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There’s no consensus on the question of what makes us special, or whether we even are. The biggest point of contention is whether our cognitive abilities differ from those of other animals “in kind,” or merely in degree. Are we in a class by ourselves or just the smartest ones in our class?

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Cruelty to animals
Watch this page http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruelty_to_animals

The Second Stage of Cruelty – Coachman Beating a Fallen Horse, from the series The Four Stages of Cruelty by William Hogarth, 1751, depicting the beating and prodding of various domesticated animals
Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the human infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense or survival. More narrowly, it can be the causing of harm or suffering for specific gain, such as killing animals for food or for their fur; opinions differ about the extent of cruelty associated with a given method of slaughter. Cruelty to animals sometimes encompasses inflicting harm or suffering for personal amusement, as in zoosadism. Laws concerning animal cruelty are designed to prevent needless cruelty. Divergent approaches to such laws occur in different jurisdictions throughout the world. For example, some laws govern methods of killing animals for food, clothing, or other products, and other laws concern the keeping of animals for entertainment, education, research, or as pets.

In broad terms, there are three conceptual approaches to the issue of cruelty to animals. The animal welfare position holds that there is nothing inherently wrong with using animals for human purposes, such as food, clothing, entertainment, and research, but that it should be done in a way that minimizes unnecessary pain and suffering, sometimes referred to as “humane” treatment. Utilitarian advocates argue from the position of costs and benefits and vary in their conclusions as to the allowable treatment of animals. Some utilitarians argue for a “weaker” approach which is closer to the animal welfare position, whereas others argue for a position that is similar to animal rights. Animal rights theorists criticize these positions, arguing that the words “unnecessary” and “humane” are subject to widely differing interpretations, and that animals have basic rights. They say that the only way to ensure protection for animals is to end their status as property and to ensure that they are never used as commodities.

Forms of cruelty

Neglect

Starved and bruised horse eating at a veterinary clinic after rescue
There are many reasons why individuals abuse animals. Animal cruelty covers a wide range of actions (or lack of action). Learning about animal abuse has revealed patterns of behavior employed by abusers.[5]

Animal cruelty is often broken down into two main categories: active and passive, also referred to as commission and omission, respectively.

Passive cruelty is typified by cases of neglect, in which the cruelty is a lack of action rather than the action itself. Examples of neglect are starvation, dehydration, parasite infestations, allowing a collar to grow into an animal’s skin, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions, and failure to seek veterinary care when necessary. In many cases of neglect in which an investigator believes that the cruelty occurred out of ignorance, the investigator may attempt to educate the pet owner, then revisit the situation. In more severe cases, exigent circumstances may require that the animal be removed for veterinary care.

Industrial animal farming

Egg laying hens

A chicken production facility
Some farm animals are produced in large, industrial facilities that house thousands of animals at high densities; these are sometimes called factory farms. The industrial nature of these facilties means that many routine procedures or animal husbandry practices impinge on the welfare of the animals and could arguably be considered as “cruelty”. It has been suggested the number of animals hunted, kept as companions, used in laboratories, reared for the fur industry, raced, and used in zoos and circuses, is insignificant compared to farm animals, and therefore the “animal welfare issue” is numerically reducible to the “farm animal welfare issue”.[6] Similarly, it has been suggested by campaign groups that chickens, cows, pigs, and other farm animals are among the most numerous animals subjected to cruelty. For example, because male chickens do not lay eggs, newly hatched males are culled using macerators or grinders.[7][8] The American Veterinary Medical Association accepts maceration subject to certain conditions, but recommends alternative methods of culling as more humane.[9][10] Egg-laying hens are then transferred to “battery cages” where they are kept in high densities. Matheny and Leahy attribute osteoporosis in hens to this caging method.[6]

To reduce aggression in overcrowded conditions, shortly after birth piglets are castrated, their tails are amputated, and their teeth clipped.[2] Calves are sometimes raised in “veal crates”, which are small stalls that basically immobilize calf during their growth, reducing costs and preventing muscle development, making the resulting meat a pale color, preferred by consumers.[6]

Animal cruelty such as soring, which is legally restricted, sometimes occurs on farms and ranches, as does lawful but cruel treatment such as livestock branding. Since Ag-gag laws prohibit video or photographic documentation of farm activities, these practices have been documented by secret photography taken by whistleblowers or undercover operatives from such organizations as Mercy for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States posing as employees. Agricultural organizations such as the American Farm Bureau Federation have successfully advocated for laws that tightly restrict secret photography or concealing information from farm employers.[11]

The following are lists of invasive procedures which cause pain, routinely performed on farm animals, and housing conditions that routinely cause animal welfare concerns. It is arguable whether these practices are cruelty to animals.

Welfare concerns of farm animals
Species Invasive procedures Housing
Cattle
Branding
Dehorning
Ear tagging
Nose ringing
Tongue resection (calves)
High stocking density (feedlots)
Restricted movement (feedlots)
Veal crates
Pigs
Ear docking
Ear tagging
Ear notching
Nose ringing
Tail dock

Contents
Definition and viewpoints
Forms of cruelty
Neglect
Industrial animal farming
Psychological disorders
Cultural rituals
TV and film making
Circuses
Restrictions
Bullfighting
Toro embolado
Crush films
Warfare
No pet policies and abandonment
Laws by country
Africa
Egypt
South Sudan
Americas
Argentina
Canada
Chile
Colombia
Mexico
United States
State welfare laws
Venezuela
Asia
China
Hong Kong
India
Japan
Saudi Arabia
Taiwan
Europe
European Union
France
Germany
Italy
Ireland
Portugal
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
United Kingdom
Oceania
Australia
New Zealand
See also
References
Further reading
External links
Definition and viewpointsEdit

Man beating a chained pitbull terrier with a strap. The strap is visible in the foreground.
Before modern biology revealed similarities between humans and animals, some thinkers considered humans completely distinct from animals. For instance, René Descartes thought that nonhumans are automata, complex machines with no soul, mind, or reason.[1] Close analysis shows that many human features such as language, tool use, and self-consciousness can be found in some animals.[2] Charles Darwin, by presenting the theory of evolution, revolutionized the way that humans viewed their relationship with other species. Darwin believed that not only did human beings have a direct kinship with other animals, but the latter had social, mental and moral lives too. Later, in The Descent of Man (1871), he wrote: “There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties.”[3]

Some thinkers, such as Peter Singer and Tom Regan, have argued that because animals have the ability to feel pain as humans do, their suffering or well-being should be given equal consideration. The idea is not new.

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