Animal Abuse has been a large problem in the world for decades. From lab testing to animal “sports”, humans have subjected many species to painful and even deadly activities. To many people’s surprise, neglect is not the only type of abusive behavior exhibited by humans. There is actually a wide variety of animal abuse categories. In this article, the main focus will be on the most significant types of animal abuse in the U.S. That consists of lab testing and factory farms, violence and neglect, dog fighting, and euthanizing in shelters.
In America alone, approximately 1 million animals are used in labs annually; as far as farming goes, 99% of livestock grown for food such as chickens, cows, and pigs are in factory farms. All of these animals are put in horrible conditions for their entire lives. In both the factory farm industry and the cosmetic/pharmaceutical industry, animals lead very unhappy, unsafe lives. This is a diagram comparing the 2 industries and a few examples of what the animals in them go through:
Another major issue in the U.S. involving animal abuse is violence and neglect. This is a big category. According to research, about 90% of the animals involved in these reported cases were dogs and cats. Studies show that most animal abuse cases can be related to abuse of the tormentor’s child or spouse as well. One of the reasons why this type of abuse is still so common is because animals do not have a way to personally report the incidents that occur; often the abuse occurs within one’s home, where the public would not witness it. Improvements in the laws involving the mistreatment of animals are in action in many states. Hopefully in the next few years the numbers of cases will decrease and less animals will be living in miserable circumstances.
In 2008, dogfighting was officially banned in every state in the U.S. and it is now a felony if the fighters are caught. However, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people are still involved with this so called “sport”. The dogs who are used for this activity are kept isolated, on tiny, weighted chains. Narcotics and steroids are used on the fight dogs to improve their strength and aggression. The canines are put through violent and cruel conditions to motivate them. Brutal methods are also used to crop the ears of the dog and remove the majority of their tail. Both dogs in a fight will be injured, but the losing dog is generally killed or discarded. Bait dogs are also commonly used. They are often smaller, younger dogs and are used to begin the fight. These traumatic conditions that the dogs are put through affect them long term. When dogs are found who were previously used for dog fighting, they can be helped and rehabilitated to not expect abuse or remain violent. Many argue that dog fighting is one of the most barbaric types of deliberate animal cruelty.
About 6 and a half million dogs and cats are put into shelters annually. Of these 6.5 million animals, approximately 1.5 million are euthanized. This is, in fact, a significant decrease since 2014, where 2.7 million out of 7.6 million animals were killed in shelters. The majority of the animals who are put down in shelters are killed simply because nobody adopted them within their limited days. These animals are generally perfectly healthy, young, and friendly companions. This occurs because the number of animals being brought in and bred has exceeded the number of people who are willing to adopt them. Some organizations have a catch and release policy, where they neuter stray animals so they can’t reproduce, and then release them again so they aren’t awaiting their likely death in a shelter cage. There are many other methods used to try and control the amount of neglected or euthanized cats and dogs, each has its ups and downs. If they were all put into effect, and shelters refrained from euthanizing their animals, about 1.5 million of them would be spared every year.
Animal abuse remains a big issue in America, but every year we get a little closer to defeating the things that hurt so many species. The issues mentioned are definitely not the only ones that exist, although they are the most common ones in this country and the ones that need the most attention at the moment. You can use products not tested on animals, adopt or foster pets who are days away from being euthanized, and not eat meat raised on factory farms to help. If we keep going in this direction, we will eventually get rid of most of these methods that torture these mammals and they will no longer endure these kinds of merciless activities.
Story by Willow Schenk