Sunday, April 29, 2012
Stopping Animal Cruelty in the Home
I found this poster last week, and I decided to write about it today. I've actually felt this way about family violence, and even just occasional shouting matches, for a long time. The animals are hurt when people hurt each other.
The most extreme kind of violence towards animals (beatings, whippings, etc.) might be the most obvious version of animal abuse. If you ever witness this happening, in your household or elsewhere, be sure to contact your local humane society or SPCA immediately! Animal cruelty can not be overlooked, even if a loved one is the perpetrator. Another reason to be concerned is that animal cruelty is linked to cruelty towards humans: for example, a psychologist in Denver reported that "over 70% of battered women he has studied said that their partners had abused, threatened to abuse, or had killed a pet." (As stated in Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog.) If you love both the animals and humans in your life, preventing violence towards animals is the only humane thing to do!
There are also the less obvious kinds of violence, however. Has your family gotten into a heated argument recently? Many families do. But I believe that this sort of selfish debate hurts the household animals. Many people compare animals to very young children with regards to mental functioning. I disagree with this point-of-view; I think that animals are much smarter than that (there is ample evidence that some animals are even smarter than many humans!). But either way, if you have a companion animal, next time you get into a loud argument with your parents/spouse/siblings/children/relatives (depending on your age and who you live with!), ask yourself whether you would feel comfortable having this argument in front of, for example, your neighbour and their family. Ask yourself if you would be very happy to find your other family members arguing loudly while you were trying to sleep in the next room, or worse, trapped in a cage in the midst of the fight! If you ever want to cool an argument, a great way to do it is to say, "Shh! You're bothering the dog."
No creature should be subjected to constant tension and rivalry, especially if they can't do anything about it and it isn't even their problem to begin with. Of course, fights between people should be avoided even if there is no animal present. Read How to Be Compassionate by the Dalai Lama if you don't believe me!
Here is another poster that sums up an important point:
All the name-calling doesn't help. If anyone you know has a habit of saying things to their pets like "dumb dog" of "shut UP!", get them to stop! Tell them that their behavior only hurts the animals. Everyone loses their temper sometimes and lets a few mean words fly, but doing it regularly is abusive.
Since animal abuse can start in childhood, it's good to take prevention measures for children and teenagers. If you are still in high school, see if you can arrange for the local humane society can speak at your school or the local elementary school. If you have kids of your own, you'd better start teaching them respect for animals if you haven't already! And no matter what, never agree to participate in animal cruelty, even if it's "just a game". Stand up to peer pressure, please!
That's all I have to say for now. Check back next Sunday for my next post!