It’s not the first time I’ve pondered and written on this subject. However, recent events here in the Buffalo area have resurrected the conversation on animal cruelty. Two separate cases of cruelty to domesticated pets (one puppy and one kitten) and the subsequent movement to pass more stringent punishments for such offenders have been all over local media (see story links below). Interviews with law enforcement officials and animal welfare experts express the contention that the purposeful injury of an animal indicates mental health issues that can lead to criminal behavior extending to humans. No argument here.
But WHY are these same considerations not extended to wild animals? We legally allow painful and cruel trapping every single day. Where is the scientific evidence that wild animals feel any less pain or psychological trauma than domesticated animals?
And WHY are animals raised for food (although protected better than wild animals) subject to treatment not allowed to pets? People get arrested for housing too many dogs and cats. Why can we crowd domestic farm animals in horribly small and filthy spaces? What scientific evidence exists that animals raised for food feel less discomfort than a dog or a cat?
Yes, I am ranting because the capacity for humans to disregard groups of beings and categorize them as requiring less respect is an obscenely ignorant behavior.
What the puppy Phoenix experienced was horrible and the death of the kicked kitten, appalling. Yet the treatment that is associated with the photos and video below of wild and farm animals is LEGAL (and in some states a constitutional right). WHY, WHY, WHY?
Shouldn’t the mental health concerns associated with the purposeful injury of a companion animal extend to all animals? If not, cite the scientific evidence that the psychological demeanor of a person who painfully traps a fox, clubs a seal or electrically shocks a pig is different than an individual who would be arrested for applying the same treatment to a pet. I’ll wait…
PLEASE NOTE – these stories and images may be disturbing to sensitive individuals.
Treatment of Battery Caged Chickens: