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THE PROBLEM WITH ANIMAL PROTECTION

Barbara J. Andrews, SAAB Member

 

Animal protection laws provide for reasonable care and safety but disregard an animal’s inherent urge to roam, to forage for food, seek a mate and procreate.

 

People pass laws to control animals, from ocean mammals such as porpoise which we imprison in giant pools, to our feathered friends caged to keep us company. The American bison (pictured) once roamed freely, now like the American eagle, they are “protected” but only a fool would believe that destroying their habitat in order to build condos protects them!

 

 

America's bison were slaughtered almost to extinction, just for their hides and horns.

 

It could have been worse and some animal lovers would agree, it was. Stop and think… What is the emotional-psychological effect of confining beasts like Bison and Elephants to “reservations” when instinct propels them to constantly move in order to find enough forage to feed themselves?

 

And what about birds and the many mammals that instinctively migrate with seasonal changes? Are they not psychologically tortured behind fences that confine and confuse instincts older than our civilization??!!

 

Will “mankind” pay a price for locking lions and tigers behind bars in hopes that we will “understand” them and quit trophy-hunting them into extinction?

 

In a more everyday way, we love our dogs and keep them safe behind fences. But wait, as a carnivore, most dogs are built and motivated to travel 10 to 20 miles in a day! Wolves often cover 40 miles in a single day of hunting. And make no mistake, every domestic dog, no matter the breed, will go “hunting” if left unfenced.

 

Need I add that your tiny Toy dog will happily hunt a breeding partner and be distracted only by the opportunity to catch a bug or two along the way?

 

So the problem isn’t animals, it is too many people. No matter which way you turn this picture, animals are at greater risk from automobiles and crazy people than they ever were “in the wild.”

 

Animal cruelty laws are enforced only “after the fact” i.e. after an animal is found to be suffering. The undeniable fact is that Animal protection laws serve less as a deterrent than as a way to swell county coffers with fines.

 

In 2022 the Federal Animal Welfare Act enacted in 1966 is still valid but it does a mediocre job of regulating how animals are treated in research labs and in practicality. Obviously, the AWA has little effect on puppy mills which are easier to hide than large animal facilities.

 

The AWA regulates transporting animals for show, sale or slaughter but other than airline restrictions, it fails miserably. Tractor-trailers transport chickens stacked in stifling banks of crates.

 

 

Pigs and cattle are so densely packed that if a cow goes down and cannot recover its footing and will likely die before it is discovered.  There are not enough inspectors and some of them are easily $$$ persuaded to overlook violations.

 

As America’s population explodes, we have to kill more animals to feed ourselves but grazing animals require space and suddenly we realize there’s not much of that left. That’s why humans are stacked in condos with just a tiny patch of grass. But what about the animals?

 

We try to solve the space problem with feed lots where “beef”, “pork” and “poultry” are held. No matter what we call them before slaughter, they are live animals designed to be on the move. Grazing, rummaging or eating bugs, those animals were meant to cover a relatively large area, whether measured in acres or miles.

 

Instead, we confine “livestock” in cramped conditions we call ‘feed lots’ where they are psychologically tortured and fed un-natural foods designed to add weight. As a meat-eater I try not to think of bacon as pigs which are as smart as dogs…

 

Wild horses roam over 20 miles in a day. Today they are confined-to-pasture or worse yet, “stabled” in “box stalls” that allow no physical exercise, brain or normal emotional activity and just as critical to equine welfare, no herd (social) interaction.

 

The horse resorts to “cribbing” which is sucking on the feed bin or the stall door. Just as thumb-sucking releases endorphins in children, the horse is pacified. But is it protected? No, it is still mentally and emotionally tortured!

 

 

And what about genetically altering milk cows to have udders so large that they have difficulty walking? Do they ever get used to it? Pigs are designed to have unnaturally long bodies for optimum bacon and pork chop production. I suppose they don’t live long enough to have spinal problems...

 

And one of the most obnoxious examples of constant, unending physical AND emotional abuse may be caging “laying hens.” OK, I hear you thinking that is enough so we’ll move on.

 

Dogs are “pack animals” wired to bonding and social activities. Like their wild cousins, they are designed and driven to move, to cover 10 to 20 miles in a normal day. Fencing dogs in or worse yet, locking a canine in the house all day is “cruel and unusual” treatment. Playing music or providing toys while you are at work is NOT a substitute for the missing pack which you now understand is critical to his emotional health.

 

So, before you leave for work tomorrow, think about your dog. Genetically programmed to roam a vast territory, he would investigate holes in the ground, chase bugs and bunnies and instead of watching TV he would watch for a mate or danger or food… As a wolf, coyote or dingo or he wouldn’t need protection from automobiles or thieves, he would be part of a pack.

 

Hurry home today. Greet your dog as enthusiastically as he greets you. In so doing, you are protecting his psyche and affirming his reason for being a dog… Thank him for his utter and complete understanding of his job, for being your best friend and no matter his size, faithfully protecting you and your turf.

 

That is the way you thank your animal and affirm his reason for loving you. Yeah, this includes your horse or cat. While not as demonstrably appreciative of attention as is your dog, cats, birds and horses do care about us and like all domestic animals, they depend on us for protection. We owe it to them.

TheDogPlace.org EST 1998 © May 2022 https://www.thedogplace.org/Family-Dog/the-problem-with-animal-protection-bj22A052.asp

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