Much of the public is confused about what animal rights is all about. They think things like, “When it comes to ‘animal rights,’ should your cocker spaniel be entitled to the same freedoms and protections as your kid?”
Rather than try to explain animal rights with complex theory, disturbing videos, guilt-tripping lectures, or protests, I’ll just list some examples of animal rights violations in the hopes that these examples of animal abuse can help educate people about what animal rights is all about.
Examples of animal rights violations:
- Companion Animal Abuse: “On April 22,  a 4-month-old German shepherd-mix puppy was found stabbed, beaten and stuffed in a plastic bag on a North Memphis driveway. The puppy, who is now known as Mack, was barely alive. A steak knife was embedded in his back, with only the handle protruding, and his face was spray painted red. Mack underwent immediate surgery and was listed in critical condition at the time of this release,” reports the HSUS.
- Companion Animal Abuse: “Queenie, a long-haired black cat, was found fatally hanged from a tree near South Hills Terrace on April 17.” reports the HSUS.
- Farm Animal Abuse: “After one year in egg production, the birds are classified as ‘spent hens’ and are sent off to slaughter. Their brittle, calcium-depleted bones often shatter during handling or at the slaughterhouse. They usually end up in soups, pot pies, or similar low-grade chicken meat products in which their bodies can be shredded to hide the bruises from consumers.” reports Farm Sanctuary.
- Companion Animal Abuse: “Claiming that Chloe the dog had been coming toward him while on his property in March 2008, William Helms reportedly stated that he shot her once and that she then ran off toward a nearby creek. [...] The physical evidence indicates that Chloe was shot 3 times from behind after she had left Helms’ property.” reports ALDF
- Wild Animal Abuse: “United Illuminating has issued an eviction notice against monk parakeets nesting on their power poles[...] moving the nests now is particularly cruel since it is breeding season[...] they’re doomed, why would you smash the life out of baby chicks?” reports Friends of Animals.
- Lab Animal Abuse: “The U.S. government continues to fund shockingly cruel, outdated, and inaccurate animal experiments to test the effects of nicotine—even though studies of humans conducted years ago showed that smoking cigarettes can cause disease in nearly every organ of the human body,” reports PETA.
- Farm Animal Abuse: “Approximately 100 million pigs are raised and slaughtered in the U.S. every year. As babies, they are subjected to painful mutilations without anesthesia or pain relievers. Their tails are cut off to minimize tail biting, an aberrant behavior that occurs when these highly-intelligent animals are kept in deprived factory farm environments. In addition, notches are taken out of the piglets’ ears for identification,” reports Farm Sanctuary.
- Wild Animal & Companion Animal Abuse: “[Homelessness] is a massive problem in the developing world, affecting hundreds of millions of animals, and our global affiliate Humane Society International has a Street Animal Welfare program to develop humane care, spay and neuter, and vaccination programs.” reports Wayne Pacelle.
- Farm Animal Abuse: “Accustomed to roaming unimpeded and unconstrained, range cattle are frightened and confused when humans come to round them up. Terrified animals are often injured, some so severely that they become “downed” (unable to walk or even stand). These downed animals commonly suffer for days without receiving food, water or veterinary care, and many die of neglect. Others are dragged, beaten, and pushed with tractors on their way to slaughter.” reports Farm Sanctuary.
- Entertainment Animal Abuse: “This year at the Rolex Event, two horses died during the cross country phase of the show” reports That Vegan Girl.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “wild fish populations have been decimated. In addition to fish who are caught by factory trawling vessels, other — economically useless — sea life are caught and killed in the nets. Called ‘by-catch,’ these animals — including non-target fish, sea turtles, sea lions, and even dolphins — are thrown back into the water dead or dying. The U.S. government estimates more than 100, 000 marine mammals are killed every year by the U.S. commercial fishing industry” reports the Farm Sanctuary.
- Miscellaneous Animal Abuse: “According to a 2007 report released by ALDF, Kentucky ranks dead last in the nation in its laws protecting animals,” reports the ALDF.
- Entertainment Animal Abuse: NYC still hasn’t banned horse drawn carriages. I see them in Central Park everyday.
