What is animal abuse?

Animal abuse is when a person abuses or neglects animals. Animal cruelty encompasses a range of behaviors harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing. It includes whipping, hitting, or using violence to the animal. Most cruelty investigated by humane officers is unintentional neglect that can be resolved through education. Intentional cruelty, or abuse, is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, socialization, or veterinary care or maliciously torturing, maiming, mutilating, or killing an animal.

Killing an animal is allowed in the case of self-defense, pest control, food, or protection of the public, but it must be done as humanely as possible. For instance, on a reality show, some folks got in trouble for killing a rat. The authorities weren't really concerned about the fact the rat was killed, since it was later eaten. They took issue with how the rat was killed. The person hacked it to death and essentially tortured it, when a single, quick blow to the neck with a cleaver would have sufficed.

People who abuse animals think that because we are on top of the food chain, we can hurt those below. However, animals do have rights, and you can go to prison for abusing animals.