Animals deserve better

(Photo by Heather Davidson)

Ever since starting, and admittedly finishing, at the Burlington Humane Society (BHS) as a volunteer, I have not been able to shake thoughts of animal cruelty out of my head. And what better to write about than things that won’t leave your subconscious no matter how hard you try.

Animal cruelty is defined as inflicting suffering, physical and mental pain, or death upon an animal; cruelty that goes beyond being strict when training them and can goes as far as withholding food or torturing the animal to the point of severe injury or death.

Animal cruelty comes in many different forms, such as dog fighting, animal testing, or simply not paying attention to the animal.

Working at the BHS gave me a lot of insight into  animal cruelty, and while I was already firmly against it, the experiences that I had there only helped to fuel the fire.

In my first few weeks of working there, a very old cat was brought to the humane society by its owner, claiming they were moving so they could not keep the cat. Within days, we found out from the vet that the cat was cancer ridden; you can imagine the first thing that came to mind upon this discovery.  We ended up finding a comfortable foster home for the cat to live in during the final stages of her life, but it was still incredibly heart wrenching to see her sitting by the window during her roaming time, wondering if her people would come back.  Not even a month after that, some kittens were brought to the shelter that were malnourished and sick. One kitten wouldn’t even let us help him, and we had to make the unfortunate decision to put him to sleep.

One of the cats that I adopted from the shelter, who is now happy and healthy, was rescued from a home where she was one of 19 cats, all of whom were found to be starving and not properly looked after.

Domestic animal abuse isn’t the only form of cruelty we find in today’s society. Perhaps the most well-known case of animal cruelty is testing products on animals. Makeup, shampoo, hair spray – anything is tested on animals to make sure it is safe for humans to use.

Big companies force these poor creatures into small little cages to test things for our benefit. They don’t care about the conditions these animals live in or how the products affect their health so long as they can meet the expectations of the company executives

Animal cruelty also happens in your local pet store. A few years ago, I did a speech about animal cruelty for English class, and while I was doing research I found some pictures of what happens to the sick, small pets at PetSmart.             What I found was shocking: pictures of the small animals from PetSmart that had stomach lumps, visible growths in their chest cavities, and random bleeding. These small, innocent little animals are being treated as if they’re disposable and that is wrong. Animals, no matter the size, are not disposable.

But the worst case of animal cruelty? Shelters that kill animals that come into their care. Thankfully, the shelter that I work at is a no-kill animal shelter. But there are many out there that do kill the animals, even if they are not sick beyond a cure, or injured beyond recovery.

There are some shelters that only keep the animals for a year before they send them on that last, lonely walk to the killing room. These animals have had a hard enough life as it is, and now they are being killed because they wandered away from or were kicked out of their homes?

Animals deserve better than that. Every animal, no matter their size, shape, or level of cuteness, deserves respect and kindness. No animal deserves to be tossed into the streets, forced to be alone and to compete with wild animals for food. No animal deserves to be tested on and not given a choice.

No animal deserves to get sick because they are housed in unfavourable conditions. Yes, I realize that sometimes we can’t help it if an animals has to die because it’s sick or suffering too much. But that doesn’t mean an animal has to be killed because a human decides they aren’t worth saving.

The main problem revolves around human action. It’s the owners who don’t give the animals enough attention, the companies who would rather test their harmful products on animals than on synthetic skin and the pet stores who simply don’t care what happens to the animal as long as they make money.

It’s people who are the monsters, not the animals.

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