Every 60 seconds, an animal gets abused. That’s unconscionable, especially in our advanced culture, but animal cruelty continues to occur all over the world. From the alleged rape of a kitten by teenagers in Lahore to the death of two lions during transfer from the zoo, institutional and informal animal cruelty has come under scrutiny in Pakistan. 

Animal cruelty can take many different forms, but the impact is always the same. According to research, acts of cruelty towards animals are indications of deep mental disturbance and a psychological imbalance. People who hurt animals don’t stop with animals. There is an established link between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans regularly.

Animal abuse refers to the neglect and cruelty inflicted upon animals. If the owner of an animal does not provide the necessary food, facilities, and vaccination required for the safety and wellbeing of the animal, it shall be classified as neglect and cruelty, and therefore would be a form of animal abuse.

Most animal cruelty investigations involve large-scale operations that victimize hundreds or thousands of animals at a time. For instance, the SPCA frequently goes undercover at factory farming operations to expose the cruel conditions in which farmed animals live.

However, animal cruelty takes place every day in all places, not just in the world of industrial animal agriculture. It might be happening inside your neighbor’s house, at an entertainment venue in your city, or at a lab near where you work. You’ve likely encountered stray animals throughout your life companion animals who have been abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

According to research that animal abusers were up to five times as likely to commit domestic violence as non-abusers. Domestic violence can include abuse targeted at spouses, children, the elderly, and the mentally handicapped. In a household where domestic violence occurs, the family pet might suffer the first few blows. However, the abuser is likely to hurt other members of the household also.

Another study determined that in homes where children were abused, 88 percent also showed evidence of animal cruelty. There’s a consistent and disturbing link between animal abuse and the abuse of fellow human beings. Abusers often go to jail when they’re convicted of abusing a human family member, but what about the non-human household members? These animals might suffer years of abuse before the abuser is brought to justice — if that ever even happens.

We live in a world that not only turns a blind eye to animal cruelty but condones it — whether through indifference or legislation. It’s legal to raise chickens in deplorable conditions for the sole purpose of slaughtering them later. If that isn’t animal cruelty, then what is?

Animal cruelty is real and pervasive. Speciesism is the cause of these kinds of abuses. Because people see animals as "less valuable" than humans, these atrocities continue to happen over and over. It happens to all different types of animals and in every corner of the world. It’s also preventable and unnecessary.

Animals are sentient creatures who deserve our respect and protection. They aren’t aggressive toward human beings unless they’re threatened, and we’ve already stolen much of their wildlife space for our own needs.

In Pakistan, PAWS, BROOKE, PGFA and many other foundations along with NGO’s are working for the welfare and safety of animals within the country, but so too should the government enforce strict laws against animal cruelty. This is a matter of pressing concern and one that should be corrected immediately if what studies of criminology and psychology assert, prove to be true.

Animals need our help. They can’t end animal cruelty on their own, so we have to step in and let people who victimize our fellow animals know that it’s not okay.