- Farm Animal Abuse: “each year about 10 percent, or 900 million, of the animals raised for food never reach the slaughterhouse. They die on the farm due to stress, injury, and disease. The on-farm death rate ranges from a low of 4 percent for cows and calves to 12 percent for turkeys, 14 percent for hogs, and 28 percent for some types of chickens. [...]The life of an animal in a factory farm is characterized by acute deprivation, stress, and disease.” reports HFA.
- Companion Animal Abuse: Hoarders: “Approximately 60 dogs—many of whom appear to be feral—and 15 cats remain with their reported tormentors.” reports PETA.
- Companion Animal Abuse: “Many of you may have heard about the recent outrage generated by a video in which an apparent North Carolina state trooper strings up his canine partner by the legs and kicks and yells at the dog” reports PETA. The trooper was fired and is now facing criminal charges.
- Entertainment Animal Abuse: “Apes in show biz have a short shelf life. The average performing chimp begins his career around age 2. By 7 or 8, when he’s no longer the tractable trainee he once was, he’s put out to pasture. Owners tend to not want to keep apes that have outlived their earning potential, and since apes can live into their fifties, that means they’ll require decades of care after their careers end. And that care is expensive–roughly $10,000 a year for a single ape. And while typically everyone involved with a film–from cast and crew to producers, studios, distributors, investors, and exhibitors–makes money, nothing is put aside for the animals’ future.” reports the Huffington Post.
- Companion Animal Abuse: “Lorraine Zielinski’s yellow tabby cat, Bootsie, was discovered missing on Wednesday, April 23. Three days later, Bootsie returned home with injuries consistent with a gunshot to his face. Due to the injuries as well as a severe blood infection and a fever, a veterinarian euthanized the cat,” reports the Humane Society.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “Sixty-seven cackling geese were found dead at Staats Lake in Keizer, Oregon between April 11 and 16. Laboratory tests confirmed that the geese were killed by zinc phosphide, a poison used by farmers, golf course managers and others to kill small rodents,” reports the Humane Society.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “[T]he government mislead the public. The government used partial information to justify killing mountain lions that had killed two sheep in a six month period. The government, however, refused to even limit the number of sheep hunting permits they were selling, even while they claimed the sheep population was in danger due to the predation of the lions,” reports Invisible Voices.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “As the male sea lion was coming out of anesthesia, it struggled to resume breathing and died. The animal was one of seven removed from the Bonneville Dam April 24,” reports seattlepi.
- Companion Animal Abuse: “Arrested in January 2008, Severino Cruz and his brother Enrique Cruz face charges of animal cruelty for alleged neglect and malicious abuse. Reportedly in a rage upon hearing that a 3-year-old pit bull named Baby had bitten his nephew’s arm, Severino Cruz grabbed the dog by her chain, pushed her up against her cage and drilled a series of holes into her skull with a power drill.” reports the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “275,000 harp and hooded seal pups are set to be shot or bludgeoned to death off Newfoundland’s northeast coast in Canada. Whether one is the killer or the one being killed, it’s a brutal and degrading way of life for everyone involved” reports Friends of Animals.
- Entertainment Animal Abuse: “[O]n February 24, deputies in Anderson County, South Carolina, raided an apparent cockfighting ring and arrested 88 people, according to local media. Deputies reportedly found that four roosters had already been forced to fight to the death, while 15 birds were still alive.[...] officials have left the survivors with the alleged ringleader!” reports PETA.
- Companion Animal Abuse: A vet euthanized “a 9 year old jack russell terrier with undiagnosed ailments. the owner did not want to do any testing to figure out what was wrong.” from What I Killed Today.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “The mayor of Randolph, Iowa is taking drastic measures to curb the feral cats in the area. Since March 1, Mayor Vance Trively’s plan of putting a bounty on all stray cats has been in effect. If a resident can lure a cat and catch it, the person will get five dollars.” reports Itchmo.
- Companion Animal Abuse: “Thousands of pet cats in Beijing are being abandoned by their owners and sent to die in secretive government pounds as China mounts an aggressive drive to clean up the capital in preparation for the Olympic Games.” reports the Daily Mail.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “At first light on Tuesday, at the end of a closed road, past a boneyard of junk cars, trailers and old cabins, more than 60 of [Yellowstone] park’s wild bison were being loaded on a semi-trailer to be shipped to a slaughterhouse.” reports the NY Times.
