Why We Must Teach Our Kids To Be Kind to Animals
How kids treat animals is a reflection of how we teach them empathy and compassion.
“Never take out your anger on the innocent” — this is a saying that parents try their best to embed in their kids but struggle when their temper sometimes gets the best of them. Unfortunately, our anger needs somewhere to go. But for those who grew up with parents who were more explosive in temper, they express it through violence. Some get physical, and some engage in animal cruelty. They take it out on the pets who cannot say a word.
Unfortunately, many of these pets do not survive the physical blows and it hurts more when people just carelessly declare them “collateral damage.”
Animal cruelty is punishable by law
In the Philippine constitution, Republic Act 8485, Section 6 states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animal or to subject any dog or horse to dog fights or horse fights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare.”
However, they were very clear on boundaries that are not punishable by this law. Sacrifices, if part of religious practice, and if they are livestock such as pigs, sheep, cows, or the meat we usually eat have a different set of guidelines.
This law has been enforced several times. Cavite reported a man stabbing a dog out of vengeance against a woman. He is currently in jail and fined PHP 120,000.00 for damages.
The most recent case was a security guard that allegedly out of frustration threw a stubborn child’s puppy over the footbridge when they refused to leave the area. By the time it reached the vet, the puppy died and now PAWS (Philippine Animal Welfare Society) and the puppy’s owners are charging the guard. The mall where he worked also dismissed him on those grounds.
Violence to animals is a symptom of something darker
Many psychiatrists and psychologists also declared animal cruelty to be a classic symptom of “Anti-Social Personality Disorder” (Conduct Disorder in kids) — the usual personality of serial killers, murderers, and many other unsavory folk we don’t want our kids to be. While some people are born with this, others become violent because of where they grew up and how their parents raised them: in violence and volatility.
To these people, animal cruelty gives them that rush and adrenaline of power and control. When someone steals their control, those who lose it try to take it back from something else. And it usually escalates. After animal cruelty, kids become adults who always need that rush from violence. They then take it out on people, turning victims out of anyone.
We need to model to our kids how to be kind to animals
Many will argue that people are born good. But being “good” is different from being “kind.” And as parents, we have a responsibility to model that compassion and kindness because it’s not easy to explain something abstract. Some forms of kindness are morally complex but kindness to animals is one that is black-and-white. Besides, for many Filipino parents who are religious, even the Bible and the Quran speak about animals as “proof of God or Allah’s benevolence” and that, we are their caretakers.