In October of 2012, a Jack Russell Terrier puppy named Phoenix was set on fire in Buffalo N.Y. The woman who discovered him was attracted by black smoke. She managed to put out the the flames with her sweater and proceeded to rush him to a small animal hospital with severe burns over his whole body and a serious ankle infection. Although he lost 60% off of both of his ears he maintained almost complete mobility of his leg. He still has a slight limp. Judi Bunge, a senior vet technician at Buffalo Small Animal Hospital who had been looking after Phoenix, adopted him soon after he had fully recovered. He now lives with Judi and her two other dogs. "Phoenix will become a therapy dog and continue his work as an ambassador for the Shelter, an advocate against animal abuse, and a symbol of resiliency" (Phoenix’s social network page). But most stories end tragically and not as happily as Phoenix’s. In most cases, the animal doesn’t survive. Others survive but become too aggressive or timid to find a “forever home”. Animal cruelty is one of the most common and serious issues worldwide and affects us more than we realize.
Animal cruelty has been around since the beginning of time, since humans first interacted with animals. Animal cruelty is causing suffering to an animal, whether by deliberate abuse or simple neglect. The Humane Society of the United Stated defines neglect as “not giving an animal the right food, water, shelter or vet care. Because their misery goes on for so long, animals who die of neglect can suffer just as much as animals who are harmed on purpose”.
Legal protection for animals dates back to the 18th century B.C. The earliest known cruelty prevention group was the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals); formed in April of 1866 by Henry Bergh. Before WW2 there were very few animal protection laws. After WW2 animal cruelty became a much more prominent issue. The Humane Society of the United States was created in 1954 by Helen Jones, and the Friends of Animals (FoA) was formed in the 1970s. There were four main animal cruelty prevention laws passed between 1958 and 1973; including the Humane Slaughter Act (1958), the Endangered Species Act (1969), and the Marine Mammals Protection Act (1972). However, the “liberation ideology” did not come about until around 1975.
There are many different things that fall under the category of “cruelty”, neglect and abuse being the two main subcategories. The most common type of animal abuse involves dogs, Pit-bulls in particular. In 2007, of 1800 media-reported cases of animal cruelty, 64% (1,126) involved dogs, 18% (337) involved cats, and 18% (337) involved other animals. Some of the most common places where animal abuse occur are, in no particular order: fur farms, dog fights, laboratories, races (both Greyhound and horse), slaughterhouses, and puppy mills. Some less thought of forms of animal abuse are crush videos, traditional Chinese medicine, the...