All About Animals: The Issues (Ages 14-16): Bullying

What makes someone bully another person? Often the bully is scared deep down that no one will like him or her and so they develop a tough exterior and hide behind it. Those people may be very insecure and think it will make them feel ‘better’ to have power over someone else. It may make them feel better at the time but it doesn’t make people like them more. In fact, it makes people like them less. A lot less.

Bullies don’t have friends. Real friends respect and like you; they don’t intimidate or upset you. They will help you when you need them and will be there for you when you are having a bad day or are worried about something. Real friends want to be with you because they like you.

Bullies are cowards. How often do you see a bully standing up to someone of their own strength? Or standing up for an issue that they believe in? They don’t, do they? That’s because it is easier to pick on people who are smaller or weaker and it’s easier to belittle people than to make a stand for what is right.

Bullies don’t just bully people – they bully animals too. What kind of person hurts an animal on purpose just to show how ‘powerful’ he is? A desperately sad person! And who is impressed by someone hurting a kitten, a butterfly or an ant? No one with an ounce of intelligence or a smidgen of compassion.

Anyone can hurt an animal who is smaller than them but it takes a truly kind and lovely person to take care of all animals, and it takes a brave person to speak out when other people are harming an animal on purpose.

Sadly, the newspapers are full of stories about people who hurt animals for fun. Lots of those people end up in court and have to pay fines or even go to jail. Hurting an animal is not like breaking a CD. Animals feel pain and are deserving of our care and respect.

If you know someone who deliberately hurts animals, don’t be a coward. Speak up. Tell a teacher, your parents or another adult you trust. It’s vitally important that you do this and can actually improve the life of the bully as well as the animals he or she gets her hands on. This is why: research from all around the world shows that if young people are allowed to get away with being cruel to an animal they are likely to progress to hurting other children too. As they get older and grow, so does their violence and who knows who their next victim will be? Many murderers have started out by deliberately harming animals and their violence grew as they did. By helping to stop the violence at an early stage you could be saving human lives as well as animals’.