For those of us who love animals, it is difficult to comprehend how anyone could harm a poor defenseless animal, but unfortunately there are many people in the world who do not think twice about abusing the pets that have done nothing more than offer unconditional trust and love. Every year, the RSPCA investigate over 150,000 cases of animal cruelty in the UK and that is only the cases that are reported – many more go unnoticed because animals cannot speak up for themselves.
Will You Speak Up?
If you know, or suspect, that someone is mistreating an animal then it falls to you to do something about it. There are too many people out there turning a blind eye to animal cruelty because they assume that it is either none of their business or that someone else will make the call. I often urge people to consider what they would do if they saw a baby being beaten and often the answer is cll the police, so why not do the same for a puppy? The principle is the same – neither can defend themselves or call for help.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to report animal abuse, because it would be eradicated, but that is unlikely to happen. However, if everyone did their part to help prevent animal abuse then we could certainly reduce the problem. There are lots of ways to get involved in the fight against animal cruelty and some of them are outlined below.
Education Is The Key
One of the best way to prevent cruelty to animals is to teach children to respect animals. If young children see their parents, or other adults being cruel to an animal then they are likely to grow up doing the exact same thing. It is important to educate children to be kind to animals and to treat them with respect.
Responsible pet ownership is something that can be promoted from a very early age and is more important than many people think. Often violence towards pets at a young age is an early indication of potential violence to people as the child grows into an adult. If they are taught early on that violence towards anyone (human or animal) is inappropriate then it could avoid future incidents.
Why stop at educating your own kids? It is a great idea to participate in community education projects in schools and other venues to help raise awareness of the need for responsible pet owner ship.
Say No To Puppy Farms
One big problem in the pet industry is the increase in puppy mills/farms. There are many pet stores who sell pups bred in these places where dogs are kept in cruel conditions, over-bred and separated from their mothers at a dangerously young age. It is recommended that puppies are only purchased from reputable, registered breeders or that a pet is adopted through an animal shelter or rescue center. It is easy to think that you are saving an animal by buying from a puppy mill, but in reality you are only keeping them in business. If you have any suspicions about a puppy farm then you must report them at once to local authorities.
Donate Your Time
Lastly, one of the main ways you can help prevent animal cruelty is to do some voluntary work for a local animal charity or rescue center. Shelters are crying out for volunteers and even a commitment of just an hour or two a week can help. There are few formal skills required and there are plenty of jobs like feeding the rescued animals, walking the dogs or even just spending some time petting and playing with the animals. This is especially important as it helps to rebuild the animals trust in humans again which is a must if they are to be successfully re-homed.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the ways you can help to prevent animal abuse, but it should hopefully give you some ideas to think about. You may only be one person, but one person can make a huge difference.
Scot Parris writes for rspca.org.uk the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which is one of the biggest UK charities. Scot’s current mission is to educate people about making sure everything is legitimate when they see puppies for sale so that we can put a stop to puppy mills and backyard breeding.