Inhumane Practices Towards Animal Companions
While some fortunate animal companions are cherished as family members, many others endure suffering, abuse, and neglect. Certain forms of animal maltreatment are illegal, yet many states provide inadequate legal protection against “standard” practices. These may include chaining animals day and night, performing unnecessary alterations for human convenience or preference, or using painful shock collars to correct normal animal behaviors such as barking.
Chaining dogs, sadly legal in most areas, is an extremely cruel punishment for social creatures who require companionship, exercise, and mental stimulation. This practice can also contribute to dangerous behavior; many instances of people, particularly children, being bitten or mauled are attributed to chained dogs. Likewise, confining dogs in crates or cages deprives them of their basic needs, essentially turning them into neglected warehoused pets.
Birds, too, suffer greatly when kept in cages. Denied flight, companionship, and stimulation, many birds develop neurotic behaviors such as feather-plucking, incessant head-bobbing, or repetitively pecking at their cage bars.
Declawing is a painful mutilation performed for the cat owner’s convenience. It involves amputating the ends of the toes, bone and all. The long-term effects include skin and bladder issues, and the gradual weakening of the cats’ legs, shoulders, and back muscles. Declawing is so painful and traumatic that it’s been outlawed in countries like Germany as a form of cruelty.
Unnecessary and painful surgeries performed on dogs, such as ear cropping, tail docking, and debarking, are so distressing that they’re banned in numerous countries, yet they remain legal in the U.S.
“Training” devices such as shock collars, electric fences, and prong collars employ painful punishment and negative reinforcement, instilling fear in dogs for normal behaviors like crossing invisible lines, barking, jumping onto surfaces within their homes, or pulling on the leash during walks.
Animal hoarding is a problem in almost every community. Once perceived as well-intentioned people overwhelmed by the animal overpopulation crisis, hoarders are now recognized as a significant issue. The repercussions for hoarders, their human dependents, the animals, and the community are serious and often lethal for the animals.
We owe our animal companions a comfortable and fulfilling life. Continue reading to learn more about these inhumane practices, how you can protect animals from them, and explore humane methods to foster harmonious coexistence with your animal companions.