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Jennifer Ames

Mr. Newman
English: Rhetoric 101
19 November 2014

Animal Cruelty
The topic of animal cruelty has recently been brought up to the publics attention. There
seemed to be an uproar of angry people from a video uploaded online of a man violently kicking a stray
cat. People are taking a strong stance against animal cruelty. In all 50 states, animal cruelty can be
charged as a felony. Since the acts of cruelty are getting worse, stricter penalties are being imposed. The
main argument being made regarding this issue is what factors should lead to stronger prosecution of
animal abusers and how extensive should animals legal rights be? Although some may believe that
animals have rights equal to humans and they should be treated fairly, I believe the focus shouldnt be
on the rights of the animals, but rather focus on the responsibility humans have as an animal owner.

Being an owner of my two dogs, the issue of animal cruelty is a problem that really hits home,
because I know the feeling of love and responsibility that comes with owning an animal. Diving into this
topic, the argument being made from the video of a man kicking a stray cat seems to show the passion
people have toward animals rights. People are focusing on the rights animal should have, and David
Grimm, the author of Citizen Canine would agree with those people. Grimm insists that our pets have
evolved from legally worthless beings into the most protected animals in the country. In his argument,
he states more than 90 percent of families believe their pet is more like a family member than an
animal. What Grimm is trying to explain with the statistic is that more and more people are accepting

animals into their lives. Family pets are protected more than any other creature in the country. In
another response to the argument, Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State
University, made a statement that, maybe he does not understand that animals feel pain and fear.
Many people assume that animal cruelty is taken lightly, when in reality there are many rules and
regulations to protect animals.

Although David Grimm and Temple Grandin bring up good points to support their arguments, they miss
the concept of who should be liable for animals rights. Richard L. Cupp doesnt say so directly, but we
can assumes that animals dont have a say in where they live or who their owners may be. Instead of
people worrying about animals being treated fairly, they should put more energy into teaching people,
who are supposedly responsible for an animal, how to take on the responsibility of properly caring for
the animal. Richard L. Cupp, a professor of law at Pepperdine University School of Law takes on this
issue through this stance. He states, Vigorous prosecution of animal cruelty is appropriate, but not
based on animal rights. Rather than focusing on rights for cats and dogs, we should focus on human
moral responsibility. Cupp is not arguing that animal cruelty should be taken lightly, because he still
believes that abusers should be prosecuted undoubtedly, but he thinks of it more as the focus needs to
be on human behavior and morality. He is essentially not going completely against Grimms argument,
but also demonstrates that, arguing that animals should be considered legal persons because
nonhuman corporations are legal persons does not work. In a separate article on this issue, Frankie
Trull is going down a separate path but both authors agree that animals should not be seen as legal
citizens. Trull states in her article that...some animal rights groups are calling for fundamental changes
to the legal status of animals, including giving them standing in court, a prospect that could have severe
consequences for science and medicine. Basically, what Cupp and Trull are trying to say is that just
because people who are not considered to be a part of society are still considered to be a legal person

doesnt mean that animals should be considered the same way, and that by doing so it could have more
of an effect to our science and research than people may realize.

Ive always believed that animals need to be treated with love and kindness. Being a loving owner of two
dogs, my love for animals is countless along with many other animal owners. Being able to relate to this
topic makes it easier to take a stance on the topic. Although both David Grimm and Temple Grandin,
and Richard Cupp and Frankie Trull bring up valid points in their arguments I tend to agree more on
what Cupp and Trull have to say. Their point of focusing on animal rights wont get us very far in wanting
to help the problem of animal cruelty, and changing the legal status of animals wont help much with
animal cruelty. Im not saying animals should have no rights, but thats not what Cupp or Trull are trying
to say either. We should be dwelling on the fact that human beings should be held accountable for their
actions. Which this is for the most part true, so what that means is animal cruelty is brought back to the
person. Adding more animal rights or making them legal citizens, I dont see how is going to fix the issue.
Just because they have more rights doesnt mean that people are going to respect them, and giving
them too many rights, like changing the legal status, can result in further problems. Spending more time
on teaching people how to offer care for their animal is more important. Before purchasing an animal,
people should be required to go through extensive training. We, as pet owners, take on a great
responsibility the day we sign up and say that we are willing to take care of that animal. Although not
figuratively, animals can be compared to babies due to the fact that they require much attention, and
fully depend on you to provide their food, shelter, and many other accommodations. Seeing it as
nothing less than taking care of a human being you should offer the same love and care.

Given these points, David Grimm and Richard Cupp took on two different sides to the same argument.
They both brought up to my attention key points, and looking at both of their ideas I am able to take bits

and pieces away from each one. Animal Cruelty is cruel and needs to come to an end. Animals dont
deserve to be treat poorly. Although some may believe that animals have rights as well as human and
should be treated fairly, I believe that the focus shouldnt be on the rights of the animals rather than
focusing on the responsibility of the humans that they partake in by owning animals.

Works Cited

Cupp, Richard. Animal Cruelty Laws Dont Depend on Animal Rights. New York Times:
Room for Debate. New York Times Company, 2 October 2014. Web. 18 November 2014.

Grandin, Temple. Sadistic Cruelty to Animals Should Be Punished. New York Times: Room for
Debate. New York Times Company, 1 October 2014. Web. 18 November 2014.

Grimm, David. Animals Legal Rights Come From an Evolving Relationship With Our Pets.
New York Times: Room for Debate. New York Times Company, 1 October 2014. Web. 18
November 2014.

Trull, Frankie. Dont Let Animal Rights Restrict Biomedical Research. New York Times:
Room for Debate. New York Times Company, 2 October 2014. Web. 18 November 2014.