In this CNA article written by Koh Wan Ting, she shares that in recent years, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and other animal welfare groups have witnessed a disturbing rise in cases of animal abuse. From heart-wrenching instances of pets subjected to extreme cruelty to wildlife suffering at the hands of fearful humans, the reasons behind such acts are both varied and complex. In a candid discussion with mental health professionals, animal welfare organizations, and authorities, the motivations behind these acts of cruelty are brought to light. Dr. Rajesh Jacob, a distinguished senior consultant psychiatrist at Promises Healthcare, shares his insights into the possible underlying mental health issues contributing to this disturbing trend.
Understanding the Motivations: Cruelty towards animals can arise from several factors. While some cases involve acts of retaliation or ignorance about proper animal care, more complex psychiatric issues can also drive abusive behavior. Dr. Jacob points out that individuals with conditions like antisocial personality disorder often lack empathy and derive pleasure from seeing others suffer, making them prone to violence, including animal abuse.
The Role of Exposure and Education: The lack of exposure to nature and wildlife can play a significant role in fostering intolerance towards animals perceived as dangerous. As humans become more disconnected from nature and encounter wildlife in unexpected places, fear may lead to harmful actions, as seen in the tragic case of a paradise tree snake killed with boiling water in a preschool. Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) co-CEO, Anbarasi Boopal, emphasizes the need for increased awareness and education to dispel misconceptions and promote coexistence with wildlife.
The Disturbing Trend Among Youth: A concerning trend involves youth and children involved in intentional acts of animal cruelty. Dr. Jacob highlights the novelty element, where children may replicate harmful actions seen on social media for fun or amusement. Moreover, children from dysfunctional families or with conduct disorders may engage in abusive behavior due to a lack of empathy and the normalization of violence. Early intervention through therapy and education is crucial in curbing such tendencies.
Addressing the Problem and Seeking Justice: In investigating animal cruelty cases, authorities like the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) play a vital role. However, lack of evidence, the emotional cremation of abused animals, and the absence of eyewitnesses can hinder the process of seeking justice. Experts and animal welfare organizations call for stricter penalties for animal abusers and measures to prevent them from owning pets in the future.
The growing incidence of animal cruelty calls for a multi-pronged approach, combining mental health intervention, education, and stricter penalties. By fostering empathy and promoting responsible pet ownership from a young age, we can work towards building a more compassionate society where animals are treated with care and respect. Dr. Rajesh Jacob and other experts emphasize the importance of understanding the root causes behind such acts, enabling us to take proactive steps to prevent and address animal cruelty effectively.
To read the full article, follow this link: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/animal-abuse-pets-wildlife-singapore-investigations-cat-dog-snakes-cruel-3467256