Every year, millions of animals are mistreated, experimented on, and abused. ASPCA defines animal cruelty as, “Acts of violence or neglect perpetrated against animals” (What Constitutes Animal Cruelty?). Animal cruelty also applies to an animals living conditions, and this applies to whether they are a pet or if they are used for food purposes. There are many laws about animal cruelty, but most have loopholes or, do not actually give the animal any rights. While some people think animal exploitation is necessary for testing and food sources, the animals are pointlessly being harmed or mistreated, so there should be more regulations to protect them.
Firstly, many animals are experimented on every year with fields of research varying from medical drugs, or addictive drugs; all the way to injury studies. Most of these experiments are unnecessary and most of the time they do not prove anything. One instance of unnecessary animal testing is “In head-wound experiments, researchers shoot bullets into the heads of cats” (Levine 26). While the cat is already dead for the experiment the scientist had to euthanize a cat solely for the purpose of shooting it and then examining the wound to see the effects. Also, this experiment was legally approved and government funded, this means that tax payers’ money is going to research the effects of a gun-shot wound. To study the effects of addictive drugs, “experimenters apply varying doses of addictive drugs, such as crack cocaine, into the bodies of monkeys until the mental ability of the animal is destroyed” (Levine 26). Experiments like this are completely unnecessary and cruel, there need to be regulations against companies that do this and even more strict regulations on government funded research. Also, studies like this can be completely incorrect with their findings because different organisms react differently to certain chemicals. For example, “Acetaminophen relives pain and fever in humans, but it kills cats” (Levine 28). Because of the fact that most animals do not respond to chemicals the way that humans would respond, using an animal to test human related drugs is flat-out pointless and cruel. While many animals are experimented on for unnecessary purposes, even more animals are used for food purposes.
Some of the most mistreated animals of all are chickens, to be more specific, hens. In fact, in hen houses all across America, “hens spend their short lives (usually less than two years) confined in battery cages… 61-square-inchs” (“Farm Animal Welfare: Chickens”). To give you a perspective on that, “one worker can care for as many as 100,000 laying hens” (Cohen 24). The hens simply sit in a small cage all day just laying eggs with no space to even turn. After not moving for that long, usually “their toenails grow around the wire on the bottom of the cage” (Cohen 29). Once this happens the hen is completely stuck to that spot until she no longer lays eggs fast enough to keep up with the demand, then she will be killed and sold at a supermarket. Now you’re probably wondering where the male chickens are. Well, male chicks are not needed by the egg industry and are usually killed shortly after hatching, “Male chicks… are typically ground up alive, gassed, or thrown into dumpsters. Hundreds of millions of male chicks are killed annually by the egg industry” (“Farm Animal Welfare: Chickens”). Because there is no cost-efficient way to determine the gender of the chick before it hatches, they must let all the eggs in the incubator hatch and then take the hen to be given steroids so that they can grow at an accelerated rate and kill all the males. These hen houses are some of the cruelest organizations in the world, although even the animal activists organizations might not be what you think.
There are many different organizations involved with stopping animal cruelty, but what you might not know is their terrible percentages. From a study done in 2015, PETA, “euthanized more than 80 percent of the animals in its care” (Markoe). That is a crazy high percentage for an organization that claim to be animal activists. According to PETA’s own records they “took 3,017 animals… of those PETA euthanized 2,455 or 81 percent” (Markoe). This means that
while they claim to be animal activists, they in fact kill most of the animals that end up in their care instead of helping them and then trying to find new homes for them to live at. To show just how bad their percentages are, “In Virgina animal shelters… less than a quarter were euthanized” (Markoe). This comparison shows how much organizations can get away with while still calling themselves animal activists. And not only did Virgina have a lower percentage of euthanized animals they also had, “210,599 animals wound up in Virgina animal shelters” (Markoe). So even though they had way more animals to care for they still had a euthanasian rate almost four times lower than that of PETA. Not only that but PETA gets a lot of money every year from charitable donations, when the money actually goes to euthanizing animals. In order to stop these corrupt organizations from doing what they want something must first change within the law.
The main reason animal cruelty is still such a big problem is because of how the laws are set up. For example, “Animals are considered property under law, which limits their protection” (“Animals’ Legal Status”). Because they are technically property their rights are very restricted in a court case. While “There are felony provisions in all 50 states and the district of Columbia for intentionally killing a dog or cat” (“Animals’ Legal Status”), the laws are much less specific on cruelty towards animals, and what is considered cruelty, or even actions of cruelty on animals beside a cat or a dog. Animal Legal Defensive Fund asks, “What happens if a dog is beaten to death, but the prosecutors elect not to bring charges? Can the dog file a suit on its… on behalf? Is there anyone else who is able to pursue justice under the criminal law system?” (“Animals’ Legal Status”). By this they are saying that there is not really a way to ensure the person gets prosecuted for their actions. While these laws are poorly set up, there is much more room for improvements.
In recent years, a few changes have been made to these laws. While animals are still considered property by law, in court cases, “Animals are being recognized as ‘legal victims’, If a person harms several animals it is several charges” (Animals’ legal status”). This is a drastic change for animal abusers because there is now a more likely chance they will have a more severe sentence for their crimes. In order to restrict the actions of organizations, “Virgina lawmakers passed a bill… to define private animal shelter as a place where the primary mission is to find permanent homes for animals” (Markoe). While this doesn’t exactly restrict organizations from doing anything that they were previously doing, it is a step in the right direction.
While many people believe that exploiting animals is necessary for testing and food sources, the animals are pointlessly being harmed. To fix this, there needs to be more regulations to protect them from private organizations as well as government regulated facilities. The experimentations are cruel and they normally prove nothing. Animals used for food sources, such as chickens, have horrible living conditions with no space to move. Many organizations that claim to be animal activist, actually have way higher percentages of animals euthanized. Lastly, while some laws are being changed in certain states, most states still don’t give animals the rights they deserve. Animals are creatures that can feel emotions and, they can feel pain the same way that humans feel pain, yet many people still believe that it is okay to hurt certain animals and that there should not be any consequences.
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