Most people go out of their way to make sure that animals are kept safe and secure. But there are some not so glaring instances in which you can be accidentally supporting animal abuse. Knowing these facts can help you to make decisions that support animals instead of inadvertently hurting them. Here are 4 ways you might be accidentally supporting animal abuse.
Attending the Circus
In recent years, the appeal of the circus has dwindled as more and more people become less enthralled by the spectacle of the performing animals and more concerned for their welfare. Many circuses were found to be inadequately caring for the animals and engaging in training tactics that were criminal. In fact, every major circus in the U.S. has been cited for violating minimum animal care standards.
Riding an Elephant
While riding an elephant may seem like the perfect way to get close to these beautiful animals. Many elephants in captivity are taken from their mother soon after birth, and are denied food and water until they perform correctly, as well as physically and socially restrained. So, while riding an elephant may seem like the perfect memory-making experience, it can actually be contributing to the financial backing of their mistreatment.
Swimming with Dolphins
Dolphins are often thought of the most playful creatures in the sea. Just seeing one would give many people cause for joy and to swim with one may create the memory of a lifetime. But the way in which dolphins are obtained and used for human enjoyment can be brutal. Most are caught in the wild and separated from the family and social systems. Those that are caught and determined not physically appealing enough are killed. What’s more, once they are in captivity their enclosures are often too small and they lack social interaction with other dolphins, which often leads to captive dolphins dying far younger than their peers living in the wild.
Buying Animals from Pet Stores
Accidental animal abuse doesn’t just pertain to animals typically kept in the wild. It can also involve the ones closest to home. Chain pet stores like Petsmart and Petco in the US often get the animals that they sell from mass breeders (ie: puppy mills). These breeders have only one goal: make as much money as possible while spending as little as possible. They don’t care about the welfare of the animals in their care — they only want money. Whether it’s fish, hamsters, birds, lizards, puppies, or kittens, buying or even “rescuing” an animal from a pet store like this only supports their habit of buying from abusive breeding operations.
Not all pet stores are evil, though. While buying directly from a reputable breeder (or better yet, adopting!) is the best way to make sure you’re supporting a business that actually cares for their animals, there are many small, locally-owned pet stores that do not support mass breeding or puppy mills. Often these stores will openly advertise their ethical practices and will have healthy, thriving animals in their care.
Caring about animals is not enough to keep them safe. We must make conscious decisions to prevent them from accidentally being harmed, whether in our home or in the care of someone else. Being conscious of even the most subtle ways animals can be abused can help you to make sure that no one is financially profiting from animal mistreatment.