Curbing the Cruelty Epidemic
Worrying news this week: the RSPCA reports that in England and Wales, convictions for cruelty to animals have risen by a third in the last year. This should be a call to action for society, a clear sign that we need to make humane education a priority and work together to tackle animal abuse wherever we see it.
If you witness cruelty, please report it to the police or relevant authorities. PETA often offers a £1,000 reward to anyone who comes forward to provide information leading to the conviction of animal abusers. The shocking cases that we’ve encountered in recent months include a dog who sustained horrific burns after having acid thrown on her, a rabbit who had his eyes gouged out and a cat who was decapitated and mutilated.
The perpetrators of these sick crimes are often mentally unstable individuals who need to be stopped – before more victims get hurt. Research shows that without intervention, people who harm animals often “graduate” to committing violent acts against human beings. Many serial killers, including Ian Huntley, Thomas Hamilton and Fred West, had a history of cruelty to animals. In fact, police in Scotland have enlisted veterinarians to help them spot domestic violence, as bullies who abuse their companion animals can often turn out to be abusing their partner, too.
It’s upsetting to learn about the terror and pain that some humans inflict on animals. But we can take positive steps to stop it from happening by teaching children the value of compassion from an early age. Kids who learn to consider the feelings and rights of others – to see the “us” in “them” – stand a good chance of growing into kind, benevolent citizens and peaceful community members.
PETA’s humane-education resources for teachers are one way to help children learn about kindness towards animals. Parents can also set a good example by adopting a lifestyle free from cruelty. If we instil in kids the idea that everyone deserves respect, we’ll end up with a future that’s better for animals – and better for society, too.