By ELEANOR PALIMORE, Special Contributor
There’s a photo floating around Facebook at the moment. It’s of a dog with only half a face; the other half was apparently blown off by a firecracker. The story attached to this photo is that some people found this dog, put a firecracker into its mouth and tied it shut. Apparently this dog had the firecracker blow up in his mouth, and was then abandoned, left to wander the streets, bleeding and in pain. When he was found, days later, the wound – the gaping hole where his snout used to be – was infected, rotting, and crawling with maggots. The dog was eventually put down, as there was nothing else the vets could do for him.
Now, I don’t know whether or not the story is true. There’s no verification for the photo, which is extremely graphic (and certainly looks real). But what definitely is true is that animals are mistreated all over the world, in a variety of ways. Dog fighting, skinning tigers alive for their pelts, hunting sharks only for their fins, cosmetics companies testing their products on animals kept in labs – wherever you look, there are examples of humans abusing animals for their own convenience.
In 2006, I went to college and started a BTEC in Animal Care. I learned how to look after a variety of different animals, ranging from the domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, to the wild animals, like wolves and cougars. I also learned a great many horror stories about people mistreating animals. How pet owners would keep their pets in awful conditions, until that pet eventually died of malnutrition, or learned to hate humans. How people would shoot at cats with BB guns, or put dangerous chemicals into food and leave it out for a neighbour’s dog. How parents bought animals like terrapins for their child’s birthday, unaware of how big they’d grow, and would then set them free into an unfamiliar habitat when they realised they couldn’t handle looking after them. Hearing all these stories was difficult – even impossible, for some of my classmates. There were days when my friends would flee the classroom in tears so they wouldn’t have to hear any more.
Like children, animals aren’t as developed as humans. Like children, they don’t know any better. So why, when there are so many laws to prevent the abuse of children, are there comparatively so few laws to protect animals? We wouldn’t dream of subjecting a toddler to prolonged, painful experimentation, so why is it perfectly acceptable to do these things to animals?
And that’s my giving a damn.
Trudging her way through England’s waning middle class, Eleanor is student majoring in history and English. She absorbs popular culture by reading, relaxing in front of the television, and volunteering for a burgeoning youth music project in her hometown. When a break in reality is required, you can find her on Vampire-Diaries.net, where she serves as a stellar moderator.
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Part 4 of Afterwards premieres this Saturday! Catch up: