COULTER: Adoptions but also abuse: The COVID-19 pandemic is the best and worst of times for animals

Kendra Coulter, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Labour Studies at Brock University, wrote a piece recently published in The Conversation about the state of animal welfare a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.

She writes:

“Flashback one year ago to the early days of COVID-19, when tens of millions of people stared, transfixed, at the salacious Netflix docuseries Tiger King. 

It was ostensibly about the colourful people who work with and display exotic animals. But it was really a dark portrait of human and animal abuse. The man known as Joe Exotic was convicted of 17 federal crimes against animals in the United States. Rarely has the plague of animal cruelty generated so much attention.

As we remained gripped in the pandemic’s claws, we began to pay more attention to the roles of animals in our own lives. Pet adoptions are up. Birding has increased. People struggling with the damaging effects of isolation and physical distancing are finding solace in animal family members. These kinds of animals comfort us. We want to be near them and to see them.

Yet reports of animal abuse have also increased. This may be, in part, because more people are at home and can watch and listen for the overt and subtle signs of animals being harmed nearby. It might be because people are more attuned to animals’ well-being. It’s also possible that there has in fact been an increase in abuse.”

Continue reading the full article here.

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