Animal Cruelty Beyond Comprehension

By: Justin P. Goodrich, LL.M

I’m a cat guy.  There… I said it. Her name is Schatzi and she’s the little love of my life.  Yes, I realize by putting that in print I’m bound to get a pretty good ribbing from those who know me, but that’s okay.

My mom bought her for me in the fall of 2008.  I had just ‘parted ways’ with my previous employer – an employment experience that was nothing shy of dreadful, thus causing me to vow to myself that I would never again work for anyone else – and decided I would embarked on establishing my own consulting firm.  As such, my mom decided that if I wasn’t going to go to an office each day that I needed some companionship.  Of course, it only took a matter of seconds for me to fall in love with this little ball of fur who was only a few weeks old at the time, and since then she’s been my faithful sidekick!

What I have really come to appreciate about Schatzi over the years is just how intuitive, loyal and loving she is.  For those who have been reading my columns for a while now, you might remember that in January of 2016 I had a brain tumour removed.  During my recovery, Schatzi was astonishing.  She followed me from room-to-room; kept watch by lying in the doorway of my bedroom during the day to ensure I wasn’t disturbed; and slept on my pillow every night.  What’s remarkable about that is she never used to do those things before I got ill.  Indeed, like most cats, she was always very independent and would only ever ‘hang-out’ if she felt like it.  However, as I was battling this major health crisis she completely changed her behaviour and focused all her energy on me.

Given my experiences with Schatzi, and having been an animal lover my entire life, I have never understood people who have it in them to cause the needless suffering or death of animals.  Indeed, to be very candid, I have always thought that people who cause the needless suffering or death of animals are just horrible human beings.

For The Record…

What prompted this topic was a combination of two key elements.  The first, social media.  The second, the recent developments surrounding the banning of the grizzly bear trophy hunt here in British Columbia.

Speaking first to social media, there is not a day that goes by where I fail to come across some absolutely heartbreaking scenes involving animal cruelty.  Examples include, though by no means are limited to: dog fighting; chicken fighting; clubbing of seals; slaughtering of dolphins and the hunting of whales.  Then, of course, there are the things that are considered ‘cultural’ such as bullfighting or cutting the fins off sharks for soup.  Finally, let’s not forget things like horse racing, horse trotting and dog sledding – all of which result in animals regularly suffering serious injuries, often times resulting in them being euthanized.

Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the well-being of animals.  One of my greatest frustrations are animals that are kept in captivity and/or used for entertainment purposes.  From rodeos and circuses, to wild animals chained-up (and often drugged) so people can have their picture taken with them, to indoor zoos where animals don’t even see the light of day or breathe fresh air, the way we use animals for entertainment purposes really disgusts.  The most recent example that has gone viral on social media is a baby dolphin that died after being washed-up on shore and people preventing it from returning to the ocean so they could have their picture taken with it.  All I could do is ask myself “what the hell is wrong with these people?”.

Turning now to the grizzly bear trophy hunt, I’m just going to cut to the chase and say it – if you’re a trophy hunter of any kind, you are a crappy human being.  To go out and hunt an animal for ‘sport’ is just really pathetic.  The only thing worse – that I can think of – are the psychopaths that torture animals for amusement.

With all of the above in mind, I will close by stating just two things.  First, the banning of the grizzly bear trophy hunt thrills me.  Second, I would call on all our elected officials to drastically expand our laws to further punish all those individuals who engage in the needless suffering and death of animals.  Our laws and associated penalties are far too lean when it comes to some of these atrocious acts, and we must therefore expand our protection of animals and put more of these individuals in jail, and for greater periods of time!

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