Animal Cruelty Awareness Week - How You Can Make A Difference

Animal Cruelty Awareness Week - How You Can Make A Difference

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on Apr 17, 2017

It’s no secret that we love animals here at The Great Projects, and since today marks the beginning of Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week, we’d like to introduce you to the importance of this holiday. Throughout the week, we’ll be posting daily blog posts which tackle different areas of animal cruelty, from the impact of cosmetics on the natural world, to our shared responsibility to take care of all creatures that grace this earth. Today, though, we’ll be taking a look at a topic that is unfortunately hits home for many of us; an issue that arguably gives this awareness week its name.

We are, of course, talking about human violence and its effects on the animal kingdom. Most of us are all too familiar with stories of animal cruelty: it’s seemingly the norm for harrowing examples of abuse to hit the news, and often our own social media newsfeeds are peppered with upsetting anecdotes of animals being left behind, abused or exposed to some form of suffering (see: content frequently shared on The Dodo, PETA, etc.) Tales of this sort are typically met with a combination of uproar and heartache, with many stories sparking petitions and a push for the perpetrators to spend the rest of their lives behind bars (or, worse, to suffer the same fate they had inflicted on innocent animals.) Yet, despite public outcry and a plea for these abusers to be punished accordingly, the sentencing of these criminals can often be light, and plenty of instances of cruelty undoubtedly remain unnoticed or undocumented.

It is hard to think about the many instances of animal abuse, let alone the many forms that it takes: whether as part of the pet trade or as part of, say, a pitbull-fighting ring, too many animals are subject to an obscene amount of cruelty, and there is so much more that we can do as humans to protect these creatures. But how exactly could you help? And how do you go about spotting suspicious animal activity?

How to recognise animal abuse, and what to do once you notice misconduct

Sometimes, instances of animal abuse can be crystal clear: we’ve all seen awful videos circulating the internet, capturing blatant examples of sheer mistreatment. Comments sections are always full of people wanting to help, expressing absolute disdain for what unfolds onscreen – but how many of us would really step in if we saw such abuse happening in real life? It’s one thing to ‘name and shame’ on Facebook, but we all need to be more proactive in getting involved, protecting animals in the meanwhile. If you suspect animal cruelty or witness an example of abuse (be it online or in person), be sure to report what you see to your local humane society or the police. Be careful not to let your emotions run away with you: by stepping into a potentially dangerous situation, you may be making matters worse. Pass as much information as you can over to the correct authorities, allowing them to intervene.

In terms of how to spot animal abuse, keep an eye on the following:

  • Timid or nervous looking animals, especially in the presence of humans
  • Open wounds or scars
  • Poor skin conditions or extremely matted/dirty fur
  • Emaciation (the animal’s bones visible under their skin)
  • Unease with walking, i.e limping
  • Animals tied up for long periods of time (usually outside)
  • Animals kept inside extremely hot or extremely cold climates (such as cars)

It may seem too easy to jump the gun, but any combination of the above could be a real cause for concern, and it would be worth contacting an authority to discuss your worries. Again, don’t try to step in on your own accord – the right people will be able to take control of situations like this, on your behalf.

Other ways to join the fight against violence towards animals

In other instances, animal abuse isn’t so black-and-white. There are certain steps to take to ensure that you’re not compliant in animal abuse through third-party action – check out our list below to see how you can wise up.

  • Avoid the pet trade: on a global scale, this involves animals such as orangutans, pangolins, monkeys and other exotic animals. These creatures should not be for sale, nor should there ever be a demand for such unusual pets. Be smart in selecting your pets, and be realistic in the level of care that you’ll be able to provide.
  • Adopt, adopt, adopt: in addition to the global pet trade, a real issue exists in the form of puppy mills, backyard breeding and pet stores. Millions of animal shelters around the world are overflowing with animals who have been abandoned (either after being bought as a gift that’s no longer wanted, or being bought without any real consideration given to long-term care, or even when an animal is no longer viewed as ‘useful’ to its abusive owner); as such, many shelters deal with these high numbers by putting their animals to sleep. It’s a tragic reality, yet it is one that could so easily be avoided – and various cities across the globe (including San Francisco and Los Angeles) have recently introduced new laws to prevent these things from happening (see: San Fran’s new puppy law.) There are so many animals that deserve love and a second chance of life; help them to find their forever home by supporting adoption, and doing away with seedy backyard breeding activities.
  • Volunteer – whether on a larger scale (say, by volunteering with The Great Projects) or by taking part in something a little closer to home, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in animal care. Speak to your local RSPCA centre (or similar) to find out how you can help, or consider booking a volunteer trip overseas to aid conservation of such animals as rhinos, elephants and other creatures who’re all-to-often impacted by human violence.

Stick with us throughout the rest of the week, as we take a closer look at instances of animal cruelty across the world, and how you could possibly help.


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