Scholarly Essay On Animal Abuse

Animal cruelty is a relevant and shameful problem. More and more people decide to pay attention to the human activity that causes harm to animals. People believe that they are the most important creatures on Earth. Animals, birds, fish and insects are not weighty to them. Such creatures exist just to serve people. This wrong belief of the human total dominance has made people cruel towards animals. They treat animals like unworthy organisms that exist for food or entertainment. No wonder, more and more wild animals become extinct whereas people do not let them live in their natural wild areas. Every animal is supposed to serve a human being in the particular way. Some of them are killed for food. Others are captured for entertainment. They have to live in zoos, cages or circuses in order to amuse people. There are different types of animal cruelty. One can mention neglect, farming, violence, cultural rituals, bullfighting, film making, circuses, unnecessary scientific experiments and abandonment, etc. Every type of animal cruelty is harmful to in physical or psychological way. I will try to attract your attention to this urgent problem.


I believe that it is possible to divide animal cruelty into two categories: cruelty towards domestic and wild animals. When we domesticate animals, they become a part of our life. They feed and entertain us. In simple words, they make our life easier and better. How would we survive without milk, eggs, wool and other products provided by domestic animals? How would we create cozy atmosphere in our homes without cats and dogs? Unfortunately, many people do not understand that they are responsible for their domestic animals and home pets. A domestic animal serves to her master and her life depends on him. Sad to say but many animals (horses, bulls, etc.) are used for farming. They have to pull a plough causing harm to their health. Thus, they have to work heavily for their entire life. Then, many farmers neglect their animals. Some cows, sheep, horses, pigs suffer from hunger or parasites. Domestic animals cannot care for themselves. People forget to do this job too.

When animals are raised for meat, they are often kept in inhumane conditions. If we speak about huge farms that contain thousands of pigs, cows or chickens, the condition of such places is terrible. Hens have to live in small cages during their whole life. They do not have a chance to walk in the regular way and their bodies are deformed. The same problem touches upon cows and pigs. Sometimes there is so little place in the building that animals have to sleep in the standing position. The life on such huge farms is the worst for an animal. They do not have space for movement. They have to live in the same cage during their whole life. These severe conditions cause harm to their psychics. They become aggressive and kill one another. After that they are violently killed for meat.

Then, many people do not care about their pets. Many cats, dogs, parrots or mice are underfed and neglected. They suffer from various diseases and parasites. Many of them die because of careless treatment.

Animals have got used to living in the wild. When a wild animal is captured, its psychics is damaged. The worst torture for a wild animal is the life in a cage. Therefore, tigers, wolves, dears or eagles are afraid of living in zoos. Such animals should be free. They require much space. Moreover, they cannot bear crowds of people who come to the zoo to watch at the wild animals. A zoo is a prison. I guess such prisons should be banned. Circuses are even worse. Animals have to entertain people and learn various tricks. You should know that animal trainers break an animal’s will or character in order to teach it perform tricks. Tigers, elephants, bears, etc. are often hit and tortured to become obedient.

Another form of entertainment is hunting. Ducks, dears and wolves are killed for fun. Then, there are bullfights. Crowds of people come to see how toreadors torture and kill bulls. The same problems are dogfights and cockfights. People observe how fierce animals kill each other. I suppose, such forms of entertainment are sick because a normal person cannot feel pleased observing pain and suffering.

Finally, there are unnecessary scientific experiments. Animals are used for the testing of drugs, cosmetics, cigarettes and weapon. The majority of animals die during the experiments.

I observed only several cases of animal cruelty. Doubtless, there are much more of them.

