Animal cruelty, also called animal abuse or neglect, is when a person hurts an animal or disregards the welfare of an animal. The humanesociety.org specifically defines it as such:
“Animal cruelty includes intentional, malicious acts of harm and less clear-cut situations where the needs of an animal are neglected.”
Photo from paws.org.ph
There are two types of animal cruelty as stated on wildlife-rescue.org:
- Active Cruelty (Acts of Commission) - Implies malicious intent and cruelty, where a person deliberately and intentionally causes harm to an animal.
- Passive Cruelty (Acts of Omission) – where the crime is defined by a lack of action, when a person neglects the welfare of an animal. Animal neglect can cause pain and suffering. Some examples of neglect include:
- Parasite infestations
- Allowing a collar to grow into an animal’s skin
- Inadequate shelter
- Failure to seek veterinary care when an animal needs medical attention
Why are people cruel to animals?
There are many different reasons why individuals abuse animals. Animal cruelty covers a wide range of actions, or a lack of action in some cases.
Sometimes people are not aware that what they are doing is already causing the animal pain and suffering. People who have been abused themselves have a high chance of committing animal cruelty because they think that is the only way to treat others.
The worst form of cruelty is when a person hurts animals knowing that it causes harm and suffering to the animal, and they do it to intentionally cause the animal pain. Intentional cruelty to animals is strongly correlated with other crimes, including violence against people.
Most common victims
The most reported animal abuses cases are of dogs, cats, horses, and livestock. Dogfighting, cockfighting and other forms of organized animal cruelty go hand in hand with other crimes,and continues in many areas of the world. Unfortunately, due to weak enforcement of laws and political corruption, only few and extreme cases are reported and prosecuted.
Why should I report animal abuse?
Violence against animals has been linked to a higher likelihood of criminal violence and domestic abuse. People who abuse animals are more likely to hurt other people. This is why it is so important to report animal abuse. Not only will you help the animal, but you will help your community be a safer place for everyone.
What should you do about it?
The Philippines has already made significant strides in protecting animal welfare through the amendment of the Animal Welfare Act. Under this law, any person who subjects any animal to cruelty, maltreatment or neglect shall, upon conviction may be punished by imprisonment for up to 3 years and/or fined up to P250,000 depending on the gravity of the crime. The full law can be found here.
Although the Animal Welfare Act is already in place, sadly, there is still a lack of strict enforcement from our local government.
Animal cruelty is a serious problem. If you see an animal being hurt, remember that you can help speak up for that animal. Depending on the situation, there are different ways you can help, but keep these rules in mind:
- Spay or neuter your pet. One way you can help reduce the number of animals without a comfortable home is to have your pets spayed or neutered. This will help reduce number of homeless pets and animals in shelters, which will lead to less animals euthanized each year. Spaying or neutering also has health and behavioral benefits for your pet. Read up on other benefits of neutering your pet here.
- Don’t touch. Don’t try to stop a person hurting an animal by yourself or try to help an animal who is hurt. Even though both situations can be upsetting, they can put you in a dangerous situation.
- Get help. If you witness animal abuse, find help from someone like your mom, dad, teacher, or trusted neighbor. Tell them what you saw and together, find help. You can also call our local police hotline if it is an emergency. You can find our national emergency contact numbers here.
If you notice an animal not being cared for properly, here are some tips to help:
- How to report animal cruelty: https://www.paws.org.ph/how-to-report-animal-cruelty.html
- What to do when you witness pet neglect: https://www.paws.org.ph/pet-neglect-what-to-do.html
If you are aware of any animal abuse or neglect, help report it to the credible authorities as soon as possible. Animals don’t have their own voice, so it is up to us to be able to help and speak up for them.