Humans Vs Animals

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

Neglect. Abandonment. Physical abuse. Animal cruelty has gone unpunished and unregulated for years, and The Humane Society of the United States reports that over 70 million dogs and 74.1 million cats are abused yearly.

The term “animal cruelty” refers to the intentional or unintentional act of causing harm, pain, or suffering to animals. This is a heinous crime, a crime that usually involves a form of extraordinary personal injury or death, and violates the alleged fundamental rights of animals. This behavior causes immense suffering and leaves a devastating impact on abused animals and the ecosystem.

Animal cruelty laws vary from state to state, but in the state of Texas, according to The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, “In Texas, a person can be charged with animal cruelty if the person tortures an animal; fails to provide necessary food, care, or shelter; abandons an animal; transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner; kills, seriously injures, or administers poison to an animal; cause an animal to fight another animal; injures an animal belonging to another; or seriously overworks an animal.”

Zoos can appear as fun, educational places to visit, and the animals may seem calm, and playful even. And while zoos may be enjoyable, many are completely different behind closed doors. Kimberly Wallace, biology teacher, explains how knowing about it can only do so much.

“I could share that with students, but I don’t know if that would stop them from going. I feel like the only way to stop the treatment that they get at the zoos is for people to stop visiting them so they have a change in revenue. I think until that happens it’s just gonna stay the same,” said Wallace.

For years, zoos bred or bought animals from other zoos, and the process goes completely unregulated. Young animals attract crowds but aren’t as pleasing once they grow up and mature, so zoos will often sell them and replace them with newborns. There are two main ways of capturing animals. Physical immobilization is the use of nets, traps, and snares to trick the targeted animal. The use of chemical immobilization refers to sedatives and anesthetics. Both tactics can lead to the traumatization of the animals and can lead to hypothermia, hyperthermia, shock, bloating, and even seizures.

Lindsey Tashman, an environmental sciences teacher at Lake Ridge, explains the effects of these methods.

“They have mental and physiological impacts, where their quality of life has deteriorated, and then they have shortened their lifespans a lot. I think making people more aware of situations but also providing solutions whenever you’re looking at zoos and Seaworld and things like that aren’t accredited by any zoological societies could make an impact when trying to get people to help stop animal cruelty,”

Next, taking an animal out of its normal habitat leaves detrimental effects on animals and increases stress levels of the animals, leading to abnormal behaviors. At SeaWorld for example, their orcas often break their teeth as a result of chewing or biting on the metal bars of their tanks. The SeaWorld of Hurt, a site devoted to aquatic animal abuse, reports that extreme wear or fractures can lead to pulpotomy procedures, which simply means the drilling of holes into the teeth.

The Whale Sanctuary Project, a project developed to spread awareness about whales in theme parks, reports: “When humans have a similar procedure (a root canal), the drilled-out hole is filled and capped. But for the orcas, it’s kept open for the rest of their lives and requires daily flushing with chemicals to prevent infection,”

Even if the abused animals are taken out of the custody of zoos, the lasting effects of abuse destroy any possibility of quality of life. For example, If the animals were placed back into their habitat after being abused, the animals would have become used to their previous environment, and would no longer know how to survive in their original habitat. Summer Younger, freshman, emphasizes on the effects of removing an animal from it’s habitat.

“Most of them (the animals) are dying from it, you know? They’re taking them out of their environment and they’re possibly going extinct. Even if you were to put the animals back, you’ve already traumatized them. It’s just like kidnapping a human being, nobody comes back the same,” stated Younger.

Aside from the impacts of animal cruelty leaves on the animals, the effect it leaves on the ecosystem is catastrophic., a site dedicated to the overall well-being of the ecosystem, reports that not only does removing animals decrease biodiversity but increases climate change contributions and pollution. Allyson Armstrong, freshman, expresses her viewpoint on animal cruelty, particularly in zoos.

“It’s honestly just selfish. You’re destroying ecosystems and taking these animals for granted, all so they can make some cash. That really puts a strain on animals and they weren’t meant for that purpose, so why are we doing it?” stated Armstrong.

The longer animal cruelty goes on, the more damaging the effects are. Leaving lasting impacts on the animal’s health, the ecosystem, and the overwell wellbeing of the environment.