What is animal abuse and why does it happen? Animal abuse is the suffering of or harm to any non-human. Animal abuse happens when humans discipline animals or mistreat them rather than trying to properly care for them. While most people know about animal abuse, many do not nor do they realize all the types of abuse and that people can play a role in stopping animal abuse.
Most people would not support animal abuse. Animal abuse affects all types of people, and we might not even know if we are abusing our animals. Having more than one animal in a house can be considered as animal abuse. Humans cannot attend to many animals in their houses because one animal could feel neglected or one is not getting feed enough. Studies have shown that “Animal hoarding is a complex and intricate issue with far-reaching effects that encompass mental health, animal welfare and public safety concerns” (“A Closer”). If a person cannot tell how many animals they have in their household than it is a sign that they have too many animals. A person having many animals living in their house makes it difficult for them to give the right amount of care and attention to his/her animals.
Animal abuse happens because of many things such as discipline; there is a fine line between animal abuse and discipline, and people often cross it when disciplining their animals. Leaving an animal out in the cold can be animal abuse. It is said that animals with fur are resistant to the cold, but studies have shown this to be untrue “It is a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to chilly weather because of their fur, but its untrue” (“avma.org”). Animals need to be kept in during the wintry weather, regardless of whether they have fur or not. Studies have shown that animals can get frostbite and other harmful conditions from staying out in the cold “Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside” (“avma.org”).
The most common victims of animal abuse are dogs, cats, and horses. Dogs are the most common. Humans do not see the line between discipline and abuse, most dog abuse falls into the category of discipline. Cats are the second most common animal abused; Most cat abuse falls into the category of neglect. Not feeding cats enough food regularly or giving them the proper medical care they need is neglect. Another common animal that is abused is a horse. Horses get slaughtered to make glue. Horses are shipped for longer than 24 hours to be slaughtered. The effect of this is that horses get seriously injured or die on the way. All these animals have something in common, which is the little effort in care they receive from humans. These animals are abused in different ways but are all affected in the same way.
Do we ever think about the food that we eat and how it gets to us? Killing animals for food is abuse simply because of the process they go through. Animals are no longer treated as if they have feelings or if they are alive. Most factories are heartless and do not allow animals to act or live as themselves. For example, pigs’ tails are cut off to prevent other pigs from biting them because of how tightly packed they are kept. Chickens are de-beaked to keep them from injuring each other. E.K. Silbergeld, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, sums up the idea of how animals are treated in factories: “CAFOs are comparable to poorly run hospitals, where everyone gets antibiotics, patients lie in unchanged beds, hygiene is nonexistent, infections and re-infections are rife, waste is thrown out the window, and visitors enter and leave at will” (“factory farms”)
People may not realize it, but animals are similar to humans because they can feel pain and do have emotions. Animals develop emotions through things they experience just as humans do. Animals grieve over a loved one, and experience happiness when they play together. The question of if animals have emotions or can feel pain is an often-asked question. By looking at an animal’s face, tail, or sense they give off one could tell how they are feeling.
Animal abuse mostly happen is these five states, Idaho, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Dakota. They do not consider cruelty, neglect, or abandonment a felony. “In 2009, a man from Mississippi tied his dog to a tree, set it on fire and let it burn to death, it was considered only a misdemeanor. He was fined $1000 and given a six-month sentence” (“Thornton, Kim Campbell”) Kentucky veterinarians are not allowed to report abuse of animals that they have seen, but the good news is that many states are trying to offer better protection for animals, including mandates for mental health evaluations, counseling or restrictions on animal ownership for people who are convicted of animal cruelty.
In the U.S., someone caught abusing an animal, his/her are convicted as a felony, and the person convicted of it must undergo a psychological evaluation and counseling, in addition to paying a fine or serving a prison sentence. Many people who see animal abuse are not aware that they can take legal action against them. Thirty-three of the states convict a person of a felony for animal abuse while the rest of the states treat animal abuse as a misdemeanor. Animal abuse should be reported if there is legal action that can be taken out against the person. House hoarding is animals abuse and studies have shown that it is difficult to take legal action against someone who is house hoarding animals According to ASPCA “Criminal prosecution of animal hoarding can be a difficult process and may not be the most effective route. Such cases are difficult to successfully prosecute and, once litigation ends, the hoarder is likely to resume collecting an excessive number of animals unless closely monitored” (“A Closer”)
How can we take a part in preventing animal abuse? Reporting animal abuse when we see it is one way to help with it. “Abuse may require removal of the animal from the home. Either way, your call will guarantee a better life for the pet. The ACOs will keep your name confidential” (“Rosenthal, Cathy M “). Another way is to teach our kids at a young age the way to care and handle animals. “Children learn how to treat animals from the adults in their lives. Be a role model and show kindness and respect to animals and the children in your life will do the same. There is a reason for promoting kindness: children who are cruel to animals often grow up to be cruel to people as well. Nip animal cruelty in the bud early on. Teach children compassion” (“Rosenthal, Cathy M”). There are little ways that we can help prevent animal abuse; for example, volunteering to help animals. “One of the best ways to help animals in San Antonio right now is to become a foster family. Foster families provide temporary homes for pets that are abused, injured or sick and who need some time to recover. Your short-term and loving care could be just what a pet needs before adoption into a forever home” (“Rosenthal, Cathy M”)
Humans might not be able to prevent animal abuse 100%, but they can help start the process. There are still many types of animal abuse that we are not aware of, but we can do simple things to help prevent it. Right now, animal abuse is a big issue, but if we start to help out with animals it could get better for these adorable creatures.