Animal Rights – Flannery Fitzgerald

FIRST PLACE, Grades 7-9 Division, 2006
Grade 7, Alice Deal JHS

The big glass doors to the lobby of Friendship Hospital for Animals swung open. in rushed a police officer with a bloody and torn up pit bull in her arms. She ran to the front desk and told the receptionist that the pitbull had been in a fight with another dog — a fight started by their owners. My Mom and I were sitting in the lobby waiting room. I was about seven years old, horrified and confused. This had not just been a random fight between two dogs. People had provoked innocent animals and gotten them hurt just to amuse themselves for a few minutes. They may even have done it for money, getting their friends to place bets, my Mom said.

A routine check-up for my dog, Chipsy, became a lesson on just how cruelly some people treat animals.

I had always loved animals and knew that some people mistreat them, but until that day, I never realized just how inhumane people can be. Now I am aware of the many things we do that are unkind not only to pets, but to lab animals, farm animals and wildlife.

What some people don’t realize is that we share our Earth with these creatures. They provide us with companionship, knowledge, food and the joy of nature. They were on this planet long before humans. In fact, many of us believe we evolved from them. Yet, after all they do for us, we still mistreat them.

Every year thousands of animals are killed because we test our medicines and unnecessary beauty products on them. Millions are killed because people decide they don’t want their pets any more, and animal shelters cannot afford to keep them alive when no one else will take them. A lot of animals die because people with no imaginations cannot find anything better to do than provoke animals and make them fight each other. Still more perish when we ruin their habitat by building houses and roads and polluting the environment. Countless farm animals suffer under stressful, unnatural conditions, because we care more about them producing and making money for us than about their wellbeing.

Back when we did not have many types of materials to make clothes out of, we would kill animals and use their skins to stay warm. Now we have many things to keep us warm and plenty of faux fur, and we are still killing animals so we can look fashionable and cool. We don’t need the ivory and other things poachers take, but they wouldn’t stay in business if people weren’t buying it. We need to spread the word: Wearing fur and ivory is definitely not cool, no matter who you are and how much money you have.

We certainly have plenty to worry about with all the injustices done to our fellow human beings that we see and read about every day. But we must not forget animals. “The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot,” said the 19th century writer Mark Twain. To be truly intelligent and moral, we need to do right by animals.