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FOUR PAWS offers tips to recognise and help prevent animal cruelty

Brussels, 7 April 2017 – Every day, all across the world, animals are exposed to various kinds of cruelty by humans. There are a number of signs that can indicate that an animal is suffering cruelty, abuse or neglect. April is Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month, reminding us that we should stand up for animals that are abused, tormented or abandoned.


Five Freedoms

All animals under human control should be allowed to live free from hunger or thirst, free from discomfort, free from pain, injury or disease, free to express normal behaviour and free from fear and distress. However, both psychical and psychological signs may indicate that this is not the case. Some signs are very obvious, like open wounds, multiple scars, visibly protruding ribs and pelvic bones. But other less visible symptoms such as anxious or aggressive behaviour, confusion or drowsiness could also suggest that an animal is poorly kept.


Prevention steps

Some simple steps can help to prevent animal cruelty:

  1. Teach children to have respect for animals. Set a good example by being respectful towards animals, and show children how to properly treat animals.
  2. Offer a foster home to ill, injured and mistreated animals that have been rescued from cruelty and neglect. A permanent new home with animal lovers will allow them to recuperate and move on.
  3. Demand stricter laws for the protection of animals. This might be an owner’s qualification, stricter pet protection laws and enforcement or other measures.


Act if you observe animal cruelty!

Try to stop an owner from mistreating an animal if you witness animal cruelty. However, be sensible, as an angry owner may not react well to the interference. If you have good reason to suspect that animal cruelty, abuse or neglect is taking place, you should collect as much information and evidence as possible. Report your observations to the police, animal welfare organisations and other relevant authorities in your country. The sooner your observations are reported, the sooner the animal can be helped and those who torture, abuse and neglect animals will be held accountable for their actions.


Bear in mind that there may be a link between domestic violence and animal mistreatment. Studies show that often animal abusers are or have been the victims of different forms of domestic violence. So, when animal cruelty, abuse or neglect is reported, it might also lead to helping humans who are or have been affected by violence.

© FOUR PAWS | Christopher Koch