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My Junior Research Paper on animal Cruelty

     “They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”(Jefferson). Americans are guaranteed these rights; shouldn’t animals be guaranteed the same rights?  Animals make headlines daily; some headlines are positive, but most headlines end up being about animal cruelty. Whether someone throws a cat in the air as a prank, a hoarder with sick and dying animals, or a family leaves their dog chained up outside without food or water, it is all animal cruelty. Even though animal abuse is widespread due to human ignorance, entertainment, and money, animal welfare organizations help and support animals worldwide.

     Animal cruelty is "any act of violence or neglect that inflicts suffering or death on an animal" (Animal Cruelty). Another way to define animal cruelty is the inhumane treatment of animals. There are two types of animal cruelty, active and passive. "Active cruelty is an intentional act aimed at inflicting injury or death…resulting in fines or jail time" (Animal Cruelty). Animals in aggressive or violent situations must endure torture, beating, poisoning, a lack of clean water, and fighting. In contrast, passive cruelty is neglect. Neglect is failing to act in ways that preserve an animal's comfort, health, and happiness. Animals in passive or neglectful situations have to deal with humans failing to provide access to food, adequate shelter from harmful elements, and medical care. The act of passive cruelty is illegal under animal cruelty laws, but in some instances, the convicted can claim ignorance rather than be convicted of criminal neglect. 

     Animal cruelty is found not only in the United States but worldwide. "Between 5,000 and 6,000 tigers in China currently live in captivity because of the traditional medicine industry… The [United Kingdom]’s [Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals]RSPCA gets a call about animal abuse every 30 seconds…One-third of parrot species are in danger of being extinct because of the exotic bird trade…Every year, more than 115 million animals in the world are used for laboratory experiments…Denmark slaughtered 15–17 million animals for mink fur that tested positive for Covid-19…About 97% of all tortured and killed animals are farm animals…One statistic on animal abuse reports that over 9 billion chickens are killed every year…An estimated 95% of pigs get raised in factory farms that don’t allow them to live naturally…Around 50% of all consumed fish are raised in artificial environments…Dairy cows must give 10 times more milk than they would in nature…The majority of the sloths used for entertainment and tourism die within 6 months of their capture" (Hrubenja).

    Just like with people, when animals are abused, they are physically and mentally impacted. The impact could be short-term or long-term.  Short-term effects consist mainly of physical pain caused by animal abusers. An example would be someone who can no longer care for the dog and drops it off on the side of the road. A few days later, someone walks outside, sees the dog starving, and decides to put food out for it. The dog will gain weight and look healthier. Besides short-term effects, long-term animal abuse can be both mental and physical. Animal abuse can cause long-term physical pain. For example, two dogs are fighting. One of the dogs bites the other dog's leg hard enough that its teeth pierce through the muscle. As a result, the dog owner cannot treat the wound properly because he lost the fight, so the leg does not heal properly. The dog now limps permanently.  The people involved with animal fighting “may be subject to animal cruelty laws, which vary by state and country. In addition to threatening animals' own health, animal fighting is often associated with other criminal activities and exposes animals to other forms of abuse, such as torture, beating, and even death" (Animal Cruelty). The long-term mental effect of an animal being abused is aggression or fear. The mental pain could be an abused horse who has only known cruel people; therefore, once the horse reaches a rescue facility, it will not trust anyone and may even strike out. It may take the horse months or years to trust humans again. Some horses may never regain their trust and allow people to touch it without fear. 

    Animals need and want to be cared for. When a family or person can no longer care for an animal, it could be due to ignorance or lack of money. Ignorance is not only caused by not knowing how to take care of an animal; it can also be due to an owner not being able to provide continuous care for the animal.  For example,  a family is attached to an animal and can no longer provide for it because they were ignorant and did not financially prepare for the animal's future. As a result, the family will keep the animal without giving the animal proper care. 

    Besides ignorance and lack of money, an owner with mental health issues could also abuse their animals. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), animal cruelty in childhood or adolescence is related to a disorder or "behavioral and emotional problems that make it difficult for an individual to behave in socially acceptable ways" (Animal Cruelty). It is not just children or adolescents that abuse animals due to mental health issues; adults can also. Various types of mental health issues lead a person to abuse their animals. One reason could be that the person has a lack of empathy and remorse.  A person that lacks empathy and remorse is not sensitive to the animal’s suffering. They also “do not regret their actions or criticize themselves” (Psychological). Another mental health issue is the person has an antisocial personality.  A person with an antisocial personality “ignores the rights of others in favor of their own” (Psychological). Besides a lack of empathy and an antisocial personality, the person could lack adequate education, be stimulated by violence, have an autocratic personality, be intolerant, or be selfish. A person who lacks adequate education is a child who was abused in childhood and sees abuse as a norm. A person stimulated by violence is more prone to violence because they are amused by it or see it as not punishable. A person with an autocratic personality wants “to demonstrate power and authority and act against weaker victims” (Psychological).  A person who is intolerant does “not respect the rules, but also the opinions, attitudes, or beliefs of others” (Psychological). Finally, a person that is selfish thinks only of themselves and does not connect emotionally with people or animals. 

