Geelong Advertiser; DARRYN LYONS; April 23rd, 2011
THEY give us their unswerving loyalty. They give us their undying love. They give us their complete trust.
For elderly people, or lonely people, or isolated people, they’re important companions.
For disabled people, they can offer mobility, independence. For many they offer a farming livelihood. For some, even the difference between life and death.
Pets. So many of us love our pets. So many of us rely on them. And yet so many people treat pets, all kinds of animals, with a cruelty that borders on unimaginable.
I’m very passionate about animals. I love them, especially darling my golden spaniel Amber and my fantastic macaw, Mr P. All right, Mr P can be a raucous bloody handful some mornings and Amber’s like 100 years old in human years, but I love them both dearly. And I understand how other people love their animals.
But I am absolutely appalled at what some people do to animals. And I just can’t believe the cruelty they inflict on these poor creatures.
But it’s like everything’s just ramped up lately. Everywhere I’m reading about vicious attacks, mindless bloody torture and unbelievable neglect to animals, by humans who should know better, who like to think they’re higher up the chain of evolution but who commit crimes no animal could ever do.
A pig getting chopped to pieces in front of kids at the Geelong saleyards? Kangaroos bashed to death, dogs stabbed multiple times, deplorable puppy farms where starvation, neglect and sheer bloody cruelty is on a scale with the Nazis, horses starved like prisoners of war.
The issue was highlighted recently when a man bought a kitten with a shattered pelvis to a Geelong vet after finding it dumped on the roadside. Two other kittens were dead, apparently run over or beaten.
In six years of battling cruelty against animals, Geelong-based RSPCA inspector Hugh Robinson has witnessed horrific acts of depravity, neglect and exploitation. And reports are rising.
He estimates that since 2005 complaints in southwest Victoria have risen from 600 to 1500 a year. It’s shocking but it’s a trend mimicked statewide and one that sickens me to the core. How can people possibly do this to innocent creatures who rely on them for food, for care and for love?
I’m really disturbed by all these reports. In fact, I get emotional, really upset, that these animals who give you all their loyalty and love can be so mistreated. And think there should be tougher penalties against offenders.
I know we have fines up to $28,000 and sentences of up to to years, but how often are people jailed for cruelty to animals for any significant term? We don’t even do that for humans.
Not that I think jail is really the answer. Locking up people in a cell all day just makes them nuttier. Sure, lock them up at night, we have to sleep, but with the technology we have today we should have them out working on roads or other infrastructure, growing vegies in government gardens or something, paying their way and paying their debt to society. If they try to do a runner you could catch them with GPS in 30 seconds.
It’s got to better than a system that just festers bitterness, where the looney tunes sit around all day planning their next looney crimes for when they get out. I’m not talking anything like chain gangs but make them work, make them pay their debt to the community. It would have to be better if all the tax money going into the prison system actually returned something, wouldn’t it?
What is going on with us and animals? People are really wild about what happens to these poor creatures. No-one’s happy with authorities meant to protect animals, there’s just not enough of them. And in Geelong, we’ve even got protesters going mad at the animal welfare society, which had been trying to get up an animal hospital here.
It’s all going totally loopy. More people are aware of cruelty than ever but they don’t think it’s acceptable or can’t be bothered to report it.
Moreover, people who know of cruelty need to grow a backbone and report abuse. You wouldn’t pull off the arm or leg off a human, or run one over and leave it on the roadside for dead. So why do it to those innocent animals?
We humans have a lot to answer for to our animals – but we’re not even interested. For us, it’s pathetic. For the animals, it’s tragic.