Save Cats, Save Ourselves

On October 19, there was an intolerant and infuriating event that happened in Shanxi, a northern province of China, which infuriated all animal lovers including myself.

According to the news report, a man put a pregnant cat in a cage and watered her with boiling water. After being discouraged by passerby, he lied and said, "This cat stole my ham!" Shortly afterwards, a well-wisher sent the cat to a nearby pet hospital to be saved after they called the police. Cruelly, all hair on her body was scalded and 70% of her body was burned with large red scars. Unfortunately, in the afternoon of October 21st, this unfortunate mama cat died after treatment failed, and all kittens that had formed were stillborn.

Seeing such an inhumane scene, even if you are not a cat lover, will surely break your heart. What was more unbearable was that the reason prompted the man to commit such a cruel behavior was that the cat stole his ham. After this incident, this man’s employment company had terminated its labor relationship, and this guy’s behavior had been unanimously condemned by global netizens. However, the moral condemnation is only one aspect. According to the lawyer’s interpretation, his behavior is factually hard to pursue legally; in other words, he will probably not be subject to punishment. 

In fact, in the past few years, whenever extreme incidents of animal torture events occur, there is usually a wave of public discussion about animal cruelty legislation.

So, what can we do?

According to a survey conducted by the Human Society of the United States, nearly 1 million animals are abused or killed in domestic violence incidents each year. Meanwhile, cruelty and neglect of animals are still common in rural and urban areas. Even more, the number of unreported cruelty cases is staggering, and it is difficult to evaluate how common such behaviors are.

In fact, the abuse of domestic pets is pretty common and hard to find. Since pets live with their owners, such abuse often occurs in more private and hidden places, which are hardly seen by outsiders. Also, most animals cannot make a call for help like humans; thus, in front of their perpetrator, they are silent victims with weak power. Conversely, the cost of torturing stray animals is much lower. There is a large number of stray animals lacking protection and attention, thus people rarely notice their injuries. Due to the contradiction between having numerous animal abuse cases and concealment of these cases, animal abuse has always been put on the back burner. It occassionally pops up on our timelines but then disappears soon afterwards. 

Taylor Swift Taylor Swift via Instagram The New York Times once made a report on animal cruelty and interviewed Lockwood, a member of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). He spent much time researching the relationship between animal cruelty, child cruelty and domestic violence. He found that in families with domestic violence or child abuse, the incidence of animal abuse is close to 90%. Therefore, one can draw the conclusion that children who live in an abusive environment for a long time or have witnessed abuse may have many types of abuse in the household. According to Lockwood, these children can only gain a sense of security and power by causing pain and suffering to themselves and others. When no one pays attention to their psychological states, as they grow up, new tragedies are likely to occur. In this regard, opposing animal cruelty will create a domino effect in saving children from child abuse as well. 

In fact, whether it is domestic violence or violence against animals, the ones in power rely on the reactions of those they abuse. We’re obligated to fight against every type of violence, whether it is towards humans or animals. With the call to legislation, abuse cases may decrease. Before the advent of perfect protection laws, the most basic things we can do is to respect all lives of all creatures of this world. 

References: Global TimesTufts NowSentient MediaThe New York Times Magazine