In the UK, roughly half of households have a pet - totalling over 20 million pets owned, including over 8.5 million dogs and 7.4 million cats. Every year, the RSPCA receives over 1.1 million phone calls reporting animal abuse, neglect, or cruelty - and it’s still happening today.
Animal abuse is happening right now
The RSPCA receives one phone call every 30 seconds from England and Wales on their 24-hour cruelty line reporting a case of animal abuse, neglect, or cruelty. This led to over 1,118,495 phone calls last year alone.
Not enough convictions are being made
Out of the 1,118,495 calls made last year only a small fraction of animal abusers were actually charged and convicted of animal abuse. Only 143,004 reported cases of abuse were actually investigated, and only 1,781 convictions were made.
Not enough people care about it
In a report by Manchester Metropolitan University, it found that most cases of animal abuse are performed by teens for ‘fun’ or ‘retaliation’. More than half of the people interviewed had direct knowledge of animal abuse happening locally, including incidents of cats being shot and having concrete slabs dropped on their heads. Some of the 1,100 people surveyed even said they thought it was "a normal part of growing up". The RSPCA’s chief officer of the inspectorate, Tony Crittenden said that: "Sadly, too many people have a 'throwaway’ attitude to animals and show a callous disregard for their welfare."
I think that people should change their attitude towards the ill treatment of animals and stop treating them as disposable. As we all know, a pet isn’t just for Christmas.
Punishments aren’t harsh enough
Animal abusers can often get away with relatively gentle punishments. One jealous husband battered his wife’s cat to death, and received 3 months in jail after repeatedly hitting her cat in a "violent rage". In another case, a teenager who twice threw a puppy off a 70ft high railway bridge was only jailed for 6 months and was barred from owning animals for 25 years. It could be argued he shouldn’t ever be able to own an animal again.
So what can be done? If you know of a case of animal abuse, neglect, or cruelty, of course, report it, so the animal can be helped to recover and find a new home to go to. You could also go to animal rescue centres such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and adopt a dog or cat and give them a new chance at life. Obviously, don’t mistreat animals - they are sentient beings too and can feel pain just like us - they should never be mistreated or abused.