Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Animals play a big role in everyday life of humans. They are companions, a good source of entertainment and livelihood, but we are exploiting them for our own needs instead of taking care of them in return. Animal cruelty is also known as animal abuse or animal neglect, which is when someone hurts an animal or doesn’t care for an animal responsibly.

Recently in Kerala, a pregnant elephant was made to eat a pineapple laden with crackers. Both the mother and the child were dead. Should we call ourselves the most intelligent creatures on earth when we are doing such inhumane acts? With all the developments in science and technology, what’s the use of all those if we do not treat our fellow creatures properly?

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Right from the farms, circuses to the laboratories, many animals are being abused or subjected to some kind of harm everyday.

Animal testing, illegal breeding, slaughtering are all examples of animal cruelty. Drugs, cosmetics and various other products are tested on animals in the laboratories. Certain wild animals are hunted for their teeth, skin, fur and horns too. This has led to a serious decline in their numbers and are on the verge of extinction.

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The cow is considered as the abode of all gods and hence it is the most sacred among all the animals. Cow donation is presumed to be a noble act in Hinduism and is a part of many religious traditions.

Several temples have goshalas, where the received cows are taken care of. More than 80 cows and calves died of starvation at the goshala of Simhachalam temple in one week in the year 2013. The reason behind this is scarcity of fodder and water, intense heat and cramped space in the cowshed.

Some of these calves are dying due to premature separation from their mother. Many people are donating sick calves and calves that are too young to the temples. No amount of development or advancement could change the mindset of people. Stricter laws should be implemented to protect animal rights.

Male cattle (or bulls ) are ill-treated and left on the roads, as they do not produce milk and ploughing nowadays is mostly done with the help of tractors. So, the male cattle are primarily being raised and slaughtered for beef.

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Another case of animal cruelty is illegal breeding of dogs.

The dog breeding industry includes ‘puppy mills’, which are mass-breeding facilities in which dogs are treated like puppy-producing machines. This is utterly irresponsible and unethical. They even use machines called ‘mating stands' which are used in forced breeding.

When dogs are forced to breed consecutively through their heat cycles without a pause, it leads to serious health conditions and it affects them psychologically. The business of breeding and selling animals is inhumane and a form of abuse.

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Dehorning and castration of cattle also comes under animal abuse.

Dehorning is very painful and stressful for the cattle and it involves the use of knives, dehorning irons and even saws. Castration is recognised as one of the most stressful and painful experiences for livestock. Visible pain responses include struggling, kicking, tail swishing and restlessness followed by swelling, stiffness and increased recumbency. It also results in certain health complications like hemorrhage, excessive swelling, infection and poor wound healing.

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The number of overfished stocks globally has tripled in half a century and today fully one-third of the world’s assessed fisheries are currently pushed beyond their biological limits, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

In fisheries, hypophysation or induced breeding is practiced where various physical and hormonal methods are implemented to increase the yields. By induced breeding, pure seed of desirable species can be obtained in less time. This technique of injecting hormones for inducing reproduction is done so that the fish can be made to spawn more than once in a year.

To meet the demands of the ever rising human population, man is adopting many selfish measures to increase the production of fish and other marine organisms. The physical methods of inducing breeding is stripping. The process of squeezing the bellies of fish to collect eggs and sperms (milt) for external fertilization is called stripping.

Not only in the aquaculture industry, but also in poultry farming, administering hormones and medications to the young ones to make them attain maturity faster, all for our own needs.

The ethics of such practices is difficult to assess due to difference in opinions among scientists, physicians and breeders.

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Animal abuse and cruelty prevails all over the world. Another example of it is the ‘Blood farms’ in Iceland. Blood is taken out from pregnant mares to extract a hormone from it. Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin is a hormone that is extracted from pregnant horses, before being converted into powder and shipped around the world. This hormone is used by farmers across the UK and Europe to increase reproduction in pigs, cows and other female farm animals. Five litres of blood is taken from pregnant mares every week for eight consecutive weeks – around four times the amount specified on the international guidelines. This practice is so cruel and is a horrific form of animal abuse.

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Animals are wrongly subjected to mistreatment. Animal rights should annihilate the problems with animal abuse, hunting and experimentation. If this persists any longer, gradually there wouldn’t be any animals left to see for the coming generations, not even in the zoos.

With the extent of animal cruelty prevailing in this world, it is so hard to hope for a time where animal abuse doesn’t exist and humans live in harmony with nature. We have to ensure the survival of all the species and educate people on living sustainably with other species for the maintenance of nature’s ecological balance.

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