The modern animal rights movement likely originated in Britain during the 1800s and gained sympathizers over time, including many abolitionists. The movement was designed to prevent abuse and neglect as well as promote better standards of living for animals. Today, the animal rights movement is made up of varied and often competing factions. Some believe that all “true” animal lovers must give up meat, while others just want the animals to be humanely raised and killed. With all the complex nuances of what people believe is best for animals, sometimes the animals suffer. Below are few of the times animal rights activists caused animals to suffer.
There are instances where sheep will sustain accidental minor injures, but the systematic and brutal methods portrayed by PETA are not accurate for the majority of sheep owners. Sheep are sheared for their wool, but they benefit from it, too. Domesticated sheep can’t shed their own wool, and if they go too long without a haircut, they can face numerous health problems.
A sheep named Chris got lost and lived in the wild for several years. Chris had so much wool—a whopping 40 kilograms (89 lb)—that his eyesight was impeded, his hooves were overstressed, and his skin was suffering from urine clogged up in his thick coat. Chris was rescued and sheared after being given tranquilizers because he was wary of humans.
Mink Farm Madness
In July 2017, over 30,000 minks escaped with the help of vandals, most likely animal rights activists, into the Minnesota wilderness. Hundreds died early on, and those that weren’t recaptured will likely face the same fate because the domesticated minks do not know how to survive in the wild.
PETA’s Euthanasia Spree
PETA, the organization railing against animals in zoos and cheeseburgers, partakes in a lot of animal deaths via euthanasia. PETA’s shelter in Virginia takes in far fewer animals than many, but the majority of those sent there never come out. Most of the lawmakers in Virginia voted to pass a bill that would not designate PETA’s facility as an animal shelter because the majority of the animals taken there were killed rather than adopted. PETA argued that they were rescuing unwanted animals, but the fate of many of them was death. To add insult to all the other deaths, one small dog was kidnapped from its owner and euthanized. If PETA truly wants to help animals, they should spend more of their budgets on finding them homes instead of on controversial campaigns.
Italian scientists were aghast when animal rights activists stole dozens of laboratory mice and wrecked havoc in April 2013. The activists likely snuck in by stealing the electronic cards used as keys for the laboratory and tried to hold fort. They didn’t leave of with all of the animals as intended, but 100 unfortunate mice were taken. Many of these rodents likely died soon afterward, as they have weak immune systems.
Dissections Over Birth Control
Many European zoos reject birth control for animals and instead opt to kill off excess animals if no other zoos for them can be found. The justification is that the animals can live out their lives more similarly to their wild relatives without birth control. The lioness in question was euthanized because of fears that her father might mate with her. While that seems a creepy enough fate, the zookeepers also decided against integrating her into another pride because the other lions might kill her. So they killed her instead and publicly dissected her as an educational experience for Danish children.
Cruel Animal Shelter
Not all shelters euthanize most of their animals; some simply neglect and abuse them. The Toronto Humane Society did just that. The conditions at the shelter were appalling, with starving animals, filthy cages, and poor medical attention. The surviving dogs were often sickly and starving. One dog even cannibalized another. Sadly, the suffering unfolded just so the shelter could boast about keeping their euthanasia rates low.
In February 2015, thousands of seized cats brought in from China to end up as dinner were buried alive. Out of all the ways of dying, being buried alive may be one of the most frightening and painful. Even being dinner sounds more appetizing. The cats, which were crammed in a truck from China to Northern Vietnam, were killed because they posed a threat to wildlife if left feral. Surely the government should have chosen a more humane way to kill them. The Vietnamese police seized the animals to prevent them from the cruel fate of becoming dinner, but they ended up in the grave anyway.
Sometimes fake fur products contain real fur. In April 2017, the British fashion company Missguided; was discovered to be using cat fur in its “faux” fur products. They have stopped selling their faux fur products and are attempting to figure out what went wrong. Other brands who claim to be fur-free also sell products made with fur from animals as varied as rabbits to raccoons. In the future, for those boycotting fur, it may be advisable to stay away from fur even if it claims to be fake.
Safety Is Only For Dolphins
After footage showing dolphins trapped in fishing nets was released in the 1980s, tuna was boycotted. The reason tuna fishing caused so many dolphin deaths is that fishermen learned that netting near pods of dolphins provided large catches. After the idea of dolphin-safe tuna got attention, fish aggregating devices (FADs) became widely utilized. FADs are objects fishermen use to provide “shelter” to attract fish to their nets while reducing dolphin deaths. The sad reality is that FADs are even believed to be putting some marine animals, such as turtles and sharks, on the endangered species list. Concerned customers buying dolphin-safe tuna may be shocked to learn that the tuna is safe for dolphins—but nothing else.
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