• Hannah McDavid

The hidden horrors of animal cruelty

In certain parts of the U.S., rattlesnakes are gathered for contests. These contests are different in that they don’t compete by racing the snakes or selling them as pets. Instead, the snakes are often held in containers without food for weeks at a time, mouths sewn shut or teeth taken out and forced from their homes by being doused in gasoline, only to be violently beheaded. In the aftermath, sometimes children take the snakes’ blood and make handprints on the walls.

Cruelty aimed towards animals in the name of human entertainment is not new. For years practices like dog fighting, puppy mills, illegal pet and meat trade and even horse consumption have occurred. These rattlesnake roundups are only a fraction of the true issue.

“Dogs and cats are especially relevant because they relate to our community, but shark finning and whale hunting are currently the greatest atrocities committed against animals. One of the worst and most frequent examples of animal cruelty is taping a dog’s mouth shut or putting collars on pets that don’t grow with them,” sophomore Miranda McKibben, student at the Columbus Zoo, said.

Puppy mills are considered prime examples of animal cruelty. Puppy mills sell and breed dogs, often putting its profit above quality of life. This can cause overcrowding, lack of veterinary care and over breeding of female dogs. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), an average of 10,000 puppy mills are active right now.

The ASPCA also said that Ohio has one of the largest number of puppy mills in the U.S.

“Puppy mills keep dogs in such close confines that disease spreads easily, which is why many pet store puppies have health issues. Many puppies will die before they even reach the store,” McKibben said.

Another issue plaguing the world is dog fighting. In dog fights, dogs are forced to maim each other for the entertainment of humans. This has been made illegal in all 50 states as of 2008, but it has not disappeared completely. Every year, an average of 16,000 dogs lose their lives to this practice, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This also extends to rabbits and chickens. To encourage aggressive behavior, the animals are starved or beaten.

Perhaps the largest yet most unheard of issue is horse slaughter. Over 100,000 horses are brutally killed every year in the U.S. alone for their meat, according to the ASPCA. Of these horses, many are pregnant, babies or disabled in some way. Horses are smuggled from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico to be killed, or even slaughtered domestically. Surprisingly, this practice is not illegal. An act to right this was proposed in Jan. 2017, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which would ban the slaughtering and consumption of horses.

“We are committed to building lifelong bonds between people and animals through education, community outreach, and the prevention of cruelty,” the Delaware County Humane Society said. If you have any information or want to help in anyway, you can call them at 740-369-7387.

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