Animal – what comes to your mind when you hear this word? Perhaps something furry, something feathery, something slimy, something with a beak or lots of sharp teeth, - right? I am sure this what comes to almost everyone’s mind when they think “Animal”.
However, do you think of life, a beating heart, and receptiveness to stimulants, feelings, and a struggle for survival amidst tremendous odds? Take a minute to stop and think of this; after all, animals aren’t the cuddly stuffed toys that you see in department stores.
They are living, breathing creatures, given a life just as we humans have. They too have to live, eat, survive, and live their lives. But there is a huge difference between the way animals live and the way humans live. Animals have to struggle for survival; they have to fight for their lives. They do not people to help take care of their babies for them, to cook for them, no family members for guidance and help – the things that humans tend to take for granted. No. Animals are solely on their own from the minute they take their first breath to the minute they take their last. They have to eat for survival, defend themselves with nothing except themselves, build their own homes, take care of and protect their young. To them life is an extremely tough existence, and they have to make do with whatever they have and cannot demand for anything more. Sounds kind of harsh, doesn’t it? Yes, that’s an animal’s life! The world today is becoming less aware of the pain and suffering being inflicted on animals.
As a result, animals are becoming even more and more downtrodden in society. Humans have, and continue to, treat animals as if they are property, as if we can own and therefore control their lives and what happens to them. This is immoral, animals are here for themselves, animals have their own lives, and they think, have feelings, feel pain, require love (from their own species), feel emotional hurt, have families, and everything else that humans do. To just simply say that non-human animals should have no rights because they’re “defective” is a mindless statement! People come to this “conclusion” because they come up with some mindless babble like, non-human animals can’t talk, drive cars or vote, and therefore they have no non-tradable properties. Well answer me this; do non-human animals have the right to exist in their natural environment and express behavior that matter to them? We withhold non-human animals the very basic rights, simply because they don’t resemble humans.
Since they have it so harsh, why do we humans take pleasure from inflicting pain on them, from killing them? They have no defense; they do not have guns and rifles, they do not make traps and snares, nor can they retaliate. Hunting, poaching and shooting for pleasure, or “sport”, is both sadistic and extremely cruel. Sadistic because, you kill something that cannot defend itself in any way, something who can run only so far away from you before you catch it. Poaching an animal because of its beautiful ivory tusks or its strong horn is very unfair and signifies greed. Humans can get anything they want, they can buy anything they want in a store, but these beautiful assets of tusks and horns are God-given, and they are the elephants’ and the rhinos’ to keep, they are a part of their body. The same goes for snake and crocodile hides; they are the reptiles’ skins! If only poachers could stop to think and imagine themselves being shot down by a huge crocodile or an elephant, and then be stripped of parts of their bodies, they could be a little more compassionate.
No doubt, some animals have not been fairly treated by humans over the years. E.g.: Wolves, bears, snakes… People loathe and despise these poor creatures, children are taught to hate them and kill them on sight if they ever do run into one…. Why? Please, lets ask ourselves, why?? What is so terrible about them? To the wolf-haters: Has there ever, ever, even once been a case of a wolf attacking and devouring a human? No? I thought not. Wolves are apparently “scary” because they howl at the moon at midnight. So? Don’t humans sing their lungs out, daytime or midnight? Wolves are also “scary” because of their teeth; but those long, jagged canines are for eating. Wolves are carnivores, they eat meat, hence the teeth. What do we expect them to eat, coffee with chocolate chip cookies???
Please leave wolves alone; they are beautiful, gorgeous animals, with long thick fur and supreme agility.
Bears… yes, our cuddly little teddy is created after the big grizzly bear! Isn’t teddy soft and furry? Yes, so is the grizzly! Apparently, they are “scary” because they are huge, furry, “ill-tempered” animals…. Yes, they are huge, they are furry, and that’s where their beauty lies. Ill-tempered? Well, most people who have observed the bears temper have usually walked to within ten feet of it and made a noise, or clicked pictures of it. Obviously the poor bears get disturbed and frightened. How would the same person like to have a bear coming up to him and taking his pictures, with some blinding flashlight?
Animal fighting rings are an extremely disturbing, and the biggest, cruelest aspect of animal abuse. I have watched several television programs on them; they are especially created to inflict the maximum pain and physical damage to a creature.
