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ANIMALS

10 Debated Acts of
Animal Cruelty
JAMIE FRATER FEBRUARY 1, 2010
Animal rights are widely known and accepted in western culture but
despite this there are topics and events which happen every year
that often cause much debate and controversy on the public and
media forums. From high profile support from celebrities, outspoken
models from the fashion world and animal campaigners, animal
rights is an issue that has sparked outrage and even government
debate. This is a list of 10 widely discussed topics of animal use that
some support openly, while others refuse to accept them under any
circumstances.??
10Fur Trade
Worldwide its estimated that 40-50 million animals are killed every
year for their fur, including raccoon dogs, rabbits, foxes, mink, and
chinchillas. The fur trade has gathered much protest from
campaigners for the inhumane way the animals are reared and
killed, often in cages where they suffer from numerous physical and
behavioral abnormalities induced by the stress of caging conditions
and then killed methods that preserve the pelt, such as gassing,
neck-breaking and anal electrocution.??Recently China has come
under attack from extremist campaigners such as PETA and media
over the cruel photos and videos of dogs and cats being kept in
awful conditions and then bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death,
strangled with wire nooses, and even skinned alive so that their fur
can be turned into trim and trinkets. Fur from China is often
mislabeled as that from another species and sold throughout the
world so it is difficult to know for certain where the fur you are buying
came from.??
9Animal Testing
Some people will say animal testing is necessary in the furthering of
medical treatment for humans but the other side of this argument is
that animal testing is completely unacceptable and treatment for
humans should be only be tested on humans.? ?It is estimated that
50 to 100 million vertebrate animals worldwide are used annually in
animal testing. Although much larger numbers of invertebrates are
used and the use of flies and worms as model organisms is very
important, experiments on invertebrates are largely unregulated and
not included in statistics. Most animals are euthanized after being
used in an experiment.??Most research is carried out within
universities, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, farms,
defense establishments, and commercial facilities that provide
animal-testing services to industry.??Supporters of the practice,
such as the British Royal Society, argue that virtually every medical
achievement in the 20th century relied on the use of animals in
some way, with the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research of the
U.S. National Academy of Sciences arguing that even sophisticated
computers are unable to model interactions between molecules,
cells, tissues, organs, organisms, and the environment, making
animal research necessary in many areas. Despite this some
scientists and animal rights organizations, such as PETA and BUAV,
question the legitimacy of it, arguing that it is cruel, poorly regulated
and that medical progress is being held back by misleading animal
models among other reasons. Regulation on animal testing varies
within various countries.

Dolphin and Whale Slaughter
Every year, hundreds or even thousands of dolphin and small whale
are rounded up and forced into a small hidden cove in Taiji where
they are slaughtered in the worlds largest scale kill of its kind, lasting
up to six months. Once trapped inside the cove the animals are
killed by having their throats slashed or by being speared. Media
images of the event often show the usual blue waters of the cove
blood red and some even go further to show the animals sounding in
distress. Animal campaigners have challenged the Japanese
government to change its laws but whale meat and counterfeit
dolphin meat sold as whale meat help to keep this horrific event
continuing while the Japanese governments response has been
using pest control as an explanation. ??

