Lifestyle

Oz: As a veterinarian I encounter far too much animal cruelty

Companion animals, Mans best friend, Loyal like a dog.

These are some of the common phrases describing the unique relationship formed between humans and pets. So many lucky people have incorporated animals into their lives and families and get to enjoy this amazing goodness that animals can bring to one’s life.

Unfortunately, not everybody is able to appreciate animals as living souls. As a part of my veterinarian job I encounter far too many cases of animal cruelty.

The phrase animal cruelty is somewhat vague. What first comes to mind when we think about cruelty is physical abuse. However, cruelty goes far and beyond beating up your pet. In fact, neglect, whether physical or emotional, is a common form of cruelty.

In some people's minds, animals are similar to animate objects. Animals can be used for work purposes, guarding, herding, carrying or any other physical use. Others may only look at animals as food. In those people's eyes, animals have no soul, no needs, but for the basic minimal needs for survival.

This concept is very wrong. All animals have emotional needs beyond food, water and basic medical care. All sorts of animals have the need for companionship. Animals that don’t come in enough contact with humans or other animals become very lonely.

Animals can also get depressed, sad and bored. Usually those animals will develop negative vices to occupy themselves. These vices often include self destructing and self mutilating behaviours.

Animals are craving positive interactions with humans. Similar to us, animals also want to be loved, petted, hugged, etc. Animals that are not exposed to enough positive human handling are often very scared. A natural reaction for animals when they are scared is aggressiveness.

Domesticated animals are good in their nature. They will show an aggressive behaviour only as a self defense mechanism. When domesticated animals are treated appropriately, they normally are not aggressive and can be, in fact, very loving and loyal.

Domesticated animals cannot readily live in today’s modern nature. They need us for their survival and their well being.

Cruelty prevention in animals includes supplying all the animal’s needs, including food, water, sufficient rest in the case of farm animals, and sufficient companionship with their own kind as well as humans.

Abused or neglected animals are often scarred for life. These animals tend to be very timid in their nature. They have a hard time trusting people, and they often suffer from severe anxieties.

It is never too late to rehabilitate an abused or neglected animal, but it can be a lengthy and rocky process and at times very frustrating till one manages to regain the animal’s trust in those who did them wrong.

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