Let us take the example of cock-fighting rings: Baby male chicks, as soon as they hatch, are kept in isolation, in order for them to become as antisocial, and aggressive as possible. They are fed on diets that are not normal for chickens; no seeds, no grains for these unfortunate birds. Instead, daily injections of steroids and “pumping-up” vitamins are a part of their diet, to physically alter their appearance, and make them grow to unnatural sizes. Their legs are plucked once they start to spurt adult feathers, and from then on the legs are shaved daily to prevent any feathers. Why? The legs are kept bare so their keepers can attach metal blades and/or artificial claws all through the length of their legs. It gets worse: they are also kept featherless so that the blades and claws of the opposite fighter bird can inflict as much as damage and bloodshed as possible. Now, the actual fight: The two fighter birds are thrown into a padded box, and people stand around and cheer their favorite one on – as they have bet large amounts of money on it! Do they stop to think the amount of extreme pain the poor birds suffer? After a bloody fight, the two birds are thrown back into their cages, given some water and some anti-shock serum through hypodermic needles, known as “prep shots”, which are to prevent the bird from dying – so that they can fight again a few hours later. If this is not extreme cruelty, then what is??
Dog-fighting rings are pretty much the same. The same isolation, the same padded rooms, the same “prep shots” and shock- prevention shots, the same bloodshed, the same pain.
Bull fighting is another extremely cruel “sport”. A matador provokes and teases a bull, then chases him and plunges long knives into his back. The matador is cheered for being “brave” by the millions of adoring public who turn up to watch this cruel sport – a native to, and primary played in Madrid, Spain. Anyone accuses the matador of being cruel and unfair? No.
Fox hunting, rabbit hunting and bear hunting are three very popular “sports” primarily carried out in England and North America. A group of people go into the countryside on horseback with a large pack of dogs and chase the first unfortunate little fox, rabbit or bear they see. The dogs do the chasing; the hunters merely follow along. Needless to say, the dogs tear up the animal upon catching it, and the hunters stand there on their horses and cheer. Yes, this is a popular “sport”!
An interesting issue raised in the novel, ‘Black Beauty’, is that of working animals. Black Beauty is a pre-20th century novel, about the life of a horse. Its life was written to show the inhumane way in which horses were being treated… as slaves, literally. Their attitude towards their horses is, the horses have no interest of their own; they only live to work for humans. Take a look at this novel extract:
“Then there is the steam-engine style of driving; these drivers were mostly people from town, who never had a horse of their own, and generally traveled by rail. They always seemed to think that a horse was something like a steam engine, only smaller. At any rate, they think that if only they pay for it, a horse is bound to go just as far, and just as fast, and with just as heavy a load as they please. And be the roads heavy and muddy, or dry and good; be they stony or smooth, up-hill or downhill, it is all the same-on, on, one must go at the same pace, with no relief and no consideration. These people never think of getting out to walk up a step hill. Oh, no, they have paid to ride, and ride they will! The horse? Oh, he’s used to it! What were horses made for, if not to drag people up-hill? Walk! A good joke indeed! And so the whip is plied and the rein is chucked, and often a rough scolding voice cries out, ‘Go along, you lazy beast!’ And then another slash of the whip, when all the time we were doing our very best to get along, uncomplaining and obedient, though often sorely harassed and downhearted.” – page 104, chapter 29 (Cockneys), Black Beauty.
This shows the way in which humans think of animals. It shows that humans believe animals to be equipment, machines that they can work into the ground, after all, they have no non-tradable properties, they are only here to serve us, if they weren’t used, then what would be the use of them! What babble, non-human animals exist in the same way we do, for their own interests, they are of the same value as us, and they are not our “equipment!”
Another extremely disturbing aspect of animal cruelty is animal testing. Animals are literally being tortured to death by substances such as drugs, cosmetics, diseases, tobacco, alcohol, detergents and other poisons. After all these acts of cruelty such as locking animals in complete darkness, literally driving them insane – the goal, believe it or not, is actually mental insanity – and then turning them in to drug addicts, inflicting diseases such as Aids and cancer, disabling them by turning them blind or deaf, and… there has even been cases of dogs being sewn together, and many cases of mice, rabbits, guinea pigs and even monkeys having cosmetics, detergents and other household products rubbed into their shaven skin and having it drip into their eyes, while being under no anesthetic at all… All for what reason, what does this achieve? We are only finding out things we already know such as we know smoking causes cancer, drinking ruins the liver and we know the side effects of drugs on humans and the results from these experiments are not totally 100% accurate anyway because animals are different to humans. After years of developing science and technology why do we still use these unreliable and inhumanely cruel methods to find out little or no information about cures for diseases? Shouldn’t all the money and effort spent be spent on preventing these diseases in the first place by changing the environment around them instead of using all these inhumane tests on all these animals to prove nothing?
I hope that I have given enough examples to prove what I have been trying to point out all along: Give them a chance!! They cannot retaliate; they scream in pain, yes they do, but to most hunters that is actually a good sign: It shows that they have conquered over the animal… sadistic, isn’t it?
Please, to all who read this, appreciate animals, accept the fact that this earth is more theirs than ours, and please give them their rights…. If only we could imagine ourselves in their situation!