April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Animal cruelty is defined as inflicting suffering or harm upon animals for purposes other than self-defense.
A wide range of actions from animal neglect to violence against animals can be considered animal cruelty. Animal rights activists contend that the use of animals for sports or entertainment can also be considered animal cruelty—activities such as horse racing, dog fighting, and circuses cause animals to suffer needlessly in the name of entertainment. Others believe there is nothing wrong with using animals for entertainment purposes, as long as the animals are treated humanely. They contend that the animals are doing what they were born and bred to do.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty towards animals. Founded in 1866 in New York City, the organization’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA works primarily with companion animal issues, such as pet care, equine or horse cruelty issues, and animal cruelty and neglect.
Topical Learning Activity
Students can learn more about the prevention of cruelty to animals by using the pathfinder listed below.
Assign student to write a report of at least 100 words (or a presentation of at least five slides) that cites at least three resources from the Pathfinder. Students should address the following essential questions for critical thinking (you can add or substitute others):
- Why are animals entitled to rights?
- What rights do animals have in the U.S.?
- What are the types of abuses that animals suffer and why?
- What organizations help define and protect animal rights?