Justification Of Animal Cruelty In The Name Of Fashion

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Cruelty of animals have always been around and countless of innocent animals gets abused or killed on a daily basis every single day, without fail. It is prevalent around the world with many newspaper articles being released on cases of animal abuse in all sorts, everyday. With that being said, there are still probably thousands of animal cruelty cases that are not or have not been reported. I have chosen this topic because I felt that this issue is not discussed widely and openly around the world. Furthermore, there are many issues behind closed doors that are not revealed to the general public, therefore, it needs more recognition which is why I chose this topic so that I could investigate and research this issue in depth.

Animal cruelty, however, does not only include physical harm but also psychological harm which causes sorrow and perplexity in an animal. Animal cruelty is described generally as any act or omission that causes unnecessary or unreasonable harm to an animal [1]. According to a research done by RSPCA, In its annual prosecutions report, the RSPCA said it had investigated almost 150,000 cases in 2016 [2].

Many factors have contributed to the exploitation of animals. One of the factors include, animals being involved in mass production which is openly known as factory farming whereby animals such as chicken, cows and pigs undergo a process where they would be slaughtered at the lowest cost possible to be sold to humans for consumption. The creation of factory farms, also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), came about in the last century as a way to keep up with the enormous demand for animal products [3]. Being in the farm, animals would often feel exhausted as they would be forced to produce eggs and milk at all times with no rest. While being crowded in there, they would also be stuffed into cages filled with wires along with other torturous devices such as restraint chairs and scissors.

Many animals would not make it alive as many of them would die of diseases and infections due to them not being taken care of. For the animals that have survived, their throats would then be slit while they’re still conscious or they would be thrown into pools of hot boiling water to remove their feathers.

To earn a large sum of money, many of the targeted animals would be injected with antibiotics so that they could grow bulkier. However, some animals would be given an excessive amount of antibiotics and they would at times grow very large that their body are unable to withstand their weight.

Alternatively, the clothing industry has been abusing and killing animals for many years now. Most common choice of clothing pieces includes clothings with fur, more than half the fur in the U.S. comes from China, where millions of dogs and cats are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and often skinned alive for their fur [4]. Each year, more than 4 million animals are hunted, trapped and killed for their fur in the United States alone [5]. Which results in these animals to live with fear, hunger, stress and anxiety everyday. Sometimes some of these animals may be overwhelmed by the amount of stress they are facing, they would begin to cannibalise one another.

They would be trapped using a steel-jaw trap, which causes extreme pain. To prove that this trap is the next level of cruelty, they have been banned in many parts of the US and Europe. The steel-jaw trap would slam their legs down which would often go deep into skins through their bones and cut them.

Aside from the fur industry, the leather industry is one of the most popular industries as leather is a common material used in fashion pieces. Leather, a by-product of Big Agri-Business, which cashes in on cows for dairy products and for their flesh, is created by the toxic tanning of animal rawhide and skin; today most leather is made of cattle skin, but many exceptions exist [6].

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These animals are usually slaughtered in China whereby they go through the same process as mass productions. Their skins would then be exported to other countries, all around the world. Ostrich leather is currently used by many major fashion houses, it has a characteristic “goose bump” look because of the large follicles from which the feathers grew [7]. It would be used to produce handbags and shoes.

Moving on to the food industry, it’s one of the main uses, humans exploit animals for. Humans eat two variations of animal meats which are sea animals and land animals. Most common meat that humans eat is chicken. Chickens are raised for their flesh, called “broilers” by the chicken industry [8]. In the United States, approximately 9 billion chickens are killed for their flesh each year, and 305 million hens are used for their eggs [9]. A few days after a chick is born, they would be crammed up on a ship and would be sold to factory farms.

After their egg production drops, they are then shipped to the slaughterhouse to be turned into scrap or foods for animals like dogs or cats as their flesh is too bruised to be used for anything else. Male chicks of egg-laying breeder hens are unable to lay eggs and are not bred to produce excessive flesh for the meat industry, they are killed [10].Every year, 200 million of these young birds are ground up alive or tossed into bags to suffocate [11]. While at the slaughterhouse, they would be plunged into a pool of hot water to remove their feathers and their throats would be slit while they’re still conscious.