- Companion Animal & Farm Animal Abuse: “First a dog was starved to death in a gallery in Costa Rica. Now the San Francisco Art Institute is displaying ‘Don’t Trust Me,’ a video installation in which six animals are shown being bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer by the ‘artist.’” reports SuperVegan.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “NMFS [National Marine Fisheries Service] concluded that sea lions must be killed,” reports the Humane Society.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “In villages like Taiji, where this video was shot, dolphins are herded into shallow bays and coves, where they are driven into nets. Dolphin hunters spear and hook the gentle animals and then hoist them into the air by their tails.” reports PeTA.
- Companion Animal Abuse: Someone shot a pet dog with a bow and arrow. The dog died. Seattle Times reports.
- Companion Animal Abuse: Cats are still being declawed. Declawing is cruel. Read more here >>
- Lab Animal Abuse: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently disclosed that it never received mandatory annual reports about research animals’ “pain and distress” from 81 animal research facilities over the course of five years.” reports the Humane Society.
- Farm Animal Abuse: “The sad truth is that factory farming constitutes the greatest abuse to the largest number of animals in the U.S. For the sows imprisoned in gestation and farrowing crates, the dairy calves in intensive confinement and the chickens in battery cages, life is hell.” from ALDF blog.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “Witnesses report seeing these beautiful animals [sea turtles] pulled from their ocean home, flipped over onto their backs on dry land, and left to bake to death in the hot sun.” reports PETA.
- Companion Animal Abuse: There’s a new trend of ‘foreclosure pets’: animals abandoned when the family home is seized by the bank. “Feeling the financial squeeze, some families are trying to make ends meet by sacrificing pet care or by relinquishing or even abandoning their pets.” reports the Humane Society.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “[T]he AGFD [Arizona Game and Fish Department] is using radio collars on the mountain lions to track them down to kill them, in what amounts to a canned hunt.” reports Invisible Voices. The story is incredibly disturbing. Please read it here >>
- Companion Animal Abuse: “On March 22, a dog named Cleo was found dead on the front lawn of her Buttolph Road home at about 1:30 a.m. Cleo’s owners left home at about 9 p.m. on March 21 and returned later only to find her lying in a pool of blood. Cleo was bleeding from gunshot wounds to her rib and stomach area.” reports the HSUS.
- Companion Animal Abuse: “A 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl were each charged Monday with animal cruelty after Clearlake Police Department officers said the teenagers microwaved and froze a pet hamster in December 2007. The hamster, named Bugsy, was placed briefly in a microwave oven twice and a freezer once. During one stint in the microwave, three of Bugsy’s paws were burned, which caused the hamster to chew those legs off, leaving him with only one leg.” reports the HSUS.
- Farm Animal Abuse: Calves are still confined in tiny veal crates. “On June 19, 2006, ALDF first filed a complaint in Tulare County Superior Court against Mendes Calf Ranch for isolating and confining newborn calves in crates. This confinement violates state anti-cruelty laws which require that animals have adequate exercise area.” reports ALDF.
- Wild Animal Abuse: “a West Babylon, New York, Pathmark grocery store, where ‘nuisance’ birds are allegedly lured onto glue traps and then disposed of in a trash compactor, where they suffocate, starve, or are crushed to death.” reports PETA.
- Lab Animal Abuse: MSU vivisector, Aurther “Weber’s spent 25 years torturing cats by removing their eyes while they’re still alive” while vivisector Michael Platt has been “drilling metal screws into monkeys’ skulls and implanting wire coils under their eyelids” reports PETA Files.
You can take one action to save hundreds of animals’ lives, promote peace and compassion, and make a strong political statement against cruelty to animals. That single action is to go vegan.
Please note these abuses are labeled “companion animal” and “lab animal” and “farm animal” etc. not because those distinctions are truly meaningful, but rather because those labels help some people understand the enormity of animal abuse a bit better – animals in all kinds of situations are abused by humans.