THE ubiquitous Netflix has an interesting movie, entitled Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer. The documentary tells of a man who kills two kittens and posts the video of his killing on YouTube. A group of animal lovers band together to identify the killer, and stop him from doing the same in the future. Long story short, the killer moves from killing cats to killing a university student, dismembering the body and mailing the body parts to various locations.
In Malaysia, we have seen a rise of animal cruelty and slayings in the past few years. The Department of Veterinary Services reported in October 2019 that there was a 30% increase of reported animal cruelty in 2018. I am not too sure why people aren’t concerned about the reported rise of animal cruelty.
I recall reading last year about a stray cat and dog which were best of friends. Sadly, they were both poisoned. There was the case of a female cat grieving for her kittens, which were thrown out from the ninth floor of a building. And of course, there was the infamous dog poisoning case in Rawang.
The first issue is that many people will just roll their eyes and go, “Dan, they’re just animals!” Well, that may be the case. But I believe we are meant to be good stewards of what’s in our care.
I also know some people who will say, “Good, those dogs are a nuisance!” or “Good, those cats were doing their business everywhere!” These are the people I may watch out for. If one doesn’t have compassion for animals or the environment, I wonder how deep one’s compassion or empathy for any other person or thing is.
To be honest, if someone were to say to me, “Dan, they’re just animals,” I wouldn’t be convinced by that argument at all. You might as well say the grass is just green and the sky is just blue. That doesn’t mean we have to destroy the green grass, the blue sky and the animals.
More importantly though, I am concerned that there isn’t more widespread concern about the rise in animal abuse and slayings because there is a consensus that there is a great potential for an animal killer to turn his attention towards humans. For example, in 2002 an Australian study found “Animal abuse was a better predictor of sex assault than previous convictions for murder, arson or firearms offences.”
I know: how can? We are Asians, we aren’t western people with western problems and western lifestyle and values, Asians would never turn their attention from killing animals to humans.
Well, really how Asian are we? I am sitting typing out this column on my Apple mobile phone, wearing clothes that do not look Asian at all on a chair that doesn’t resemble anything Asian, just having eaten an apple pie and having drunk a latte.
How Asian is it to hire nannies for children, dump parents in old folks homes, live away from the family household unwed? We use western technology, live western lifestyles, eat western food, consume western media, embrace western pop culture. Who else in the world doesn’t live like this? And we are plagued with social and health issues that every developed or developing country faces: such as stress, lifestyle diseases and, I am afraid to say, mental issues, including the possibility of animal killers becoming murderers.
Western history is filled with serial killers whose violent tendencies were first directed towards animals. Albert DeSalvo (the “Boston Strangler”) killed 13 women as an adult, but trapped dogs and cats and shot arrows at them through boxes in his youth. The deadly violence that has shattered American schools in recent years has, in most cases, begun with cruelty to animals. High school killers such as Nikolas Cruz and Luke Woodham tortured animals before starting their shooting sprees.
And we are just on the cusp of this. Of course, the West is ahead, but I don’t doubt we are not far behind. My suggestion is we should have far stricter laws and enforcement on animal abuse, and maybe a watchful eye on those who enjoy abusing, torturing and slaying animals.
Daniel is passionate about fitness, yoga and writing. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org