Aside from chickens, humans also eat fish. Anywhere between 37 and 120 billion fishes are killed on commercial farms each year, with another 2.7 trillion caught and killed in the wild [12]. More than half of the fishes are growing and are raised on land or ocean based aqua farms. Nearly 90 percent of the world’s fish raised for their flesh come from the Asia-Pacific region, and China is the world’s largest “fish farmer”[13]. Many of those fishes would endure tons of diseases, infections and injuries which deteriorates their health and some would die before the farmers could package them for food. Meanwhile, as for animals who survived, they would be forced to starve before they are sent to the slaughterhouse so that the farmers could reduce waste contamination of the water while they’re being transported.

Aside from animals being exploited for food, animals are also being used in the entertainment industry so that humans could have their lives filled with thrill and amusement. Most common entertainment place that animals are used at is a circus. Circuses happens all year around despite some weather extremes. Those animals would be confined in hefty trucks for days while in transit without food and water. To force animals to perform, circus trainers abuse them with whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks and other painful tools of the circus trade [14]. In return, these animals have no choice but to cooperate with them in order to avoid being punished. However, some animals would be really fouled up of the punishments and would take any opportunity they get to escape. Sometimes they may escape to the streets and may release their anger out by damaging properties and hurting people on roads.

Lastly, animals these days, are being used for experiments, be it a science experiment or to be tested for cosmetics. These animals would be locked in barren cages in laboratories, feeling lonely, frustrated and confused. While some of these experiments are required by law, most of them aren’t. More than 100 million animals suffer and die in the U.S. every year in cruel chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics tests as well as in medical training exercises and curiosity-driven medical experiments at universities [15]. Some animals would be forced to inhale toxic fumes, fed pesticides or having corrosive chemicals drip in their eyes. Just so that many science students could dissect these animals to study about their organs or to find out if a certain cosmetic is safe for humans to use, which does not accurately testify that it is safe for humans.

Malaysia, the country that I’m living at, according to Veterinary Services Department statistics, the number of cases involving animal abuse increased by 10 per cent from 463 in 2016 to 510 cases last year. About 90 per cent of these cases involved dogs and cats [16]. Recently, many people in malaysia, have been posting on social media of any cases on animal cruelty which have brought the issue to light to many people, therefore, it helped to raise awareness of the issue and helps to find the culprit easily.

Other than that, malaysia has introduced harsher laws towards this issue which have helped to counter this issue. Under Section 428 of the Penal Code, those found guilty of killing or maiming animals face a maximum three years in jail, a fine, or both [17]. However, after researching, i have found that this punishment was not really effective as there are still many cases going on and the number is increasing, moreover, some culprits have been unpunished.

The courses of actions for this issue is that we could all start buying cruelty-free products to stop supporting brands that test their products on animals, push government agencies to stop funding companies who conducts experiments on animals, help students and teachers to stop dissection and to donate money for humane non-animal research. As for the food industry, there is only one way, which is to change our diets. We could all progressively start omitting meats out from our meals such as going vegan. Meanwhile, there are many cruelty-free clothings such as faux furs and leathers. As for entertainment purposes such as circuses, legal demonstrations should be held to raise awareness on what happens to these animals behind-the-scenes and to boycott circuses. Furthermore, campaigns to ban animal acts should also be held so that it raises more attention to this issue in order for it to stop immediately. We live in a world that not only turns a blind eye to animal cruelty but condones it — whether through indifference or legislation [18]. Lastly, using animals in entertainment places such as circuses should be banned. Therefore, people should come together and participate in animal rights organisations, where they launch investigations and report any sort of animal cruelty to authorities. I encourage, more people to become an activist to help the society. Someone who's actively involved in a protest or a political or social cause can be called an activist [19]. Furthermore, implementing and enforcing more strict and stern laws towards protecting the animals would help as the punishments should be severe which causes people to be afraid. Lastly, there should be more awareness being raised in schools as well, such as making it as an co-curriculum activity so that students get to be informed about the hardships animals go through.

In conclusion, animals are needed in the human life cycle for consumption so that they are healthy. However, in contrast to that, they are not needed for fashion purposes in which people take advantage of so that they could look better as that is heartless and ruthless. Through research, i have then discovered the difficulties that many animal faces which many people are not aware of. Other than that, i have learnt to appreciate the lives of animals more as they have gone through a lot to serve us and i do believe that by doing the courses of actions i proposed, it would help this issue to reduce. I would love to do more in depth research on this issue to know better in the near future and to help.

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