AR Philosophy > Morality
How Can We Halt Cruelty?

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I would like to share a few thoughts about animal cruelty from the Humane Society of the United States. From cats to canaries, from Dobermans to dachshunds, our pets often seem to know how we feel.

They comfort us when we hurt and make us happy when we are sad. They share our joy and stay by our sides when times are bad, but sometimes people are mean to animals. How do we explain this?

Mahatma Gandhi said, "The greatness of a nation, and its moral progress, can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Animals feel pain and fear like we do, but they are often helpless victims, because they cannot say what happened to them. In fact, some people choose to abuse animals instead of people for this very reason. If we wish to create a humane society, we must stop cruelty against those who are most vulnerable - our animals.
Animal cruelty encompasses a range of behaviors harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing. Most cruelty investigated by humane officers is unintentional neglect that can be resolved through education. Intentional cruelty or abuse is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter or veterinary care, or maliciously torturing, maiming, mutilating or killing an animal. All animal cruelty is a concern because it is wrong to inflict suffering on any living creature.

Remember that all of our furry friends are a part of God's creation. Let's give them the love and respect they deserve. Dr. Don Palermo is a veterinarian at Bienville Animal Medical Center in Ocean Springs. Questions for this column are encouraged. Write to South Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association, 20005 Pineville Road, Long Beach MS 39560 and include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

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