    The United States government is pushing towards more regulations regarding the animal industry. In 1966 the Animal Welfare Act became law. This law requires the regulation of "the treatment of animals and research, during exhibition, during transport, and by dealers" (Gale In Context Online Collection). In 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT Act). Even though states before 2022 had animal cruelty laws, Rachael Bale states, "PACT fills some gaps, covering crimes on federal property or perpetrators who travel across state lines" (Gale In Context Online Collection).  In December of 2022, President Joe Biden signed three different bills: "a ban on the tiger cub petting and breeding industry, a prohibition on the buying and selling of shark fins, and the [Food and Drug Administration] Modernization Act 2.0, which lifts requirements to use animal testing in pharmaceutical development, among other things" (Maron). President Joe Biden's laws could only have been passed unanimously with the public's opinion in favor of the bills. Along with federal regulations, each state has passed laws to prevent animal cruelty. For example, in January 2023, California banned the production and selling of new furs. Now other towns outside of California are also adopting the ban. 

    Laws and organizations are not limited to the United States. One worldwide organization is the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH). Because there is a wide range of animal religions in the world, the WOAH only has regulations. WOHA must involve broad engagement of all stakeholders, must ensure a holistic view of the systems within which animals are kept and used by humans, and must aim to have a tangible impact on animal welfare. ("Animal Welfare - WOAH"). 

    Along with organizations, global bans vary among countries because some countries have differing opinions on what is considered animal abuse. Some such prohibitions include cosmic testing, dog fighting, and animal use in circuses. Cosmetic testing exists in North America, Africa, Asia, and South America. Europe has a ban on cosmic testing, and Australia has a ban on selling cosmetics tested on animals. As for dog fighting laws, North America, South America, Australia, and Europe strongly oppose the practice of dog fighting. There are some substantial bans in Russia and Japan, but in China and Turkmenistan, dog fighting is legal. Regarding circuses, North America, South America, Europe, and Australia ban animal use. In contrast, Africa and Asia have no prohibitions on animal use in circuses. 

    Besides the laws and organizations, every day, people stop animal cruelty around the world. Everyone ought to be involved in resolving animal cruelty because, without public support, abusers will win. The ideas used when stopping animal cruelty are similar to those of the Great Awakenings in the United States. To change something, one must initiate the change themselves, not wait for someone else to do it for them. Unlike politics, the Great Awakenings targeted people's hearts. In the same way today, people must get involved to spread the idea that change is needed. People must also establish and continue organizations already created to help both animals and citizens. An effective way to win the battle against animal abusers is to donate either time or money to help. It can be as little as a dollar or an hour volunteering at a local shelter. Besides donating, education is a strong solution. It can be as simple as educating a child on the issue of animal cruelty or as extensive as creating an organization to support abused animals and inform others of the reality of animal cruelty and how to help the animals.  Animal cruelty can't be stopped if it is not reported. After all,  animal cruelty enforcers need time and money to help protect the animals. The result is, an animal is helped every time someone acts.

    Abused animals are "treated with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly" ( This does not only occur in the United States but worldwide. Animal cruelty is not an issue of the past; It is an issue of today. Every year 7.6 billion animals are abused worldwide. There is no reason any animal should be abused, especially the animals that aim to please. One should not hear stories such as the horse that "… stands in a pen of mud and manure. His mane is long and tangled, and his feet haven't been trimmed in over a year. Although he's hungry, his kind expression and gentle face greet me hopefully when I approach the fence along with the humane officers who’s been called out by a worried passerby. He was once a champion. Now he's starving and has no home"(Horse&Rider).

 In an abusive situation, animals need a voice, and that voice needs to be given to them by you. Anything a person can donate or provide education can save an animal from further abuse.

    The Declaration of Independence was created because the Americans weren’t happy with how the British government treated them. That is why in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson added that the people had a right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”(Jefferson). Shouldn’t animals be guaranteed these same rights?

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