Ethics class report on animal cruelty

The 5 stages of animal use:

Animal cruelty is a sensitive subject, not one that many people recognize as a problem in the world. There are many aspects to animal cruelty, not just people abusing their pets, though that is the most commonly recognized aspect. I am here to tell you of 5 aspects of animal misuse and cruelty.




  • 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims; 32% reported their children had hurt or killed animals. 


  • 68% of battered women reported violence towards their animals. 87% of these incidents occurred in the presence of the women, and 75% in the presence of the children, to psychologically control and coerce them.


  • Males from the ages 31-40 are the most common abusers


  • Dogs are the most common animal abused, with cats as the second


  • In 1997 Boston’s Northeastern University and the MSPCA did a study that found 70% of all animal abusers have committed at least 1 other crime and that 40% had committed violent crimes against humans.


  • Studies also found that a history of animal abuse was found in 25% of male criminals, 30% of convicted child molesters, 36% of domestic violence cases, 46% of homicide cases and 48% of convicted rapists.


  • In 2000, 7% of animal cruelty cases involved child abuse.  The perpetrators either abused the children or force them to witness the cruelty to animals.  13% of the animal cruelty cases involved domestic abuse.  And 1% of animal cruelty cases involved elder abuse.



USDA slaughter stats 2008

  • Cattle: 35,507,500
    Pigs: 116,558,900
    Chickens: 9,075,261,000
    Layer hens: 69,683,000
    Broiler chickens: 9,005,578,000
    Turkeys: 271,245,000


  • This includes animals imported as food to the U.S., but not sea animals


  • That number to be exact is 18,573,833,400


  • That’s roughly 27 million each day and 19,000 every minute


  • In addition, 212,000,000 male “layer” chicks were discarded shortly after birth, since males can not lay eggs and are not of the right genetic breeding to be valuable for meat production. Usually the male chicks are ground up alive or discarded to suffocate to death in plastic garbage bags. Investigators have even found live chicks that have been dumped directly into hatchery dumpsters.




The most common methods used are:

  • Kosher (bleeding)


  • Gun Shot


  • Captive bolt stunning is used as a form of stunning, but is not always effective so a large number of animals are bled fully consciously. The use of electrical stunning before slaughter is approved but not commonly used because of cost.





  • Of the thirty-one million animals killed on fur farms each year, nearly twenty-six million are mink and 4.5 million are foxes


  • 250,000 chinchillas, 150,000 sables, 100,000 Fitch (Polecat), 100,000 raccoon dogs


  • Mink are kept in cages averaging 10 inches wide by 24 inches long.


  • A Danish study indicates that as many as 17 percent of ranch raised mink will die prematurely as a result of various factors which could include stress, poor sanitation, heat, or cannibalism.


  • An estimated 20 percent of foxes raised on ranches die prematurely. Half of those deaths are the result of cannibalism.


  • It takes over 50 minks to make a single mink coat.




  • More than 100 million animals every year suffer and die in cruel chemical, drug, food and cosmetic tests, biology lessons, medical training exercises, and curiosity-driven medical experiments.


  • Exact numbers aren’t available because mice, rats, birds and cold-blooded animals—who make up more than 95 percent of animals used in experiments—are not covered by even the minimal protections of the Animal Welfare Act and therefore go uncounted.




  • The use of animals as “entertainers” removes animals from their natural habitat; deprives them of the ability to freely engage in instinctual behaviors; often involves cruel training methods; desensitizes both children and adults to animal mistreatment; and does not adequately address the real conservation threats that face animals in the wild.


  • There is minimal state and federal protection for animals used in entertainment. Many of the animals used for human amusement are not even covered by the federal Animal Welfare Act.


  • Most animals in zoos were either captured from the wild or bred in captivity for the purpose of public display, not species protection.




‘Sentience’ is defined as the ability to have perceptions and sensations. A ‘sentient animal’ is an animal that is aware of their surroundings and of what happens to them and is capable of feeling pain and pleasure, in it’s simplest form. Most animals, even the seemingly least intelligent- such as chickens- feel empathy,  described by scientists as “the ability to be affected by, and share, the emotional state of another”. Dogs have the capability to feel optimism and pessimism. Monkeys understand the concept of fairness, and cooperation with one another. Gorilla’s play games of tag with one another. The sentience of these animals is unquestionable; they feel pain, fear, love, joy, and multitudes of other emotions experienced by human beings.



The moral aspects of animal use, abuse, and cruelty are murky at best. Many people have different theories on why or why not an animal is of “use” to a human being. Christian religions have a “divine right” thought on animals, that God put them on the earth for the use of human beings. According to Christianity, animals are inherently inferior to human beings; therefore need little moral consideration because of the lack of a soul and rational/conscious thought. The ALF and PETA take an abolitionist approach to the use of animals. The ALF is has more of an extremist attitude, taking any action to free an animal in an abused situation. The ALF use direct intervention techniques to free animals in an unethical situation. They liberate animals in factory farms, fur farms, experimentation facilities, and individual situations where they feel the animal may be being abused. They are an organization of activists acting alone or in small groups anonymously. PETA has less extreme tactics but are considered extremists nonetheless. They use mostly media sources and civil disobedience to help the situations of animals in exploited situations.


The fact that an animal has sentience, can feel and understand it’s surroundings, can survive without the aid of humanity, even thrives without the aid of humanity should be put into consideration of the moral aspect of use of an animal.In the United States an animal is seen as no more than property and they are classified as an “it”. I believe this is a major cause of the animal abuse, use and misuse that takes place. When an animal is seen as no more than a thing the life that is contained within is no longer precious. Their life has no worth other than what a human can gain from it.

My personal stance with animal use is an abolitionist approach. I do not believe animals should be of human use. They are their own being, with thought, feeling, instinct and interests separate of human beings and therefore should be considered of their own conscious mind. Their interests should not be put behind mine because I have the speech capabilities to say when I am wronged.

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