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Beirne 1999, a seminal paper on the speciesist nature of the field of criminology, notes the void of work on animals within criminology as well as the lack of discussion of the topic in virtually any criminology and criminal justice textbooks. Beirne not only notes the lack of criminological attention to crimes against animals but also makes insightful arguments about why theory and research on animal abuse should be part of criminology. Beirne’s criminological treatise was written almost twenty-five years after the modern-day animal rights movement began with the 1975 publication of Animal Liberation by Peter Singer (see Singer 2002). In addition to the foundational work of Singer, Regan’s The Case for Animal Rights (Regan 1983) and Regan 2001, a collection of Regan’s essays focusing on the key issues surrounding animal rights, helped to shape the current research on animal abuse. Regan 1980 delineates the utilitarian view and rights view for animals, and Regan and Singer 1989 presents the key philosophical and historical foundations of thinking about animals. In addition to the pivotal works of Singer and Regan, which outline the animal protectionism and animal rights perspectives, others, including Sunstein and Nussbaum 2004, an edited volume of reprinted and new essays, reflect the continuum of views toward animals from the welfarist to legal autonomy as reflected in contemporary debates, issues of law and public policy, and theoretical development. Feminist works point to the role of patriarchy in oppressing not only women but also animals. Dunayer 2004, a critique of the current state of the animal rights movement, provides insights into the difference between incremental animal welfare improvements in the quality of life for animals (which are eventually killed for food, clothing, and scientific experimentation or when no longer useful for entertainment) and a total abolition of all exploitation of nonhuman animals. Indicative of the progress made, Engel and Jenni 2010 outlines how to present animal rights and abuse issues to students within the emerging academic field of inquiry known as human–animal studies.

  • Beirne, Piers. 1999. For a nonspeciesist criminology: Animal abuse as an object of study. Criminology 37.1: 117–148.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1999.tb00481.xE-mail Citation »

    Groundbreaking arguments for the inclusion of theory and research on animal abuse in criminology as well including animal abuse as a signifier of interpersonal human violence, an object of criminal law, a component of utilitarianism, part of a discussion of rights, and the inclusion of speciesism as one of several oppressions including racism and feminism. An essential read for all. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

  • Dunayer, Joan. 2004. Speciesism. Derwood, MD: Ryce.

    E-mail Citation »

    A critique of the traditional animal rights perspectives as contributing to the oppression of animals. Dunayer calls for an abolitionist approach and criticizes what she refers to as “old speciesism” that limited rights to only humans but also criticizes the “new speciesism” present in the work of most current animal rights scholars and animal welfare activists, who extend rights for only a few nonhuman species, specifically those most like humans.

  • Engel, Mylan, Jr., and Kathie Jenni. 2010. The philosophy of animal rights: A brief introduction for students and teachers. New York: Lantern.

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    This book offers a wealth of information for those teaching classes in the field of intellectual inquiry known as human–animal studies. Includes key issues and positions of animal rights as well as course syllabi, bibliographies, a helpful list of animal-related journals and websites, and marketing suggestions for courses. An essential read for those developing courses in animal abuse and animal rights.

  • Regan, Tom. 1980. Utilitarianism, vegetarianism, and animal rights. Philosophy and Public Affairs 9.4: 305–324.

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    A statement about not only the moral obligation to not eat animals but also a delineation of Regan’s view of rights for animals and Singer’s utilitarian view. Giving rights to animals is illustrated via the analogy of giving rights to human morons/severely enfeebled humans. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

  • Regan, Tom. 1983. The case for animal rights. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    One of the earliest major contributions to the modern animal rights movement. A thorough rights-based argument for animals through an extension of the Enlightenment notion of natural rights with discussion of the distinction between moral rights and legal rights; the moral agents who have a duty toward others, including animals; animals as worthy of respectful treatment; and the many ways we do harm to animals.

  • Regan, Tom. 2001. Defending animal rights. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.

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    An enlightening collection of Regan’s classic essays focusing on the key issues, many of which are philosophical, of the animal rights movement. Discussions of animal rights in the context of other social movements including slavery and gay rights; includes excellent essays on the role of science and religion in perpetuating the immoral treatment of animals.

  • Regan, Tom, and Peter Singer, eds. 1989. Animal rights and human obligations. 2d ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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    An essential reader including excerpts from the classic works of Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Bentham, Darwin, and many others documenting the history of thinking about animals. Other essays confront issues of sameness and difference between humans and other animals, the debate about whether animals should have rights, the treatment of farm animals and wildlife, and animals used in science. Originally published in 1976.

  • Singer, Peter. 2002. Animal liberation. 2d ed. New York: New York Review of Books.

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    The highly influential original contemporary exposition of animal rights from a utilitarian perspective. This seminal work began the modern-day animal rights movement. Originally published in 1975.

  • Sunstein, Cass R., and Martha C. Nussbaum, eds. 2004. Animal rights: Current debates and new directions. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    An excellent collection of current essays (a few of which are reprints) from animal welfarists, anticruelty advocates, utilitarians, and more radical/progressive perspectives suggesting autonomy rights as well as the right to sue on behalf of animals. Also includes essays that argue against animal rights.

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