.. it's healthy, it's somebody's way of life, it's somebody's livelihood, it's somebody's business.(ibid)
This is a strongly worded statement and indictment of an uncaring humanity. However, bearing in mind the daily evidence of cruelty to animals one cannot but feel that there is an element of truth to this argument.
Commercial reasons for abuse
One of the central reasons or "justifications" for animal abuse and possibly why so many turn a blind eye to animal cruelty, is commerce and the profit motive.
The plain fact is that this country and other industrial countries are deeply dependent on animal exploitation to sustain their present economic structures. The plain fact is that we are more dependent on animal exploitation than were the states of the southern United States on human slavery. (Francione, G.)
Animals are essentially seen as property. While there are many laws designed to protect these animals these laws are also prejudiced towards the interests of the owners before the welfare of the animals. An example of the way animals are often treated only as commercial commodities is the following.
In Australia, lambs are put through a gruesome procedure called mulesing, in which huge chunks of skin are sliced from the animals' backsides, with no painkillers given to the animals. Then, when their wool production declines, sheep are shipped to the Middle East on open-deck ships. These journeys, which can last months, are to countries where animal welfare standards are non-existent. So the suffering sheep are dragged off the ships, loaded into trucks, sometimes upside-down, and then have their throats slit while they are fully conscious. (United Cruelty of Benetton)
Agriculture, which is humanities oldest way of survival, previously meant a certain reciprocity and sense of care and dependence between the farmer and his animals. However, agriculture has now devolved into agribusiness and at no other time in history have farm animals been so badly treated. (ibid)
Another aspect which is related to commercialism is the creation of beauty products from animals -an aspect which reflects badly on the vanity of human nature.
Millions of Americans think they have discovered the fountain of youth in an injection of BOTOX®, whose key ingredient is botulinum toxin, the most poisonous substance known to mankind. Their mission to stop time, however, comes with a cost: An undisclosed number of mice suffer and die painfully in the testing phase of Botox. These animals die for nothing more important than to smooth out a few wrinkles. (Animals in Research)
Even technology is being harnessed in the search for pleasure and entertainment at the expense of animals. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recently exposed a plan to use the Internet as a means of hunting animals. Using the Web "users around the world would be able to log on to his website, pay a fee, and using the mouse on their computer, control a rifle mounted on a high-tech stand to aim, shoot and kill an animal." (ASPCA Outraged at Texas Rancher's Plan to Launch Internet Version of Canned Hunt, 2004)
There are many causes of animal cruelty. These range from the use of science to experiment on animals in order to produce cosmetics and drugs to enhance human life, to commercial legitimatization of animal abuse. Many Americans prefer not to see this cruelty and abuse and try to justify inhuman treatment by making arguments for commerce and scientific progress. What animal abuse does reveal is a sad reflection of human nature. In a country which prides itself on its civilized values and fairness there should be no reason or excuse for disregarding the rights of other living beings.
Animals in Research. Retrieved December 20, 2004 from The Human Society of the United States. Web site: http://www.hsus.org/animals_in_research/index.html www.unitedcrueltyofbenetton.com/introduction.aspx"
ANIMAL RIGHTS FAQ FILE.Retrieved December 20, 2004 from Animal Rights Com. Web site: http://www.animal-rights.com/arpage.htm
Columbia University Fined for Cruel Puppy Killings. Retrieved: December 20, 2004 from Columbia University Cruelty. Web Site: http://www.columbiacruelty.com/feat-pupkillings.asp
Francione, G. Animal Rights and the Future. Retrieved December 19, 2004 from Purify Our Mind. Web site: http://www.purifymind.com/AnimalFuture.htm
ASPCA Outraged at Texas Rancher's Plan to Launch Internet Version of Canned Hunt. 2004. Retrieved December 21, 2004 from the ASPCA. Web site: http://www.aspca.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=18143
Live Cat Found In Freezer (2004) Retrieved December 20, 2004 from Animals Concerns Community. Web site: http://www.animalconcerns.org/external.html?www=http%3A//www.newsnet5.com/news/4015630/detail.html&itemid=200412220049160.0776072
United Cruelty of Benetton) Retrieved: December 21, 2004. Web site: http://www.unitedcrueltyofbenetton.com/index.ASPX (Williams, Joy, 1997) Retrieved December 19, 2004 from Animal Liberation Front. Web site: http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Philosophy/Morality/harpers.html