Seal Clubbing
Seal hunting has drawn growing media attention due to the
disturbing images of seals and their pups being clubbed to death.
The main sealing states are Canada, Greenland, Namibia, Norway
and Russia although it is Canada that has gathered the most
controversy with celebrities such as Paul McCartney and former
wife, Heather Mills speaking out against it. In Canada 2006, 325,000
harp seals, as well as 10,000 hooded seals and 10,400 grey seals
were killed. An additional 10,000 animals were allocated for hunting
by Aboriginal peoples. Canadian law forbids the killing of pup seals
until they have began molting at 12-15 days. ??While the steal trade
is an extremely controversial issue, many livelihoods depend on the
seal trade. The total Canadian seal product exports were valued at
$18 million (CAD) in 2006. Of this, $5.4 million went to the EU,
although in 2007, Belgium became the first EU state to ban seal
products. In 2009 the EU parliament successfully voted to ban the
import of seal products. Denmark, Romania and Austria abstained
form the law passed by the EU council on July 27, 2009. ??
6Animals in Medicine
High numbers of animals are used each year worldwide for their use
in medicine. China is probably the most notable for its use of
endangered tiger.??Animals used in traditional medicine are tigers,
leopards, sharks, saiga antelope, elephants, rhinoceros, pangolins,
tortoises, seahorses, musk deer, as well as 7 of the 8 species of
bear. The Asiatic Black Bear (more commonly known as the Moon
Bear) are kept in captivity on Bear Bile Farms to enable the regular
extraction of their bile acid. ??Tiger bones, skin, fat, whiskers, tail,
penises and gall bladders among other parts are believed to cure
ailments, keep black magic at bay and possess aphrodisiac
properties. It is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 wild
tigers left, only 5% of the population number that were alive in the
1900s. About 75 percent are in India while less than 50 are believed
to be found in Chinas forests. The United States is home to some
10,000 captive tigers, owned by zoos, sanctuaries and private
individuals.?
Animals as Food
It is estimated that worldwide, 140 billion animals are killed for
human consumption ever year. The UK, which has a projected 2009
population of 61,126,832, consumed an amazing 2.5 billion animals
every year alone. ??Official figures show that UK abattoirs slaughter
900 million poultry, and 30 million cattle, sheep and pigs every year.
These figures do not include imported meat; the UK is probably a
net importer so it is likely that they consume close to 1 billion farm
animals a year. Tonnage figures from the Marine Fisheries Agency
together with estimates for average weight of fish suggest that, in
addition, about 1,500 million sea fish and 80 million farmed salmon
are consumed.??Its easy to see why vegetarians and vegans are
prominent campaigners for animal rights. Animals on factory farms
have no legal protection from cruelty that could be illegal if it were
inflicted on dogs or cats, including neglect, mutilations, genetic
manipulation, drug regimens that cause chronic pain and crippling,
transport through all weather extremes and gruesome and violent
slaughter for human consumption.?
Animals in Sport
There are many types of sport in which animals are used for;
hunting being the most recognized and debated. One of the most
recently debated has been fox hunting in the United Kingdom which
was outlawed in 2004 against large protests and backlash from
hunters who wished for the sport to continue using live foxes. Over
250 million animals are killed each year by hunting in the US alone
and this does not include the millions of animal figures that are not
maintained by state wildlife agencies.
Animals in sport also include Bullfighting which is still practiced
under Spanish and Portuguese traditions. Cockfighting is now illegal
but legal fights still take place around the world including cow
fighting and camel wrestling.
Horse and dog racing are also very popular around the world,
attracting many people for legal gambling but even this has attracted
debate. Thousands of greyhounds die each year from racing injuries
or exhaustion and over 800 racehorses die each year from fatal
injuries on US racetracks alone.
Pedigree Breeding
Pedigree breeding of dogs has attracted a lot of attention in the past
few years and many think it is cruel and unfair to the welfare of the
animal because of the effects on the lifespan of the animal. In 2008
the BBC dropped the dog show Crufts over concerns about breeding
practices leaving dogs with debilitating conditions and inherited
genetic disease such as a prize-winning Cavalier King Charles
suffering from syringomyelia which meant that its skull was too small
for its brain and also pugs suffering epilepsy.
It is not known how many dogs worldwide suffer the genetic effects
of extreme pedigree breeding but the debilitating effect is well
known. Because of the lack of genetic variation, birth defects and
inherited diseases in breeds such as deafness in Dalmatians, heart
disease in Boxer dogs and hip dysplasia (abnormal hip joint
development) in German Shepherd dogs has become extremely
common.
Zoos
Although most zoos are of a high standard nowadays and many are
even encouraging breeding programs for endangered species, it is
still argued that animals should not be kept in captivity but
encouraged back into their native environment.??There are an
estimated 5 million animals in zoos worldwide and a report by the
World Society for the Protection of Animals showed that only 1,200
out of the 10,000 zoos worldwide are registered for captive breeding
and wildlife conservation and that only 2 percent of the worlds
threatened or endangered species are registered in breeding
programs.??In some Chinese zoos, live killing is encouraged where
people can feed wild animals. In the Badaltearing Safari Park,
visitors can throw live goats into the lions enclosure and watch them
being eaten, or can purchase live chickens tied to bamboo rods to
dangle into lion pens. Visitors can drive through the lions compound
on buses with specially designed chutes leading into the enclosure
into which they can push live chickens. In the Xiongsen Bear and
Tiger Mountain Village near Guilin in southeast China, live cows and
pigs are thrown to tigers to amuse visitors.?
Animals in film
The use of animals by filmmakers has often received criticism for
allegedly harmful, and sometimes lethal, treatment of animals during
production although laws on animal rights are now stricter. ??One of
the most infamous examples of animal cruelty in film was Michael
Ciminos legendary flop Heavens Gate, in which numerous animals
were killed and brutalized during production. Cimino allegedly killed
chickens and bled horses from the neck to gather samples of their
blood to smear on actors for Heavens Gate, and also allegedly had
a horse blown up with dynamite while shooting a battle sequence,
the shot of which made it into the film. After the release of the film
Reds, the star and director of the picture, Warren Beatty apologized
for his Spanish film crews use of tripwires on horses while filming a
battle scene, when Beatty wasnt present. Tripwires were used
against horses when Rambo III and The Thirteenth Warrior were
being filmed. An ox was sliced nearly in half during production of
Apocalypse Now, while a donkey was bled to death for dramatic
effect for the film Manderlay, in a scene later cut from the
film.??Although there are now laws covering animal use in
filmmaking in America and Europe, other eastern countries such as
South Korea have been criticized for the use of animals such as in
the film, The Isle, in which a real frog is skinned alive while fish are
mutilated.