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Animal abuse and neglect - large scale

American Kestrel unidentified flower spider sunbathing on a log Some unidentified hawk



8/28/2010 -- Animal abuse and neglect - large scale

A recent petition in our county seeks "harsher punishments for people who hurt animals", as a news channel put it. I would immediately have been on my way signing it, hadn't there been this qualification in the petition's text, which limits the initiative: domestic animals. Sad, because although this is for a good cause, I think it needs to be put into perspective with animal abuse on a much larger scale.

"Harsher punishments for people who hurt animals"? What about all of us, who are responsible not only of hurting single animals, but whole species - in fact, of wiping them out completely?

This still seems to be too far away to be recognized: What does my littering have to do with an owl getting hit by a car? What does my groceries bag have to do with a sea turtle suffocating? What does my plastic consumption have to do with an albatross starving with its belly full (of plastic)? What does my seafood have to do with millions of whales, sharks and dolphins dying in fishing nets? What does my shrimp dinner have to do with far exceeding "bycatch" being dumped overboard, dying? What does my beef consumption have to do with the suffering of countless animals in tropical rainforests?

If we are really concerned about animal abuse and neglect, we should not limit it to domestic animals, i.e. cute pets, but include the much more severe and much less recognized issue of wild animals being abused and neglected by us, up to the extinction of thousands of species, each year.
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