Animal Welfare – Is It Working?

Animal welfare charities are a media goldmine as the recent expos̩ of the Nowzad operation has shown Рmembers of the public love to see pictures of rescued animals with loving owners or carers, and as an animal loving country there is very little in terms of animal cruelty that will not rile us, or leave us disgusted.

This can be seen easily from the acts perpetrated recently where a member of the public captured images of a neighbour beating a dog – within hours of the video being posted online, the person of focus in the video was being hounded by an angry mob that had gathered outside his home, a hate rally formed in mere hours. Acts like these are a pure sign that our country is a fantastic place where animals are thoroughly respected and treated well; any sign that this is not the case and we react with disgust, outrage and the occasional violent outburst. But is this behaviour merely an ironic act that shows how blind we are to the outside world?

Beyond our shores, these acts occur all the time. Every day, animals in third world countries that are used as pack and/working animals are mistreated, kept working in great heat with little to no rest at all. These animals are not seen as equals, merely as tools to be used and replaced as necessary. This mind-set has been born out of necessity, but it is still a harsh and tireless justice that has been dealt to these creatures. Charities exist to help these animals, but they are not able to help everywhere at once.

Even further afield, and in recent years becoming few and far between, are those rarer animals that are slowly being driven to extinction. Whether it is due to overpopulation and a need to expand into their territories, a loss of prey species or merely an inability to live in proximity to humans depends on the different species, but the story is the same. The animals are often the lions, tigers and gorillas that many larger and well known charities focus on, and that receive the most media attention, and therefore the most support. But is any of this help working?

With so many animals to help, with many different methods required, how can animal welfare charities or organisations stand a hope of actually succeeding in the battle to improve the lives of animals around the world?

Our increasing support of these charities can only help. The more we donate, advertise and raise awareness of these charities, the more we can expect to see their influence and ability to help grow. With donations, the money can be spread over greater distances and campaigns when the volume of donations increases and the scale of these charities’ operations can increase incrementally. Over time, by helping these charities in this way they can have a greater and greater effect – but what about everything we have already done?

Whilst it is true that a number of species have still disappeared, such as the last of the Vietnamese Javan rhino, we know that a much larger majority of the world’s animal populations would have disappeared without our help. In terms of those animals back in our own country, the battle continues to stop animal cruelty. More recent news highlighting examples of such actions should hopefully discourage those who see these kinds of actions as correct or examples to follow.