not an ideal world, and animals, domesticated and wild, are abused and beaten every single day. Should animals have rights? Yes, they should. All animals have nervous systems; they can feel, both physically and emotionally, therefore, it should be illegal to abuse any animal, not just domesticated ones. Every day in the United States animals are beaten, neglected, or forced to struggle for survival. Left in unsanitary conditions with no food or water, they have little hope as they live out their days without the compassion they deserve.
“It’s even more so when we realize that the everyday choices we make—such as what we eat for lunch and the kind of shampoo we buy—may be directly supporting some of this abuse” (People for the treatment of animals, N/A). Some are found and rescued, given the chance to experience how great life and humans can be; others are not so lucky. To grow as a nation, we must fight for these abused animals’ rights and severely punish heartless owners. It is up to us to speak for these creatures who lack a voice, for who will if we don’t? One of the first steps in protecting animals and creating effective cruelty laws is knowing what animal cruelty actually is. There are two categories: passive cruelty and active cruelty. First involves acts of omission, meaning the abuse happens as a result of neglect or lack of action. Passive cruelty might seem less serious, but that is not the case; it can lead to terrible pain and suffering, and ultimately death.
Examples include starvation, dehydration, and untreated parasite infestations, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions, and the failure to get medical care. Passive cruelty is sometimes due to the owner’s ignorance, so many animal control officers will first try to educate neglectful owners on how to properly care for animals before giving them a citation or placing them under arrest. Active cruelty, on the other hand, is more well-known and disturbing. Sometimes referred to as non-accidental injury, this type of abuse involves purposefully inflicting harm on an animal in order to feel more powerful or gain control. Active cruelty against animals should be taken very seriously, since it can be a sign that a person has serious psychological issues and may commit more acts of violence – possibly against humans.
It’s not only up to the legal system to ensure that communities across the country are aware and educated about animal cruelty. There are plenty of things everyday citizens can do. The simplest action is for people to take care of their own pets and learn the facts so they can educate others on proper animal care. Another easy way to help is by donating to or volunteering at a local animal shelter. Contrary to popular belief, volunteering doesn’t require a lot of time; simply going in a few hours a week helps. Finally, by writing letters you can remind your local lawmakers that animal abuse is a real problem that needs to be addressed.
“In media-reported animal cruelty cases, dogs–and pit bull-type dogs, in particular are the most common victims of animal cruelty. Of 1,880 cruelty cases reported in the media, 64 percent involved dogs, 18 percent involved cats and 25 percent involved other animals” (Humane Society of The United States, 2011). “More American households have pets than children. More money is spent on pet food than on baby food. There are more dogs in the U.S. than people in most countries in Europe-and more cats and dogs. A child growing up in the U.S. is more likely to have a pet than a live in father” (American Humane Association para 2,3, 2013). Know who to call to report animal abuse.
If unsure who to contact. Contact your local police department at 618-826-5000 or call 911 if it is an emergency. Get to know and look out for the animals in your neighborhood. Start a Neighborhood Watch Program. Fight for strong anti-cruelty laws on federal, state and the local level. Set a good example for others to follow. Talk to your kids about how to treat animals with kindness and respect. And what is believed to be the most important, support your local shelter or animal rescue organization. It is a wonderful way to make a difference.
Funding is an important issue when it comes to animal abuse. Most agencies that handle the calls for animal abuse are very understaffed. They also rely on support from others. Some agencies rely on grants to fund their operation to help rescue abused animal. Grants can be obtained from agencies such as the Animal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The ASPCA Anti-Cruelty grant program supports private organizations and public agencies dedicated to the prevention and elimination of animal cruelty throughout the United States. Every state in the United States and the District of Columbia has a law prohibiting cruelty to animals. These laws do not give animals rights, but do afford some legal protection. The purposes of these laws is to deter violence by humans in any form as well as to protect animals from mistreatment and cruelty by imposing a penalty for those acts.
Most of these laws fall under the purpose of morality, meaning the purpose is not to protect the animals, but to keep people on the straight and narrow. Whatever the reason, many more states are recognizing that animal cruelty, neglect and abuse are serious issues. There are now 41 states plus the District of Columbia with felony provisions for animal cruelty 32 plus DC with “Felony” specifically stated in the statute, 8 with felony punishments attached, but the status of the crime is not specifically defined. Animal abuse comes in all forms, from physical abuse to simple neglect. Both intentional/malicious abuse and neglect or passive abuse may be tough to spot as laws defining what constitutes animal abuse can be vague and differ from municipality to municipality. Before reporting abuse, one must evaluate the entire situation to determine whether or not abuse is actually occurring. Make sure all the facts are in order.
One of the best solution in order to stop the awful trend is to teach a child while they are still young on how to treat an animals. Keeping in mind that they are the future, teaching a young child can help reduce the problem. Many agree on the educational value that owning a pet could have on a child. People aren’t always able to relate to animal, as humans, were not born with the ability to know how to treat animals. A recent statistic shows that kids who partake in animal abuse, may, as they get older abuse others and their belongings. This is not necessary saying that your child is the next serial killer or murderer but helping them understand early on the rights and wrongs when having contact with an animal could help. Showing children what a happy pet looks like, so they care more for their pet’s emotions.
Parents often don’t take the time to teach the child rights and wrongs when caring for an animal. They need to make sure they set limitations when a child and pet are left alone. Teach your child early on and they will be able to help stop animal abuse. Another great solution is, educating ourselves on proper pet care, we also educate others by sharing the knowledge. In most situations, people have the right idea in mind when it comes to pets, but they are not always well educated in proper pet care, and sometimes don’t notice the risk they put their animals in. Pet education is key. If planning on stopping animal abuse it is needed to identify early what is the cause of the abuse and also help the abusers. “Studies show that males are 94% more likely to commit the abuse towards animals. Minors, under the age of 18, were 31% likely to abuse animals. Also, animal abuse is 21% more likely in families that involve family violence” (Andrea, 1999).
Every living thing has a heart and feelings, God put animals on earth for us to enjoy, not to abuse. We all need someone to love and to care for. Why not a pet? With a pet, the key is to educate our young on how to treat them. With this education it can be passed on where one day animal abuse will be stopped.
American Humane Association para 2,3. (2013). Retrieved from American Humane Association: http://www.americanhumane.org/interaction/support-the-bond/fact-sheets/animal-abuse-domestic-violence.html Andrea, L. (1999, Feburay). We Speak For Them para5. Retrieved from http://animalabuseitneedstostop.weebly.com/index.html ethics. 2014. In Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. . (n.d.). Retrieved from ethics. 2014. In Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. : ethics. 2014. In Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. Humane Society of The United States. (2011). Retrieved from Humane Society of The United States para 4: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/abuse_neglect/facts/animal_cruelty_facts_statistics.html People for the treatment of animals. (N/A, Para 2). Retrieved from PETA: http://www.peta.org/issues/ Webster. (N/A). abuse,1828 Webster Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.1828.mshaffer.com/ Wilson, S. (N/A). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from IEP para 4: http://www.iep.utm.edu/anim-eth/