Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Animal Cruelty - A speech by Cam Barrett

Today, we proudly share with our Story Book family, Cam's speech. I am sure you will be moved by his words and passion. Cam is 14 and in Grade 8. He lives and goes to school within City of Kawartha Lakes. Has always had a dog and several cats, has loved animals his whole life and hopes to pursue a career in the animal welfare field.

Animal Cruelty
by Cam Barrett

A dog suffocates to death with its mouth taped shut. A cat dies screaming in a microwave oven. A horse collapses as it is being dragged behind a farm wagon, and is savagely beaten with a slab of wood. A kitten is hurtled to the ground and its skull deliberately stepped on and crushed. Animals are suffering and often there is nothing authorities can do about it. These are some very disturbing and upsetting examples of cruelty to animals. These are some of the more extreme examples, and they are hard to believe - but this type of thing does happen as well as other cruelties to animals. Maybe you have even experienced something like this and wished that there was something that you could do about it.

Mr. Piggot and fellow class mates: animal cruelty laws should be stricter! All animals are defenseless to humans. There should be laws against buying exotic animals. There should be a lifetime ban on animal ownership for former animal abusers. The government should help us move towards achieving these goals. I am a firm believer in helping animals because they cannot help themselves. They are completely at our mercy. They need our help.

There should be laws on buying exotic animals. As of today, the jail time is only a maximum of 6 months no matter what offence to an animal. The fine, however, is even less sufficient. It is only a maximum fine of $2,000 and then the accused are let off the hook. We treat animals as if they are nothing like us, but really they are extremely close in our DNA profiles. The chimpanzee is our closest animal relative. We share 98.4% of our DNA according to the Fauna Foundation. How can we not want to help our closest relatives? …and our pets?

A relatively unknown fact is that you can buy exotic pets. Some wild animals are as easy to acquire, and occasionally as inexpensive, as common pets such as a pure bred dog or cat. But even truly exotic animals, including rare species are available. Did you have any idea that a cougar can be purchased for $1,200? These animals are taken from their comfortable habitat to be raised and taught to perform and model. Most of these animals pose an alarming threat to our health when introduced into society. In 1994, a 16 year old boy died from a broken neck caused by one of his uncle’s Siberian tigers living in his back yard. In 1999, a 71 year old women needed 409 stitches to close the gashes on and around her head from her neighbour’s Eurasian lynx. Judging by these astonishing facts and dreadful outcomes of owning exotic pets, wouldn’t you agree that there should be tougher laws against owning exotic animals?

There should be lifetime bans on ownership of an animal if you are convicted of animal abuse. When convicted, the abuser gets a maximum of 6 months in jail and afterwards is able to continue on mistreating animals. Do you think that if a killer had six months without murdering that they would stop afterwards? If an animal abuser abuses once there is no telling that they will stop. When humans get abused they are lucky enough to be able to get a restraining order but for animals they are in it by themselves, they have no voice. Once you have abused an animal, you no longer deserve the right to own another innocent animal.

We as a society should be asking the government to help us, in this crucial time of need. Throughout time there have always been animals in danger and not many welfare organizations receive any public funding. The government should provide more animal shelters and funding, to go towards animal protection. Did you know that animal cruelty laws have not changed since 1982? There are many different forms of animal cruelty -many are over looked by most individuals. Some forms are roadside zoos. These are sometimes visited and viewed as a tourist attraction but really they are like animal penitentiaries - they are taken from the wild to be a source of entertainment. We as a society need to look at these issues and make changes, making animals more of a priority.

Our past and present society seems to think because animals are defense less to us its OK to mistreat animals with little or no consequences. So next time you witness an act of cruelty stop and think… HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT?
...thank you so much Cam for bringing these difficult issues to your class.
...we all thank you for being such a caring, wonderful friend to the monkeys and animals at the sanctuary.


Anonymous said...

The only part I want to address deals with exotic animals. First what do we consider an exotic animal? Because there has to be a baseline. Is it large cats (tigers, lions, etc)? Would it be anything over a certain size and weight? Animals not commonly found in the local pet store?

I'm a believer in personal responsibility, not government regulation. When you say there should be stricter laws about owning exotic animals you are advocating personal responsibility be removed from the equation.

If I am able to keep exotic animals with no incidences why should my right to have them be trampled?

You're probably thinking public safety or something along those lines. Problem with that argument is that there are tons of things, an inordinate amount of things which we accept that are far more dangerous than exotic animals to a much greater number of people. Driving cars for example.

sherri said...

Dear Pet Snakes.
Thank you for looking at our blog and being a part of it. We respect your view in this matter as we do Cams.
As a group we can not promote exotics as pets, big or little.

Animal Lover said...

That is a really moving speech. I was looking for a speech topic and was going to pick animal cruelity. Now that I have read your speech Im not sure I can top it. I hope you got an A+!

The Common Sense Lawyer said...

There are a few facts I would like to correct in your speech. Firstly, there are all sorts of legislation that prevent animal cruelty. Sections 444 to 447 of the Canada Criminal Code detail them, and while I will not detail them here, all the things you mentioned would be illegal.
Secondly, the legislation dates back even earlier-there were minor changes in the 1950s, and the original documents date back to 1892.
Please consider these things if you make another speech like this one.

Tori said...

people are so messed up these days.. it disgusts me. very good speech.